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, June 13, 2016

Catching Up: Another Year of the Monkey Celebration!

As is usual in our family, the Chinese New Year celebrations spanned most of February. (What we refer to as the Chinese new year is actually the Spring Festival [chun jie], and the celebration normally spans 15-16 days, so we're not really too far out of line with this family tradition.) As in many recent years, our last celebration included a luncheon with all our China adoption friends on the 21st.

There was a bittersweet note to this year's CNY luncheon. One of the families was preparing to move several states away, and as good as email and Skype and phones and the USPS might be there's really nothing like being able to just get together on short notice, or even just knowing that good friends are nearby any time an extra shoulder is needed. This particular family had been extra-supportive of AJ during The Wait and hosted a big baby shower for her back in May of 2010. They were also the last family in our entire group to be matched and have their daughter join the family after (far too many) years of waiting, so all the goodbye hugs at the end of the day were a little more final than usual. (Youse guys know who you are -- we'll be staying in touch, but you're missed!)

Despite the added note of poignancy, it was a fun event with lots of (very) good food and more dancing lions than you can shake a stick at. Instead of trying to describe everything in lengthy paragraphs, here are some photos...

In the "airlock" at the restaurant entrance.
Also just inside the front door. More lions than we'd seen before!
"Look out! Uncle Brian is trying to take our picture!"
(That's the Pipsqueak & one of her BFFs dodging behind the menu.)
Don't let the "English" fool you -- the food's REALLY good!
Ten minutes later and MORE kids are in on the "hide from
Uncle Brian's camera!" act... <sigh>
Shortly after food arrived, so did the lions!

It's a leonine traffic jam...!
Hungry lions are especially fond of hong bao -- that's AJ's hand
in the foreground feeding a particularly hungry dancing Nian. 
Eventually the lions & crew moved back through the restaurant
before exiting through the front door.
As we all left, Miri & friends tossed some coins in the wishing fountain in the
restaurant lobby. (We had to stop them from fishing the coins back out!)
As we were all leaving, one little guy threw his arms around this cardboard
display exclaiming, "I love her!"  I think the kid's got great taste in women!
Pipsqueak & Co. take advantage of one last chance to let off some steam together
(kinda-sorta the reason the adults stood around talking for a few minutes...)
All in all, it was a the classic good times with good people sharing good food, and everyone enjoyed themselves. Oh, sure, there were a couple of "discussions" with one or another kidling when they got a little too active in the restaurant, and some of them had to be coaxed out from under the tables when the drums & gongs first started playing, but everyone headed home with a smile.

There was still one more Year of the Monkey/Spring Festival celebration left to go -- but our annual China friends luncheon was fun!

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