Xin Nian Kuai Le

Delicious food!
Feeding her pet bird.
Talking to the “little bird”.
Enjoying clementines.

One of the beautiful things about living in NYC is the diversity of cultures in our neighborhood. Seeing people celebrate their culture, and learning about cultures and community has always intrigued me.

When we first moved to Queens, our daughter immediately took a liking to our wonderful next-door neighbor. We are grateful that our neighbor has spent so much time sitting on the sidewalk with us, helping our daughter draw with chalk, chat, and visit her many birds. When the cold months arrived, our neighbor asked our daughter about 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 friendship between the two. They sit, they talk, they smile at each other and exchange hugs. They always ask for each other.  Despite the generational gap and the language barrier – they are ver many friends.

We were honored when we were invited to celebrate the Chinese Lunar New Year in our neighbor’s home. Our girl was soo excited too.  “Mama, is it time to go next door yet?”  She asked over and over. Our wonderful neighbor prepared an incredible amount of delicious food. We greatly enjoyed the meal and meaningful conversation. We learned of Chinese New Year’s celebrations traditionally filled with color and family bonding. We heard stories of our neighbor’s 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 homes for a living.   They showed us many of their beautiful collaborative art pieces designed specifically for museums. They even had an art project for Lucia to work on and we enjoyed hearing stories of their paintings. Birds were brought out for our little ones to “sing” with and many smiles were exchanged with our sweet baby.

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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