We checked out of our hotel yesterday at noon and went to the train station. We met our guide, Cindy, at the train station. It's nice to have a guide now! Especially at the train station, since we wouldn't have known where to go to pick up our tickets or anything like that. Cindy was actually our guide in Beijing when we were here three years ago - she was our guide when we toured the Great Wall and some other sightseeing in Beijing. After Jeff told her that we remembered her from then, she thought about it for awhile and then said, "Oh yes! I remember your wife!" (I guess I must be pretty memorable, ha ha!) She thought it was really neat that we brought TongJie, and she kept saying what a good boy he is. We'll see what she thinks after a few more days with us . . . he really is doing great right now, but we don't know what to expect after we get Ezekiel. The train station was really crowded and hot, and we had to wait for almost 2 hours for our train. The Chinese Dragon Boat Festival was just ending, so Cindy said there were more travelers than usual in Beijing because of that. There was no place to sit down, so we put all of our luggage down and sat on the floor where some other people were sitting on the floor. We sat there for about 30 minutes until an official from the station came and told everybody they had to stand up. So we had to stand for the rest of the time. Poor TongJie was so tired and hot - it was the middle of the night in the US and our bodies still aren't quite adjusted to the time. He had been looking forward to riding the train for so long, and he just wanted to get on the train - he did a pretty good job of waiting though. The train ride itself was neat. The train went almost 300 km/hour (around 180 mph), so it was fun to see everything going by really fast! Cindy came on the train with us because she is going to be our guide here in Jinan. She helped us get checked in to our hotel and then we were on our own for the rest of the evening. Our hotel is really fancy! We walked to KFC for dinner because it was close by and we could figure out how to order stuff without needing a guide. Then we came back to our hotel room and it was only 6:00 or so, so we didn't want to go to bed yet (even though we were all exhausted!) so Jeff took TongJie to check out the swimming pool and I stayed in the room. Jeff said the swimming pool isn't really meant for kids and there was a whole list of things that are prohibited (splashing, jumping, yelling, etc), but TongJie still did a really good job remembering to be quiet even though he was so excited. You have to wear swimming caps at the pool, which we had known about so we brought some from home. Jeff said there were also some older ladies there at the pool swimming laps. Not sure what they thought about a big white guy and a really excited Chinese kid wearing a life jacket, ha ha! We were all in bed and asleep before 8:00 and we all slept pretty well, so hopefully we're getting adjusted to the time difference by now.
We're supposed to get Ezekiel ZeYou here in our hotel at 2:00 this afternoon. So, this morning we got up and got ready for the day and then had breakfast at 7:00. The breakfast buffet is so fancy! I took a picture of TongJie's breakfast this morning. Right now, TongJie is watching Chinese cartoons on TV and Jeff is working out in the fitness room. When Jeff gets back, we're going to walk around and go to a store to get a jug of water. I've been boiling water in our room and then waiting for it to cool and refilling our water bottles. We're so excited to get Ezekiel, and also nervous. We're really wondering how TongJie will do over the next few days and weeks with becoming a big brother. We appreciate all the thoughts and prayers, especially for TongJie's little heart right now, and for Ezekiel too, of course! We'll post pictures when we can of us getting Ezekiel. The pictures right now are of TongJie's breakfast, my dinner last night at KFC, and a couple from the train.