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!

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Catching Up: Our MIT CNY Luncheon (5 Feb 2017)

Despite the lack of big FCC celebration of the Chinese New Year, our circle of China adoption friends had the usual CNY luncheon. Even that was a little different this year, with one of the families now living in the Carolinas -- but pretty much anyone within easy driving distance showed up and a good time was had by all!

What better place to play and avoid the loud drums & cymbals than under the table?
Just the first of many hong bao devoured by the red Nian!
The Pipsqueak's Grandma enjoys a close encounter of the CNY kind.
This is what happens to a close-up when your subject gets so close that you almost fall over backwards...
Miri has always been a little afraid of this guy -- and I gotta admit those big empty eyes are a bit creepy!
The big red Nian makes its way through the crowd (nearly pushing Dad out of his chair)
The Pipqueak's Grandpa isn't sure if he should take a photo... or dive for cover!
Alas, I failed to catch any of the lucky flying veggies... but there were plenty left behind on the floor!
After the dance (and the accompanying loud drums & cymbals) had wound their way back to the front of the restaurant (Dude, how can you go back to the front?) and out the door, we settled down to finish our meal and then celebrated the 39th birthday of one of the group (for what was at least the 2nd time in his life), followed by the inevitable collecting of all the papers, stamps, crayons, colored pencils, pads, and other stuff employed to prevent pre- and post-meal boredom within the youngest generation of our group.
Oohing and aaahing over the cake that's about to be devoured... or just making sure to get a choice piece?
A small fraction of the kids' handiwork. One of these days I'll learn to read those characters...!
Eventually all the artwork & assorted bags, backpacks, leftovers, gifts, unused hong bao, art supplies, etc. was collected. After the requisite stop in the lobby for the kids to throw pennies into the fountain (followed by the requisite stop in the front entrance airlock for group photos of the kids), the entire group made its way out the door and the usual round of "goodbye" discussions began. (These usually consist of conversation separate from all that occurred inside the restaurant, only reluctantly reaching an actual goodbye 10-15 minutes later.)

As usual, the kids were running up & down the sidewalk, balancing on rocks in the landscaping -- at least when they thought none of the grownups would notice -- and generally making good use of the last few minutes before everyone scattered to their respective homes. I noticed the restaurant's back patio was flanked by a pair of the shaggiest trees I'd ever seen, and I was able to reach just far enough through the fence to grab a couple that would make good wands once I'd figured out what kind of tree they were[1]... an activity interrupted by the sudden need to remind the kids that it really wasn't a good idea to try to climb the big stone lions by the restaurant's front door[2].

Say hello to Betula nigra, commonly known as the River Birch, one of North America's shaggiest trees.
If we can't climb on him, then we'll just include him in our conversation!
Eventually everyone's stamina ran out and, one family at a time, everyone began drifting out to their cars with lots of laughing "Hi! Bye!" from the kids. We were one of the last families to leave, and were entertained by Miri telling us aaalllll about the Nian and the noisy music on the way home.

[1] My name's not Ollivander, but I am indeed a wandmaker. It's a fun hobby that letss me work with wood in a way I haven't had a chance to since the long-ago days when I used to help my grandfather in his basement workshop doing carpentry & repair work.

[2] The kids are actually pretty good -- their behavior's appropriate for their respective ages (and locations), they just kinda get a little carried away when in high-adrenaline groups. :-)

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