Happy first birthday, Katie!
Today is our last day in Guangzhou; we leave at 8:20am tomorrow. Meanwhile, our thoughts drift to life back home in the States.
Our friends the Rammels are breaking in our 2 dogs by exposing them to large doses of little girls. Their daughters, Savannah and Annika, have been teaching Buddy and Pippin how to properly play with baby girls. We miss the dogs, but Beth really hasn't mentioned them every day like she has in the past, so I think little Katie is getting all her attention right now. The mommy factor has kicked in--and so has the daddy factor, in a big way.
Today is quite a rush, with finishing up shopping and sight seeing, bonding with Katie, and our big appointment at the U.S. Consulate at 3pm today. After we get back and relax for a few minutes, we'll dress Katie in her traditional silk red dress (red for good luck), and go to our new favorite Thai restaurant 2 blocks from the hotel.
We've ordered a chocolate cake (with panda bears and Happy Birthday, Katie! on it), and we've learned a few Chinese customs for a first birthday: you serve noodles (for long life), give a little lifesaver shaped jade on a red silk thread for her to wear around her neck, and put a little red envelope with a dollar coin under her pillow for "sweet dreams".
Also, after the party, we are supposed to put her on the floor at home (well, in the hotel room) and surround her with household objects: pen, paper, wallet, chopsticks, computer, whatever we can find. The first thing she grabs a hold of is supposed to predict her future vocation, talents, or interest. If I had to guess, it will be the computer, since she can't keep her fingers off of it whenever we watch Baby Einstein.
Tomorrow we leave the hotel before 5am for an hour bus ride to the airport to check in for an 8:20 departure for Tokyo. We get there at 2pm and leave again at 3:30pm. Then it's a 12 hour flight direct to Minneapolis, but because we cross 14 time zones, we get in at noon the same day (but it will feel like 2:30am to us and Katie!).
Well, the party didn't come off exactly as planned, but it was memorable enough. With all the running and activity, Katie missed her morning nap and only slept a little while before the Consulate appointment in the afternoon. OK, the staffer who swore us in also led the group (probably 60 couples and their adoptive--and biological--children) in singing happy birthday to Katie.
She sat with her thumb in her mouth, looking inscrutable during the song, then played on the bus ride home. All attempts to get her to sleep failed, so we dressed her in her red silk special occasion dress and hoped for the best. It was not to be. We got some good pictures of her with 2 of the 3 other girls in our group, but when we got to the restaurant, she started to get very tired and crabby, which lasted throughout the dinner until everyone had left.
After that, she settled down enough to have some of her birthday cake, and then we headed back to the hotel for packing in anticipation of a 4:30am wake-up call. Since it's 11pm now (and Katie's been asleep for 2 hours), I'd better help Soulmate finish packing. That's it for our China experience, since the next time I post, we'll be back in the States. Thanks for stopping by!
I leave you with some scenes from the party: