Sunday Afternoon 4/23/2017

It was overcast when we arrived, but still lovely – this is one of the views from our balcony.

Brett and I enjoyed a wonderful, romantic getaway yesterday, at a little hotel right down the hill from our house. The hotel was lovely, dinner was fabulous, and the views were sublime. More details will be coming up later this week!

The view while we had coffee on the balcony this morning

This past week we had to once again deal with someone who knows nothing about adoption and what it means. We submitted the paperwork for YaYu’s China visa earlier in the week – it was easy, but in YaYu’s case, because she was a Chinese citizen until age five she has to put her former Chinese name on the form and submit the Chinese passport she was given for immigration to the U.S. (YaYu immediately became a U.S. citizen when we arrived back on U.S. soil). Again, no problem – we’ve had to do this each time we’ve applied for a Chinese visa for the girls. The Chinese passport clearly states her birth date as does her U.S. passport. Two days after we sent off the application, Brett got a call from the travel agent who is handling the visas: “We need copies of your and your wife’s passports. And a copy of your daughter’s birth certificate. China has a new policy this year.” Um, no they don’t – we have read all the regulations, especially for minors – the birth certificate and parents’ passports are required for children 16 and younger, but YaYu is 17. But, we scanned them and sent them off. Brett said after he hung up that the next thing would be the agent calling and asking for YaYu’s adoption paperwork, and sure enough, a couple of hours later we got another call from the agent telling us that we needed to submit all of YaYu’s adoption paperwork. I took the phone and informed the agent that no, we did NOT have to submit that paperwork, that our three adopted daughters have gone to China on more than five occasions and we have never needed to submit adoption paperwork. “Oh, it’s a new regulation.” No, it’s not – you just don’t get adoption. YaYu got a Chinese visa two years ago – check her passport – and she did not have to submit adoption paperwork. China knows all about adoption. “Oh. I see, she did already get a visa. Sorry.” I wanted to reach through the phone and grab this woman by the throat and tell her that’s what adoption is all about – it’s done. We don’t have to “prove” to anyone anymore that YaYu is our daughter. YaYu has a valid U.S. passport, the same last name as us, etc. – that’s all you need to know. We had to go through something similar back in Portland, when we applied to renew Meiling’s and WenYu’s passports. According to the clerk that handled their applications, their previous U.S. passports were apparently not proof of their citizenship like they are for everyone else; we had to re-submit their certificates of citizenship. If they had been white and adopted (or not), no problem, no questions asked. Asian and adopted? Please prove again that they’re really citizens. Grrrrrr.

On a more upbeat note, my clothes have been feeling much looser lately, so this last week I tried on several pairs of the size small pants that I have been holding on to for the past 3+ years and I got most of them on, more easily than I imagined in some cases. They’re still tight, but the fact that I could pull them up and button them is a BIG deal and I’m more motivated than ever be able to wear them again.

This afternoon I am:

  • Reading: I’m still reading My Year of Meats. Such a good book – I’m glad I decided to reread it. I’ve been reading while I ride my bike every day all this past week – why I didn’t think of this earlier I don’t know.
  • Listening to: The wind was howling this morning down at the beach, the remnant of a big storm that passed over us last night, but there’s only a light breeze up here at our house, and it’s very quiet. There are still baby chicks peeping out in the yard, songbirds are singing, and the washing machine is already going.
  • Watching: Brett and I finished Season 1 of This is Us last week, and are already excited about next season. We’re going to start a three-part documentary on Netflix tonight: Five Came Back, about the movie makers and producers, including John Huston, Frank Capra and William Wilder, who filmed World War II, often at great danger to themselves. Up on deck after that is Escape To the Country, about country homes in England. We’ve heard a lot about it and it sounds like something we’ll enjoy. For our Friday night movie we watched Hidden Figures, which was excellent.
  • Cooking/baking: Brett and I had the complementary continental breakfast at our hotel this morning – I had fruit, and Brett enjoyed yogurt, granola, and a pastry. YaYu won’t get home from Oahu until this evening, but Asian week continues with a late dinner of Chinese scrambled eggs and tomatoes. We bought some beautiful tomatoes at the market this past week, so we’re looking forward to it: Chinese comfort food!
  • Happy I accomplished last week: Brett and I finished up the itinerary for next year’s BIG Mystery Adventure™, and I’ve been working on a basic idea of prices, so we’re starting to get an idea of how much we have to save, which is what we’ll be focusing on for the next several months. I earned the second goal on Swagbucks every day this past week which will add at least an additional 150 bucks to add to my bonus total for the month. The last Japan Giveaway prize was sent off on Friday morning. I did all of my daily bike rides (and increased the tension this past week, so it’s a little harder) except for yesterday evening, but Brett and I took a 30 minute walk on the beach path at dusk yesterday. I drank all of my daily glasses of water and then some, and studied Portuguese every day.
  • Looking forward to next week: It’s not especially exciting, but Brett and I will be doing our big monthly Costco shop on Thursday, and will go to Big Save on Wednesday. We usually do the shop on a Wednesday, but Costco’s sale prices begin on Thursday this month so we swapped the days. I’m going to take another small loaf of the raisin bread we brought home from Japan out of the freezer later today, and will have a toasted slice with a little butter, along with some fruit, tomorrow morning for breakfast. The bread is so good, and it’s my one carb indulgence.
  • Thinking of good things that happened: YaYu is having a great time at her convention, which makes me happy because she worked so hard to get herself there. She had her last track meet last week, and although she didn’t make the finals (they’ll be held this coming Friday) she had a good solid season, and improved from last year. She also did very well at tennis, especially since it was her first time to ever play the game. We put $8.00 into the change/$1 bill jar.
  • Grateful for: A few months ago Brett took over the chore of washing the evening dishes. I have been feeling very thankful lately that he does this now. The job never took me very long, and yet it was the chore that dragged on me the most. I had no idea that such a little change would make such a big difference to me, but sometimes it really is the little things.

