Friday, June 02, 2006

Our China Experiences (3) - Seven Things We Could Not Have Survived Without

By Lynn Bowers

1. Chinese Lullaby CD

We were told the orphanage children listen to music at bedtime, and this might make our baby more comfortable. It was almost magic, and the music will soothe you as well. We've continued to play it every night since we got home as part of our bedtime routine. Ours is the Beijing Angelic Choir singing traditional Chinese lullabies- under $20 on

2. Drugs

I could barely lift my carry-on. For us? Airborne, cough drops, Sudafed, Advil, Visine, Alka-Seltzer Cold, Zicam, Pepto-Bismol, Benadryl and prescriptions for Cipro, Zithromax, and Xanax. For the baby? Everything that our doctor recommended. We used most of it, and with the exception of the basic pain relievers, never saw any of it in the hotel gift shops. In Changsha, our baby had to go to the Pediatric Hospital for a respiratory infection. Though this was certainly frightening to us, our guide Ashley went with us to interpret and stayed with us until Samantha's fever broke. For the rest of our stay, he was with us, or on the phone making sure everything was fine. This goes way beyond helping us with adoption paperwork, and it would be hard for us to believe we would get this level of care with another agency.

3. Laptop

Our NY doctor, Jane Aronson, was reachable by phone and email 24/7, and she got back to us immediately with instructions on what medications to give our child, and follow up with us to ensure Samantha's return to normal health. Ashley helped us buy (and use) inexpensive phone cards to call home, but it was great to send back up emails to the doctor- within 30 minutes we had a reply. We also lived for our emails- keeping in touch with our family was easier to do in the comfort of our pajamas.

4. Sneakers

Lots of walking- we even lost a few pounds while we were there!

5. Eye Cream

Pollution and lack of sleep- wow, it was amazing how quickly the dark circles came out. I brought Clarins eye cream with me, which is ridiculously expensive, but every day I was able to give myself a little pampering, and it helped ease my mind that I was appearing in public without a stitch of makeup. Who had time for that now!!!

6. Paperback Books

We didn't dare turn on the TV while the baby was sleeping in the room with us, so it was good to have something quiet to do. Journaling is a good idea but we were too tired to write, and internet service was often erratic, so books came in handy.

7. Snacks

We scoffed at the Been There, Done That crowd who said we'd tire of Chinese food. We considered ourselves NY foodies, ate ethnic food all the time and were no strangers to Chinese takeout. However, though most of our meals were quite good, it was great to have some power bars on hand when the local food seemed different than West Side Cottage on 9th Avenue!! (to be continued)

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