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Monday, October 12th, 2009

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Ping Ping Evelyn Wright
We made it successfully to China. My first glimpse of my new daughter was at the orphanage. She was sitting in a little room to one side of the main room, leaning to peer around the door and smiling. So far, she has shown none of the anxiety or sorrow one might expect. I suppose having two parents who only speak half a dozen words in common with you is better than having no parents at all.

We spent the next afternoon shopping. Mother and daughter skipped through the shops, hand in hand, while daddy (that's me) trudged after, carrying packages. Daughter bought two huge bags full of candy and soup and goodies for her 19 closest friends at the orphanage.

We met the 'auntie' who has been raising Pingping these last five years, and talked with her through a translator, our guide. She warned us that the girl was bossy and argumentative. The wife and I exchanged a silent glance, and nodded. She'll fit right in our family.

One note of interest to my libertarian friends: when I saw a man on a bicycle park his bike in the middle of the road, heedless of traffic, our guide Simon merely smiled and said, "It's a free country" and he went on to explain that there were no helmet laws here, or mandatory seatbelt laws. On the street where we stood, there was a 7-11, a McDonald's, a Subway and a Starbuck's. So capitalism seems to be alive and well in Red China, at least on that street, and there are fewer regulations about parking and biking than in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

One note of interest to my Catholic friends. I found a church where I could take Mass, and felt a sense of coming home when I stepped in the door and saw sacred images of the Virgin, Christ, and St. Joseph (to whom I have been addressing myself particularly in prayer these days, since he is sort of an adoptive father) -- even on the far side of the world, I was among friends. Of course I understood not a word of the service. Of course I understood it perfectly.

Here in China, or at least in this parish, when we approach to take the host, the elderly people go first: it was a particularly oriental courtesy we in the West could learn.

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