Two years ago today, AJ and I got up with our wake-up call and realized we were still sore from the bus ride, but actually felt rested -- the Pipsqueak had slept all the way through the night! We had a nice, leisurely breakfast (and AJ began the process of learning how to eat with an active & curious baby on her lap), and then the group spent an enjoyable but incredibly hot morning & midday at Seven Star Park in Guilin. I was impressed; we got to see pandas that were actually outdoors & moving around, and I got to see my dinosaurs! (Long story if you don't know me.) After many, many photos, an incredible volume of sweat, some cooling ice cream treats, and some concern about what the monkeys might do through the open tops of their enclosures, we got back on our mercifully air-conditioned bus for the day's next activity.
We drove to the Guilin Xinfu Silk Products Company factory, and took a tour that started out educational and ended up doing some more damage to AJ's Visa card, but we were glad for the souvenirs. Of course, it was only after taking almost a dozen photos in the showroom that I noticed the "No Photography Please" signs...! Once everything was vacuum-packed and wrapped with plastic strapping conveniently formed into easy-carry handles, it was back on the bus and off to the Tasty Castle restaurant for lunch. During lunch, the Pipsqueak began to come out of her and we got the first real smiles & chuckles we had seen to date (which felt wonderful). Afterwards, we played a live-action game of "Frogger" and walked through the park across the street. We used the city's famous Pagoda of the Sun and Pagoda of the Moon, along with one of its many man-made lakes, as a backdrop for family photos while a slowly-growing crowd of locals looked on.
The rest of the day was spent catching up on all washing, rearranging of luggage, etc. that had snuck up on us while we weren't looking. The Pipsqueak woke from her nap in time for dinner, and really put on a show for everyone -- at one point, she even stood up in her high chair and babbled at us, then sat down laughing! We both fell asleep that night feeling really good about the little one finally getting comfortable enough to really show her true personality.
One year ago today, the Pipsqueak's personality was well-known not only to us but to a fairly large number of cousins, uncles, aunts, friends, and even a few frequently-seen strangers. Everyone was pushing to finish all the last-minute arrangements for Miri's naming ceremony & the big double celebration the next day, and ensured there would be plenty of time to finish things in the morning by going to bed early... except yours truly, who was trying desperately (and ultimately in vain) to make deadline on a big document at work... But I did eventually get home that night.
Today we had a pleasant brunch at a long-time friend's house. It wasn't a formal party, but we were celebrating Dad's birthday (12th), her eldest son's birthday (13th), Mom's birthday (14th), and kinda-sorta the upcoming birthday of her eldest grandson (next week). The only negative was that the Pipsqueak really wasn't feeling well; quiet, clingy, repeatedly falling asleep... and later in the day she upchucked into AJ's lap. I did a quick run to the pharmacy for Children's Tylenol, and Miri's fever quickly broke & she was back to her usual self for a little while before taking yet another uncharacteristic nap in Mommy's lap. We all called it a day at that point & went our separate ways... AJ took the Pipsqueak home (where she's feeling better now) and I did some long-overdue grocery shopping and then some even longer-overdue yard work, but was saved from getting into the really dirty & sweaty part of the job by a series of passing thunderstorms.
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!