My niece joined the family on July 12th, 2010. This special young lady's mother is my younger sister, which in classic Chinese culture makes me her Jiu Jiu (舅舅) -- thus the title of this blog. Here I intend to semi-regularly post reflections, thoughts, stories, and assorted whathaveyous pertaining to our trip to China, adoption in general, and (mostly) watching my niece grow up. Since the web is a very public place, I will attempt to maintain my family's privacy while telling the story... but I invite you to follow the blog and come along for the adventure!

Monday, July 18, 2011

One Year Ago Today (July 18, 2010/2011)

Well, the weekend's over, and it's been Monday all day (if y'know what I mean), but I'm trying to stay on track here so...

One year ago today... We had one of the earliest wake-up calls of the entire trip so we could make our flight to Guangzhou on time. It was fun to watch a single bellhop dealing with three families' assorted luggage (somehow the collection just kept growing!), and we sang songs & had some very interesting talks with our local guide Effie during the ride to the airport. There was a little bit of chaos getting through security and dealing with overweight charges (our longtime guide -- and now practically member of the family -- Lisa was her usual lifesaving self), and the Pipsqueaks' much anticipated/worried about first-ever airplane flight went off without a hitch. Our new local guide Lucy picked us up in a minibus that just barely held all of us and all our stuff (I think the driver violated a few laws of physics while loading everything aboard), and we moved into our quarters at the famous White Swan Hotel on Shamian Island -- ready to begin the last steps in the overall adoption process. After a VERY welcome lunch of American-style pizza, we all did some exploring, then swam in the pool 'til we pruned. For dinner, the whole gang went to the nearby Lucy's Bar & Grill (not the same Lucy who was our guide!) for the first of several American-style dinners to help stave off the growing groundswell of homesickness, then dropped off to badly-needed sleep on what had to be the hardest beds on Earth. It was hot, it was humid, we were all exhausted from the long hours and travel and repeated packing/unpacking, but everyone knew we were about to clear the last few hurdles in years of paperchasing, so spirits were high.

Meanwhile, in the present day (2011), the day started off with a serious contrast to the celebratory weekend; the Pipsqueak went to daycare as usual, but all us grownups attended the funeral of an old neighbor who'd died unexpectedly on Friday. There were a lot of rug rats of varying sizes & ages present, and during the (long) service a number of them became fidgety and/or a little noisy. Some time back I would've silently thought unhappy thoughts to myself about why their parents couldn't quiet them down -- but today I simply accepted the noise & extra unplanned activity (all kept well within acceptable limits by assorted relatives) with a new understanding I'd learned from my niece.

It was only later, as I was driving to work, that I realized how much my views of kids in public have been changed by my experience with Miri. Amazing what we can learn from the littlest ones among us, isn't it..?

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