Most people try for a Tuesday consulate appointment. Tuesday was booked, so ours is Wednesday. Today was a day to kill while we wait. Two highlights...
The first was finding out that Mia had never been swimming before this week! We were telling Jack how clumsy she was in the water. I asked him to ask her if she got to go swimming often. Well, the answer was "never." We couldn't believe it. The first day at the hotel, she jumped in and started floundering around like she was part fish. It was just obvious she had never been taught how to swim. She went under within only a few minutes! The first thing she asked to do when we arrived at the hotel last Friday was swim. We just assumed it was a favorite activity. Funny thing was...she told Jack that she was upset that she couldn't actually swim once she got in the water. He explained that it took some practice and that we would teach her. He told her that it took him about 10 times in the pool to learn. He said, "How many times have you been in the pool?" She said, "Only 4." He said, "Well, see. You have several more chances to learn." She told him she could do much better if she had goggles and a nose plug. He told her "Goggles, yes. Nose plug, no. You should learn how to swim without holding your nose. That's the right way." So, off we went to find goggles at a nearby department store. And we were successful. Happiest girl I've ever seen.
So, she wears her goggles into the hotel and doesn't take them off. We get to the pool, she jumps in, goes under water for a loooonnnngggg time, and comes up smiling. We showed her very specifically how to kick above water and how to butterfly under water. That's all it took. That little determined girl swam back and forth to Gary and me about a million times. I took off to the steam bath for 30 minutes, came back, and she was still going. I really think she's trying to beat Jack's 10 day timeline. Two hours later....still in the pool...:)
2nd highlight...earlier in the day....While most Americans (of ALL ages) are sitting on the couch eating McDonalds and potato chips, the Chinese (of all ages) are exercising every day and eating vegetables, rice, and noodles. Jack took us to an amusement park/garden/park with a walking trail/lake with paddle boats/exercise park. Yes...all of that in one park! It was absolutely beautiful. Most adults and children were at work and school, but there were hundreds of retired people, ages 45 to 145 (ok...maybe not THAT old) gathered in groups...singing, dancing, doing tai chi, and on exercise equipment. There was an area with about 50 exercise machines. Didn't exactly look like Gold's Gym, but the same idea. We saw an elderly man slowly pull his body up over a pull-up bar and flip completely around...about 20 times. Gary tried it. Almost made it around once. I probably could have done it several times, but I couldn't reach the bar. Darn it. :) The man smiled and nodded to Gary as to say, "nice try." Everyone is so friendly. We stayed in this exercise area longer than the amusement park! I was so intrigued by the number of elderly exercising and the things they could do. I even took pictures of them. I couldn't help but think...most Americans are sitting on the couch eating McDonalds and if we HAD exercise equipment in a park, no one would use it! You've seen a few bars and things like obstacle course type equipment at some parks, like Tyson Park. Have you ever seen anyone use it? I haven't!
Mia rode a few rides and we went out on the lake in a small motor boat. Mia drove us. She is a fast learner. We ate at a neat restaurant on the lake, then headed back to the hotel.
Also, not only did we meet a couple from Springdale yesterday, today we met another couple from Siloam Springs. We even knew some of the same people. Crazy.
Day 10 - SUCCESS. And we're getting close to the end!!!! Can't wait to see my OTHER children! Can't wait for them to meet Mia.
Tomorrow - the US Consolate. Finally! (And Jack takes care of the LOADS of paperwork. All we have to remember are our passports. Praise the Lord!)