So, we had our pre-travel meeting at the agency last night, and FINALLY got to meet our group. It still baffles me how we all waited for almost 2 years, didn't know one another and couldn't find out who we all were because the agency kept it confidential... Some couple had already met, but apart from a few blogging encounters and a quick "hi" to some when we went to get the pictures, we had not really spoken with anyone before last night.
There are 13 couples in our group, and for all but one family, this is their first adoption. As far as I know, everybody is francophone or speaks French fluently. Everybody is travelling in couples, and one family is getting a boy. All the babies are born between October and December 2006, so it would be hard to find a more homogenous group!
I'm not a "group" person to begin with (even though our "honeymoon" was on a ski trip to Switzerland with 40 other people, but that's another story...;o), and I must say, I was pretty curious to find out who we would be travelling with. Well, I couldn't have hoped for more: the energy was very good, lots of smiles, everyone seemed pretty prepared, the questions were all good, and the people we got to talk to were absolutely lovely. We might be homogenous, but we're not boring: we already have someone in charge of getting the beer! :o)
Funny comment of the night: someone asked if they had a "Canadiantown" in Beijing, the same way we have a Chinatown in Montreal...
There is some bad and some good about travelling with a big group. The bad is pretty obvious, but I think the good outweights it: huge support system, the "blending in" of different characters, less pressure in doing everything together because if a few couples are missing for a meal, who's going to notice?... A smaller group might be expected to do everything together, so just knowing that we'll have a bit more freedom feels great. And everyone is bound to find friends!
We got our itinerary:
Oct. 5th: Fly Mtl-Toronto-Beijing, then spend over 5 hours at the Beijing airport before flying to Nanchang. Crash into bed on Oct. 6th at around midnight...
Oct. 7th: "Rest day" (ha ha ha!)
Oct. 8th: THE BABIES!!! Right on Canadian Thanksgiving! :o) (Unless we get them on the 7th, which is still a possibility...)
Oct. 9th-10th-11th: nothing planned yet, hubby's birthday on the 11th!
Oct. 12th: get the babies' chinese passports.
Oct. 13th: fly back to Beijing.
Oct. 14th: visit to The Great Wall.
Oct. 15th: request visas from embassy and doctor's visit.
Oct. 16th: visit of Tian'An Men Square and Forbidden City.
Oct. 17th: visit of Summer Palace.
Oct. 18th: get the visas and spend our last yuans...
Oct. 19th: fly back home, arrival at around 9h15 at night!
I guess all there is left to do now is to learn Mandarin! :o)))