Xin Nian Kuai Le

Delicious food!

Luyi feeding her pet bird.

Lucia talking to the “little bird”.

Luyi, Lucia and birdie eating clementines.

One of the beautiful things about living in NYC is the diversity of cultures in our neighborhood.  Seeing people celebrate their culture is something that has always intrigued me and made me emotional – a character trait that my husband has always made fun of me for. I really can’t blame him, considering that I’ve been known to cry during parades, cultural wedding dances, and if it counts the “it’s a small world” ride at Disney world. Umm, and Bob is MAKING ME mention the time that I was once moved to tears by an Israeli
motorcycle brigade while standing in line at Starbucks on 90th and 1st ave.

When we first moved to Queens, Lucia immediately took a liking to our next door neighbor Luyi.  Luyi has spent so much time sitting on the sidewalk with us, drawing with chalk, showing Lucia her pet birds and talking. When the cold months arrived, Luyi asked Lucia her favorite color and appeared the next day with a hand-knit pink scarf. As a parent, it has been beautiful to bear witness to the reciprocity of friendship between Lucia and Luyi. They sit, they talk, they smile at each other and exchange hugs.  Lucia always asks for Luyi and Luyi always asks about Lucia.  Despite the generational gap and language barrier – they are friends.

Bob and I were both honored and humbled when Luyi and her husband Ronson invited us over to celebrate the Chinese Lunar New Year.  Lucia was soo excited too.  “Mama is it time to go to Luyi’s house yet?”  She asked over and over.  Luyi prepared an incredible amount of delicious food.   We greatly enjoyed the meal and meaningful conversation.  Luyi spoke of  Chinese New Year’s celebrations traditionally filled with color and family bonding. We heard stories of their lives in Shanghai and their move to Japan to study art. They spoke of living authentically as artists and the challenge of teaching art and music in their home for a living.   They showed us many of their beautiful collaborative artistic pieces designed specifically for museums.  Luyi and Ronson seemed to really enjoy having Lucia and Adrian over and went to great lengths to make us all comfortable.  Luyi had art projects for Lucia to work on and Ronson showed her his paintings.  Luyi brought out her birds for Lucia to “sing” with and many smiles were exchanged with baby Adrian.  It was also sooo nice  to see Bob talk among artists – since he is an amazing artist too.  There was something so special about being in their home with them.

Considering all the celebrating, I managed to hold it together and not shed one tear during the festivities! A great time was definitely had by all.  Happy year of the rabbit!

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