07 March 2008
christiana & me
I had the most fun with Christiana today.
When I picked her up, she was so excited. John said he could barely keep her still all morning. Everywhere we went, she couldn't walk without skipping or hopping. We went to the Aquarium and saw some beautiful and fascinating things. We agreed that our favorite things were the sea otters and getting to touch the sea anemones and sea urchins. Watching the octopus be fed his lunch was pretty cool, too. I put up pictures on my flickr.
In the car on our way down town, she explained to me that her eyes always change colors. She said they are green when she's sleepy, red when she's mad (yikes), and hazel when she's really happy. I asked her what color she thought they were then, and she replied, "Oh, hazel! I think they just have to be hazel." So cute.
She told me all about Jakarta, her family (or what is left of it...) and about her friends and bits and pieces about her life. That little girl has been to more places in her short life than anybody I know. Tokyo, Hong Kong, Hawaii, numerous other places in the States, Jakarta (obviously) and she mentioned a couple of European countries, too, that she had a hard time pronouncing. She has had so many adventures - ones that most would probably assume were made up, but just knowing what kind of life she's had so far, I completely believe all of it. She has been swimming with dolphins and had a giraffe eat right out of the palm of her hand. She rides ponies as transportation at home and met an Orangutan one day with her dad on their way to a friend's house. She told me a lot about herself and what she likes to do. She told me about her grandma's puppies and how they're very competitive for her attention. She told me about her school and all of the field trips she got to go on while living here over the past 6 months (the theater, the ballet). Talking about school seemed to spark a sudden fascination with school buses because we kept count of how many we saw (23) all day.
After the aquarium we wandered around the piers for a while. We went into the arcade (so toursity) and played a few carnival type games, had our fortunes told by a fake woman in a box, had our pictures taken, and rode on the carousel. Then I told her to pick what we should get for lunch. She chose fish n' chips. Personally, after spending almost two hours in the aquarium, I thought that was an odd choice. I pointed that out to her, and she said, "I guess I'm just in a fishy mood!" We went to Ivar's and waited in line for way too long. She couldn't stand still and was jumping and dancing all around. One of the Ivar's employees, who, I swear to God was Larry David's twin (both in looks and personality) joined her in this dancing/hopping thing she was doing. It was so funny. Everybody was staring at them and I just couldn't stop laughing.
Our day ended way too quickly. We ran out of time and didn't get to do everything I had planned for her, which was a huge bummer. She and I tried to convince John to let us hang out again tomorrow, but we failed. He said she has too much packing to do. I made prints of a bunch of pictures that we took today and left them at our friend's bakery for John to pick up for Christiana tomorrow. I wrote her a letter and wrote little notes and memories on the backs of the photos. She said so many witty and cute things that I know she'll love to know about when she's older. I wish I'd had enough time to put them into a picture book for her.
She and I promised to be pen pals, which I am really excited about. She seemed a little worried though, because she said the mail man in Jakarta doesn't do a very good job. I told her I would still try and that I have her dad's email address so if the letters didn't get to her, then I could email her instead. I really hope the letters do make it there, though. I plan on sending her all sorts of fun things. John said they will probably try to visit once a year. I will so look forward to seeing them again.
Christiana is such a smart, funny and sweet girl. Her life has obviously been rich in experiences and culture, but it's so apparent that she's lacking love and family. She didn't mention her mother once. When John says her mom isn't in the picture - I don't know if that means she has had absolutely no contact with Christiana from the very beginning so that she doesn't even know she exists. Or, if their interaction is very sparse and therefore a sensitive subject. I know that John does the best he can... But it's got to be so hard. I mean, he's 62 and in terrible health. Their whole situation worries me.
I really wish I could've spent more time with her. It makes me so sad that they're leaving on Monday. She told me she doesn't really like Jakarta and that she would rather stay here, in Seattle - but then she said she knows her dad will be happier there. "He doesn't seem to like his family anymore, " she said. I wish I could keep her here with me. I mean, if I were ready to be a mother... I totally would. It was hard to say goodbye. I gave her a big hug. Part of me feels a little bit empty knowing she'll be gone so soon. That little girl really captured my heart...
Looonnng entry. I've been up since 4AM and have probably only slept about 6 hours over the past two days. I'm exhausted and I have to get up at 5AM tomorrow. It's time for me to go to bed!