Milo woke with some anxiety this morning...checking to make sure everyone was still here before starting to chatter. The translator app has been helpful, but it only works with wifi, leaving us at a loss when we headed to the zoo and aquarium for the afternoon.
We packed snacks and bundled warmly, the sky blue but temperatures below freezing. Surrounded by crowds of thousands we watched pandas munch bamboo, blindly made our way through the completely dark nocturnal animal exhibit, walked on floors that blinked with manta rays overhead, and marveled at tanks of gorgeous rainforest fish interspersed with stalls selling noise-making, light-up toys and treats. Finally we were swept along with the crowds for a water show involving synchronized dolphin tricks, a singing sea lion and performing beluga whales. The experience was beautiful and garish both -- China in a nutshell.
We headed to a recommended restaurant for hot pot for dinner, and the waitress gave Milo the electronic menu. He proceeded to order for us, and since she didn't speak English, and we couldn't read the Mandarin menu, we sat a little stunned as our 9 year old clicked and swiped the evening's dishes. We finally stopped him when he got to the beverages page and was contemplating the whiskey section. Ahem. The meal was delicious, though it stretched me in many ways. It was dear to watch Milo continue to share everything -- offering the last of his juice to gege, giving me a share of his meat, dividing the toothpicks so Alex could have one too.
Back at our hotel, the boys took a dip in the pool, Milo shouting with joy at his bravery in allowing Monte to carry him in the water. He is cozy in pajamas now, a game on the iPod, his successes and losses obvious in squeals and sighs. The resilience in his little spirit amazes me. What we would give to have seen his life before it intersected with ours.
More paperwork tomorrow...and so much more for us to learn about each other.