One year ago today... We had possibly the latest wake-up call of the entire trip: 7:30am. Once the Pipsqueak got through her sleep inertia period, she was happy and giggly and squirmy and just a lot of fun to play with. (Maybe she was making up for being such a clingy fussbudget the previous day?) We had a truly leisurely breakfast, during which she learned to play "peekaboo" from under a napkin and had us both kvelling over how quickly she learned the game. We spent the morning wandering through the White Swan's high-end shops, then waiting in our room to hear if all went well with the paperwork. Shortly before lunch, the call came through: all the paperwork was completed, all the official signatures were in place, and -- barring any truly unusual events -- the Pipsqueak was now officially considered AJ's daughter by both the Chinese and U.S. governments; for the rest o the trip, we'd be coasting downhill. Everyone celebrated with a big lunch and then a long (hot, muggy, hot, sweaty, and hot) walk through Guangzhou's open-air pet market & medicine market. All the overheated kittens crammed into cages and lizards on a stick inspired us to again visit the pool -- where for the first time we all felt seriously negative vibes from someone watching us, ironically a Western tourist. All three families then continued the attempt to eat our way through the entire Western section of Lucy's menu after doing some serious shopping in the stores on Shamian Island (the "adoption ecosystem," I called it), closing out the day with some more shopping. At our last stop, the Pipsqueak charmed one of the shopkeepers but after a few minutes in her arms showed she wanted to get back into AJ's arms, our first indication she really was bonding specifically with her new mommy and not just any friendly adult. She showed it again as we began preparing for the night, wailing loudly and non-stop for her uncle while AJ showered as quickly as she could (the Pipsqueak was loud enough to be heard in the shower, with the water running, behind a heavy closed door; I wasn't sure she couldn't be heard 25 stories down in the lobby!) We began our pre-packing for the return home and fell asleep with the feeling that It Was All Good but that our batteries were beginning to run down & it would soon be time to return home.
Meanwhile, back in the current day (2011)... it's nearly as hot here now as in China a year ago, with the daytime heat index never seeming to drop below 95 and often getting well above 100 degrees; when I mention this was "China weather" to people at work, they just stare at me goggle-eyed and ask how we managed to deal with it. I answer truthfully: we did because we knew we were seeing & doing things that were truly once-in-a-lifetime, and because we had waited so long to meet the Pipsqueak that it would've taken a lot more than tropical heat & monsoons to keep us away.
And the Pipsqueak? She still likes to play "peekaboo" with us. :-)