John and I first met YiYi when we came in 2009. She came to the hotel to visit our new daughter and ended up staying overnight. I remember one of the first definite conclusions I drew about my new daughter was that she must be a pretty good kid because she had the most wonderful friend in the world. It is a very good thing that YiYi is not an orphan, or we never would have left China without her.
She immediately adopted us as gama and gaba, which our translator box translated as "mother by affection" and "father by affection", which I thought was so sweet. She bought a birthday present when John's birthday came. She went swimming with me. All with a sense of charm and grace.
Sometimes, when you meet someone under special circumstances, you exaggerate qualities of theirs. Thus, I wondered if I had correctly remembered YiYi. If maybe the real girl was an ordinary mortal creature, not the fairy creature removed from the irritations normal to mortal kind that she seemed to be. I came expecting to meet an ordinary girl who had as one aspect of her personality some of the charming traits I recalled.
I was entirely wrong. If anything, YiYi is even more wonderful than I had remembered.
YiYi is without question the sweetest person I have ever met. She exudes sweetness. She does everything with a sense of extraordinary kind grace, her whole face lighting up with delight when she smiles. She is gentle. She is very stylish, she always looks as if she stepped from a fashion magazine, and she is filled with joyful cheer. Even on the few occasions that I have seen her pout, she does it with sheepish sweetness. The only time I ever saw an admonishing expression on her face was the time she felt her boyfriend was not properly caring for an injury he had received, and even then, her manner was so wifely as to be adorable.
While I have been here, she has been looking out for me in such a loving and joyful way, making sure that I had what I needed--including this computer, which allows me to type and read my email at home instead of having to impose on the teachers to use the school computers in a public room. She makes sure I do not get lost and always seems so joyful to be about this.
But the most interesting thing about YiYi to me is that she is not overpowered by the Princess.
It is delightful to watch my daughter with the other children. She is so forthright, so determined and definite, compared to the rest of them. She is clearly the leader, and the rest the followers. She does everything with quick definite action, and the others look up to her. This dominance of Ping-Ping was also true with wonderful, sweet Ling Shan, so much so that I had nicknamed Ling Shan the Lady-In-Waiting. They had a wonderful time together, but Ping-Ping was clearly in charge. All these chldren are in my daughter's shadow...except for YiYi.
Somehow, with all her sweetness and grace, YiYi still manages to give the impression of equality with the Princess, as if they are shining stars of equal brightness, shooting through the sky together. She seems totally outgoing and accepting and yet not in the least overshadowed. It is uplifting to see them together.
Someone took some really excellent pictures of the two girls, pictures so good that they look like something from a magazine. They are supposed to give us a copy before we go. If they do, I'll post one or two of my favorites. There is one of the girls running together that may be one of my favorite pictures I've ever seen of someone I know, and another of them leaping in mid-air that is just adorable. Hopefully, you will all see them anon.