Two years ago today, we got up (notice I don't say "woke up") early enough to have our packed luggage in the hall outside our rooms at 5:00am, and were amazed to see a single bellhop manage to get all of it downstairs & into our bus by himself. On the way to the airport, Effie told us some stories that gave us a very different perspective on how much more privileged our lives were (are) than most of us ever realize(d). [Original post with details here.] We said an emotional goodbye to her at the airport but were heartened by Lisa's decision to accompany us to Guangzhou and continue keeping us out of trouble for a couple of days longer. After several airport glitches that we somehow powered through, the Pipsqueak had her first ride in an airplane... and gave us real hope that the long flight home with a 13 month old kidling would be less of a chore than we'd feared. We arrived in Guangzhou on time, and were soon checking exhaustedly into the famous White Swan hotel.
There were a few thought-provoking moments when a crib was wheeled into our room (waaaay on up on the 25th floor) and Miri seemed absolutely terrified of it, but as we got her calmed down -- she slept in bed with Mommy the remainder of the trip -- we all got together in one of the other families' rooms for a pizza party. [original post with details here.] Afterwards, we all explored the immediate neighborhood of Shamian Island until the heat & humidity wore us down, so it was back to the White Swan and into their pool for about an hour. (The Pipsqueak didn't like to get too far from Mommy, but enjoyed the water and caught on quickly when I taught her to blow bubbles.) After a quick break, we all got together again for dinner at Lucy's, a nearby restaurant (no relation to our local guide Lucy) with an extensive menu of American-style food... our tummies were homesick! We took a nice riverside walk after dinner, then all retired early despite having a "late" morning planned the next day. I discovered that my bed was literally no softer than the floor, but still dozed off quickly to the lullaby of the Pipsqueak's quiet little snores.
[Present-Day Note: The White Swan closed in late 2011 and is undergoing extensive renovations; rumor has it that once it reopens, it will be a lot less adoption-friendly... and Lucy's closed permanently just a few months afterwards. Double-barrelled proof you can't go home again, no matter how broad your definition of home" might be.]
One year ago today, I learned a lesson about how having the Pipsqueak in the family has changed the way I think about & react to very young children. Miri went to day care as usual, but the rest of us attended the funeral of an old friend & neighbor who'd died unexpectedly a few days earlier. There were several very young children at the service, and as it stretched out longer many of them began to fidget, make noise, and do all the other things very bored little children do (although there was an appropriate level of control exercised by their parents & older siblings). Later on, as I drove to work, I realized that my reaction to the noise and fidgeting was a lot more accepting, mellower and more understanding than it used to be... my niece had taught me a lot more about being a grownup around kids than I had realized. <:-}
Today, the Pipsqueak's feeling a lot better (in fact, she was pretty much her usual self much of yesterday, but had a bit of a low-grade fever early in the day and again around dinnertime). AJ and I are about as frazzled as we can remember being, courtesy of our jobs, and our folks are feeling their age a bit more than we'd like, but all in all it's shaping up to be a good day.
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!