We got a little lost in Chenzhou, but luckily a man was willing to hop on our bus and show the driver where our hotel was. We got in, threw our things down as quickly as possible, and got to the orphanage as quickly as possible.
It feels so crazy to be here. Like I'm in a dream. Being in the same hotel is so weird. Like some crazy dejavu.
We walked to the orphanage, and I was still able to tell where to go. Walking these streets is the best. Smelling the smells, hearing the sounds, and just taking it all in is so much fun.
Walking up the hill to the orphanage and seeing it in the distance was the best feeling I've had in a long time. But then, I walked in.
When I got into the orphanage, the tears started coming. I couldn't hold back. I still can't believe that I'm back. It's so unreal. I'm doing such a poor job of describing it.
We met with the director and she talked to us for a little. She said how much she appreciates us coming each year. She recognized some old faces and was so happy to see that some of us had come back. She said that we were the light on the streets. And that we have made such a difference in these kids' lives.
Hearing this meant so much. We actually are making a difference.
Then it was time to head upstairs. By this time, I had sort of stopped crying. I'm pretty sure the director thinks I'm so weirdo. The first sight she had of me was a girl in a mess of tears. Too emotional to describe.
So, we took the elevator up, and then we got to see all the big kids. They came running out of the room, and I wasn't sure if we were allowed to go in or not, but I did anyways. One little boy with down syndrome came up and gave me a huge hug. I hugged him back, and he is such a little lover. I told him in Chinese that he is my friend, and he gave me the biggest smile and another hug.
We walked into the room and there were kids everywhere. Once I sat down because they were all climbing on me, I got attacked. They just want a lap to sit in, and a person to hold them.
I held a baby who was TINY. The nannies said that she was about 1, but this baby had the smallest and tiniest features I have ever seen. She was so fragile.
Then I went to the baby room to get a little break from all the climbing. I got to feed a precious little baby who was timid of me at first, but I guess when I had the food she didn't care who I was.
I went back into the big kid room, and I went to sit with about an 11 year old girl who has very severe CP. She just sits, and it breaks my heart. She responds well to touch, so I touched her hand, and she latched on to me. She just wanted to be with someone. She can't talk, but I did make her laugh. My heart really does break for her.
The nannies were ready for us to leave because we came in a little later than we were supposed to. We headed back to the hotel and then we had some dinner. It was amazing, like always.
When they brought out the steamed bread, all our mouths started to water. It was amazing. Katie Kendall, if you are reading this...I thought of you. They had the sweetened condensed milk and it was oh soo good.
We headed to the market for some snacks and water and of course it was an adventure. I love that place, and now I have some juice and some oreos. I'm good to go.
I'm exhausted and gross and sweaty. Goodnight. And tomorrow we have a full day!
I love this place.