Last night we all spent some time at AJ's house trying to work out the details of the upcoming Naming ceremony for the Pipsqueak. I was experimenting with burning my own CDs for use at the party; when I couldn't hear anything on the boom box (I goofed), we put in one of AJ's Abba albums to make sure the problem wasn't with the player itself. Unfortunately, I'd left the volume at maximum, so when the first chord of "Waterloo" blasted out, it BLASTED out and poor Miri -- always a bit skittish over sudden, loud sounds -- nearly jumped out of her skin. Poor kid was crying in her mommy's arms for several minutes while her feeling-like-dirt uncle tried desperately to calm her down and cheer her up.
Eventually the Pipsqueak's love of music won out, and she & mommy danced together a little bit. The real feel-good moment came a few minutes later, when Miri came over to me, looked up, and said, "Dance?" I asked if she wanted me to dance with her and got a smiley "Yesh!" so I danced with my niece for a couple of songs... even got her to laugh out loud when I dipped her... and all was once again good in the world. :-)
ONE YEAR AGO TODAY...
AJ and I were in Beijing. (Dude, this is BEIJING! THE PRC! THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WORLD!) All three families began to morph into friends while wandering through Tienamen Square, across The World's Most Jam-Packed, Crowded, Overfilled Pedestrian Bridge into & through the utterly amazing Forbidden City. Along the way, once I got over the sheer volume of humanity in front of me I had to rewrite most of what I thought I knew about the PRC and modern Chinese society; I was surprised to find that if I squinted just a little (and ignored the security checkpoints & guards using megaphones to berate people who misbehaved) the crowd looked like a crowd almost anywhere back home.
The scope of the Forbidden City had barely registered when it was back onto the bus for a drive through Beijing and out of town to a jade factory (still wish I'd taken more photos!) for shopping & lunch. Then it was back into the bus and off to the Juyongguan pass to climb the Great Wall. I can't remember ever being so physically exhausted while simultaneously energized; the Great Wall was one of those places you read about, not walk on! And then... you guessed it, back onto the bus again, this time for the drive back into Beijing and a pleasant but vendor-infested walk through the venues of the recent Olympic Games. Then it was back to the hotel to get all our stuff and off to the airport for the trip to Nanning.
We got in & out of the hotel without any major glitches, then had the weirdest airline flight we'd ever had (ever take off holding dinner in your lap?!?), eventually arriving in Nanning in the wee hours of the morning. We'd heard stories of people meeting their kids the moment they set foot in the hotel, or bright & early in the morning, so we were thrilled to hear we'd be meeting the kiddos mid-afternoon and would have a chance to get a little sleep first. (Gotcha Day, Dude -- that's later today, not "someday" any more!) I don't think it really sank in 'til we checked into the hotel and walked into our room... and found a crib in the corner.