    The Helms bakery truck – the big wooden drawers in back were filled with donuts, cookies and fresh-baked breads and rolls. A big glazed or jelly-filled donut was just five cents.
  • Bonus question: What catches your eye at a bakery? It really depends on what time of day I go. I love lemon pie or lemon tarts, so that’s always the first thing I look for if I’m at a bakery in the afternoon. In the morning I prefer something like a scone (cranberry-orange is my favorite) or a fruit-filled danish, or anything not too sweet. One thing I don’t really care for with bakery items is chocolate. Not sure why, because I like chocolate, but it just doesn’t appeal to me as much as something with fruit. I also love a good donut, especially a raspberry jelly-filled one. I’m pretty particular though – I grew up eating the absolute best glazed and jelly-filled donuts ever, from the Helms bakery, whose truck came to our street once a week, and were also parked behind the school one other day. Krispy Kreme doesn’t even come close. Unfortunately, bakeries aren’t really happening for me these days – can’t have the carbs. Sad!

That’s a wrap for this week. How was your week? What did you accomplish, and what are you looking forward to? What good things happened for you?

9 thoughts on “Sunday Afternoon 4/23/2017

  1. It was disheartening to read about your struggles with passports, visas and adoption paperwork. Would definitely not happen to white kids – so unfair.

    For bakery items and desserts, I go for anything but chocolate, so I gravitate toward lemon and caramel things. On the “healthier” side (sometimes) I love muffins, but jelly doughnuts – yep!


    1. It is still very frustrating when we come up against this, but we’ve learned over the years to be polite but assertive, and usually they back down or see that they’re asking for something inappropriate. Once the girls are adults (i.e. over 18) it seems to stop, thank goodness. So many people really do not get adoption, especially transracial adoption, and feel free to question it, or us.

      Lemon anything is a real weakness for me. I have been known in the past to eat a whole box of cookies before I knew what I was doing. So these days I just avoid it, period. I usually stay away from muffins at bakeries because I make pretty good ones myself – I want to eat something I can’t make!


  2. Cranberry orange scones and anything lemon are also my favorites! My mom made the best lemon meringue pie. I’ve never made it, because, well, I will eat the whole thing!


    1. I could eat a whole lemon meringue pie as well. Maybe not in one sitting, but give me a couple of days. But otherwise I really don’t like the very, very sweet stuff in baked goods. No chocolate cake, or gooey bars or brownies, etc. for me.


  3. I would love to adopt someday. Since I’m a single guy who travels for a living- it’s not going to happen anytime soon, however. 🙂


    1. Adoption is a wonderful way to make or add to your family. But yes, you need to be around and grounded, at least at the beginning. But, kids make terrific travel partners. I have always enjoyed learning how my children see things, or what they’re picking up. Since children and your career don’t mesh, maybe though you could sponsor a child?

      On the flip side, I would love to travel for a living! But I’ve also enjoyed every moment of parenthood, and wouldn’t change a thing.

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  4. That raisin bread would be my carb indulgence, too! I love anything with raisins. I hadn’t known of Japanese Raisinwich cookies until I read about them in your blog. A couple of weeks ago here in L.A. I spotted a Sun Muscat Raisin cookie which looked similar. I enjoyed it. My Japanese isn’t very good, but I think that the wrapper listed rum as one of the ingredients. Guess I should have guessed that your favorite Kit Kay flavor would be rum raisin…


    1. I don’t know what it is about the raisin bread from the bakery across the street from our son’s condo, but it is the best I’ve ever had. Plus the loaves are smaller than what we find here in the U.S., so I’m not overdoing it with a slice once a week. I wish we could have come home more.

      You’re right that there is rum in the Japanese raisin cookie. Rum-raisin has been a favorite flavor for as long as I can remember, so I guess that’s why I liked those cookies and the KitKat flavor so much – the KitKat gets it just right.

      Liked by 1 person

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