We’ve got a VISA

And I’m not talking about her first credit card! We arrived in Hanoi in the late afternoon on Sunday, and our meeting at the US Embassy was at 2:00 p.m. yesterday (Tuesday). At 4:30 our facilitator called us down to the hotel lobby to give us her Vietnamese passport and her VISA to come back to the states. That’s a fast turn-around! The interview at the embassy was much less dramatic than I had thought it would be. I pictured bright spotlights, uncomfortable chairs, difficult questions and lots of sweat. It was none of those things, well except for the sweat. (I know that I must be painting quite a pretty picture of Vietnam for you with all the comments about sweat, but it is true. I am just a cool weather guy.) The interview lasted for all of three minutes, and the most difficult question was about where we went to pick her up. Nothing about referral dates, or anything else.

So technically, we have everything complete that we need to be able to leave the country, but our tickets are for Saturday, and there isn’t really an opportunity to change them since the EVA Airlines offices are closed today and tomorrow for the holidays. That’s okay though, because then we have even more time to shop! Oh lucky me! The only saving grace is that we can’t take any more luggage on the plane.

Today is the anniversary of the day that the North Vietnamese overtook Saigon at the end of the Vietnam war in 1975. It’s called ‘Liberation Day’, or ‘Reunification Day’, or ‘The Fall of Saigon’, depending on your point of view. There are Vietnamese flags everywhere outside, and last night there were street concerts and lots of people singing in the streets. Kind of neat to see.

Well, we’re finally seeing that Piper isn’t necessarily the happy-go-lucky baby that never has any troubles (I know, all of you are saying ‘no duh’). She definitely has some lungs on her, and she will let you know when she doesn’t like something. I thought that she was too young to be testing us on things, but it seems like she will wail for a little bit, stop, check our faces, and continue wailing. Often when she sleeps she will cry out, but never wake up. Nicole says that it is the grieving that she is going through. I wish that I could take it away for her. The truth is though, if you think of all that she has been through in the last ten days, I think that she’s doing pretty darn well. She is a trooper.

The family that we’ve been spending so much time with on this trip (Ernie and Debbie) are a godsend. They have been wonderful to go shopping with and to see all of the sights of the city with. Their two daughters (Mylea and Lola) are so much fun, and they are both adopted from China. Their new daughter (Zoe) is from the same orphanage as Piper and they are very close in age.

It is really funny to watch the facial expressions of the people here when they see Zoe and Piper. Everybody is curious, and it looks like most approve, but maybe some disapprove. Everyone that actually comes up to talk to us is very friendly, asking hold old, and whether they are Vietnamese or not. We often get advice on what to do if they hear a cough, or a sneeze, or even a hiccup. I have no idea what they really think of us.

Hanoi seems to be a little more structured than HCMC. The streets are better planned than in HCMC, the buildings are more organized, and there are even more stoplights (although they are as of much use in Hanoi as they are in HCMC). Having said that, I think that my favorite is still Ho Chi Minh City because of the ‘loose’ nature of the city, but the Old Quarter in Hanoi has a lot of great shopping and food.

No worries, I am definitely not a permanent blog poster. Think of me as a substitute teacher, only I don’t teach anything really worth learning. Nicole will be back soon. I promise.

My favorite pics of the last few days:

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11 Comments on “We’ve got a VISA”

  1. Kendra Says:

    Congratulations on that process being done! I’m sure it was a big weight off of both of your shoulders to have all the steps complete and be completely free to take her home! Enjoy the remaining days of your trip. You all look very happy in the pictures, so thank you for sharing them.

  2. Jocelyn Says:

    good to hear all is going smoothly. i must admit i am enjoying your pictures, but tend to look at any containing piper first, then go back and look at the sights.

    safe travels!

  3. mary kate Says:

    I am so happy you are having a good time and that Piper is such a trooper! And thanks so much for keeping those of us waiting to travel updated and informed! It makes us so excited to get to see our baby soon!

  4. Kelli K Says:

    Congrats on getting the Visa- you will be on your way home before you know it! If Piper loves shopping as much as her mommy appears to, it won’t be long before she is asking for her first Visa credit card!

  5. Nicole Says:

    Congrats! Yay for VISAs! What a cutie pie!!!!!!!! (Insert a million exclamation points here!)

  6. Emma Says:

    I’m with Jocelyn, the first place I look is in posing for the camera. She is a cutie!

  7. Carissa Says:

    She is beautiful! Soon you will be home! Congrats on the VISA!

  8. Traci Says:

    I like the posts about what it is like to be in Vietnam, as we will be traveling soon (within next 3 months). I would like to hear a little more about what places you visited- what you liked & didn’t like. Places to eat, etc…

    Traci (VORF)

  9. Sandra Says:

    Wow I loved the two new sets of photos. What was in the jars at Brothers? It looks like the rain made the Temple of Literature especially beautiful!

  10. Ken and Marlene Says:

    Congrats on the VISA. Looks like you got a much better deal than a “credit card”, although in a few years a credit card will really become useful when Piper learns to shop with Mom and Dad! She sure is a beauty and we can’t wait to see her. Hope your trip home is wonderful! How fortunate we are to be next door neighbors to watch her grow up!

  11. Darcy Says:

    Come home, come home, come home!!!! I can’t wait to see your new family!!!!! love d


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