Yes, you heard it right. I'm learning to love my time here. Maybe not as much as I loved being home with my family every day, but I'm loving it in a very different way. I hope you understand what I mean when I say this, but I very much feel like I have a purpose here.
7:00 am : This is actually the latest I have gotten out of bed in the days that I have been here. Its been more like 6 every morning, but I guess this must mean I am finally settling into the time difference. While it hasn't been a huge adjustment in terms of jet lag and all that, I have been a little more tired than I usually would be at home. I dressed and then came downstairs and headed to the front room where I have stowed my computer. Its out of the way of the normal commotion and its good for a little privacy during the days. Abby and Beth are on early morning shifts, which means I technically don't have to be around to help with babies until about 8, but if too many of them start waking up, I will go to the kitchen and start helping. Right now there are only 3 babies awake. We have 14 here right now. They seem to do really well with keeping relatively quiet until 8:30 or so when we will feed them their first bottle. The home's smallest baby is on the couch beside me sleeping, he is less than 2 weeks old and certainly sleeps a lot! I can hear a baby fussing in the babies room, but he's not to loud, so we'll leave him for a bit.
There are 3 adoptive couples here right now, plus one set of grandparents. Its pretty rare that we have more than one at a time, and even to have one only happens every few weeks. Its pretty busy here right now, but on the one hand its kindof nice because all these people make feeding time a lot easier. There is an adult for every baby that needs to be fed, which means we have a lot less screaming babies.
8:30 Babies are all up and for the most part they were reasonably well-behaved before feeding time. There is always one or two that don't do as well as the others. Cade and Lillian tend to cry 30 minutes before breakfast, but usually the others are relatively good. We had a lot of hands to feed this morning. Something I need to make sure I don't get to used to, once all these families are gone home (Beth is also leaving on Wed.), there will only be three of us volunteers for the 10 remaining babies, which isn't bad. A few weeks ago they had 28 babies, I couldn't imagine that!
The smallest baby at the home, about 2 weeks old.
We feed babies, change diapers, and then play with them on the floor, in the walker . . . Because they were so many people to feed babies, feeding time went by really quickly. It a blessing and a curse having this many people in the house. There isn't much room (the home is tiny) and with all the babies fed so quickly, the day tends to drag. But . . . because there were so many people, Abby came up with the brilliant idea to take a walk! Yeah! It was the first time I had been out of the house since I got here, so I jumped at the chance. We took three babies and it was quite the experience. It started pouring on us while we were half-way to the town (5 minutes away). The locals had quite a laugh at us as we came charging down the road seeking shelter. The stand we stopped at was really nice and the owners were quite helpful. They didn't understand english, but they liked to try and laugh with us.
The street about 2 minutes from the home. At the end there is a small lake, and along the left there are all sorts of small food vendors and bicycle rental shops.
This is the road that the Home is one, about 50 ft up. We had just turned off the road that had all the shops here, you should be able to get an idea of how close everything is!
Here Abby is ordering some crape/icecream thingy for us. She can speak a little Mandarin so she's rather useful to have along for something like this. Plus, she has been in the country long enough to get an idea of what food is good, and what really isn't!
Kristie is volunteering at the home for 2 weeks. Here she is with Lillian enjoying the thingy that Abby ordered for us!
And here is the thingy. Its wrapped in a crape, and then filled with something akin to shaved peanut brittle with three scoops of weird icecream It was good, but very different. It cost 30NT, or less than a dollar. We had the option of putting coriander on it as well, but wisely passed on that addition.
Abby and Naomi.
Coming back from the walk. This view of the home is about 25 feet off the road.
11:00 We came back (rather woefully) for lunch-time with the babies. Again, feeding time was pretty quick. But for some reason the babies were really quite noisy. Some days they settle down for a nap really quickly, but I think that having all these people in the house might be throwing their schedules off somewhat. For lunch Ted is bringing back McDonalds for the the 'foreigners' but I am going to resist. As much as I really, really want to go get a hamburger I know that if I don't choose to eat the Chinese food at this point of the 3 months, its not going to get any easier. That, and I really do want to try to conserve my money :-)
I'm really not sure what was on the lunch menu for the chinese half of the orphanage, but I accidentally skipped lunch, so I finished off my meager to begin with stash of granola bars and headed upstairs to skype home while the babies napped. Its a really strange feeling knowing that I'm half-way around the world from the people I love the most. But it was so good to talk to Mom and David. I'll let you in on a little secret, I am really, really, really, looking forward to David getting here!
2:00 Babies start to get up! We try not to feed them until 2:30, but again that doesn't always happen. We are dealing with babies here :-) And so begins playtime . . . Bev came down during this playtime and conversation started flowing between her and the couples. She seems to be quite the talker. Bev takes night-shifts so we don't see a lot of her during the day, but do get to spend time chatting with her in the evenings.
Four of the boys during playtime. They love playing on the floor because its cool!
By 5:00 all the babies are very ready to eat, and then straight to bed. Abby and I stayed back while the rest of the group heads to the other side of the orphanage to eat with the older kids. Squid, grass soup, rice, chicken, were all on the menu, but I have to admit I skipped the squid. A few of the babies slept really well during this naptime, others really didn't! I had to hold Kade during this time, he tends to be a fairly fussy baby, but he's from a differant background and I will have to forgive him for it.
After dinner, there is devotions, also with the older kids. The orphanage is divided in two, we usually stay in the one half during the day, but we eat with the older kids. Devotions are really interesting. Sometimes they sings choruses and sometimes hymns. I try to sing along if I know the songs, its an interesting experience singing along with the kids, when its in another language! The older kids hold the babies during this time except the two littlest and also give them their bottles. Its usually around an hour. Its good, and tedious all at the same time. Once they are done, they older kids help us put the babies to bed which can be a little bit hectic! It was pretty good tonight. Its Father Day here in Taiwan so there was a little extra presentation by the smallest of the kids. They sang and gave Ted some pretty cute cards.
Its now 9:00 and all the babies are relatively quiet, I'm enjoying the cool of the evening and getting ready to go to bed. Days are long, and I find that by this time every night, I'm pretty ready for bed! I'll take a cold shower which I have decided is the best part of every day. For those of you who know me well you will know how unlike me this is, I love HOT showers. Here in Taiwan, thats not even an option.
I probably won't update like this again in a while, its a pretty long post! But it was fun, I wanted to let you know what I expect on a daily basis.