Noel pulled out a book from her backpack, with an excited voice : " mama, I checked out a special book from my school library and I want to show it to you."
I took a quick look and immediately responded : " there is no way you can understand this book, little girl!"
Noel : " so? It is a book about art, and I figure it will make you happy !"
In Colonnata, Italy. Look at Noel, you cannot fake a smile like this !
I was first introduced to Bing by a dear friend Nilda (who is also pictured here-hiding in the shade!!!) while traveling in Italy. "Jenny, you have to meet my 'Taiwanese son' here, a fellow sculptor and quite a lady's man!" Haha, that is how I remember the introduction and it's hard to believe, that was exactly 10 years ago.
Whenever opportunity brings me to Italy, Bing and I always tried to meet up for cafe, catching up on friends, art and our native country, Taiwan. Bing even came to the rescue once when I found myself "homeless" in Italy! So, it is only nature that when I bring my daughter to Italy, I have to introduce her to my Italian/Taiwanese friend - uncle Bing!
Is Noel going to get along with Bing? Will Bing find this noisy kid too distracting ? All the concerns disappeared the moment when Noel met Bing.
Noel and I travelled on an "entertaining 3rd class" train from Ascea all the way up to Carrara; that is one hack of a long way in a day in a stinky train. As soon as we arrived in the station, Noel hopped off the train and ran right straight into her uncle's Bing arms. For the rest of the journey, I was dealing with not just one, but two goofy kids at all time!
Noel and her uncle Bing share the same love for beach and it is impressive for me to see a grown man, so patiently spend hours in the shallow water playing, building sand castles with a 5-year-old.
Noel loves cats, and uncle Bing sculpted her a marble cat with a heart nose for her 6-year birthday. Every morning as soon we were out of the door, Noel circled around behind uncle Bing, wanting a piggy back ride; not that she's tired, this is the same girl, just a week before, hiked 5 hours in the city of pompeii with me!
One the day we departed from Carrara (the first time,) Noel cried and cried for 30 minutes on the train, heart broken from leaving uncle Bing; she literally stopped smiling for a week until our travel adventure unexpectly brought us back to Carrara; and waiting there at the train station is again, Noel's beloved friend and uncle - Bing.
We wish uncle Bing best of luck in his artistic and personal adventure in life; and thank you for so many great memories for the little girl, see you soon!
Before Noel was born, every chance I got, I was in Europe.
Give me a month, a carry-on and a sketchbook; I was hitting all the museums and churchs, hunting down artworks you may or maynot find in the travel guidebooks. For years, I never knew you go to Italy to buy leather goods, or there is the Big Ben in London, however, I pride myself with some hard to find Andrea del Sarto , Tiziano and Charles Gleyre! What treasures!
So it's only nature that I want to share that passion with my daughter. What I was not sure was whether or not she is ready for such trip at age 5, and what astonished me was how much she loved the experience and how much she is just, well, like me!
Noel making drawings in the Vatican museum
Drawing in Bargello museum in Florence. Do you think I force the kid to do this? Wasn't a 5 -year-old supposed to be jummping around the museum and trying to touch everything in sight? I cannot speak for other people's parenting, but for us, art is in every day life and it is in Noel's blood, you should see the pride and joy in her eyes when she showed me her works. I used to attracted tourists in the museums, surrounding, glancing over my shoulders like I am a living sculpture, well, it's Noel's turn now.
It has been months since my last update. All is well, as I am sitting here at the cafe, waiting for my brand new 2nd grader to get off school ( yes, she is in 2nd grade, isn't it amazing?) I figure I better get started before my crazy schedule sets in.
This is a good place to jot down my thoughts, mainly about Noel. For years, it serves as a great source for us to glance back, to share and to look forward to the future. With the help of modern technology, Noel will be able to keep these momories at her finger tip when she grows up. Little girl has been keeping her blog going, good for her; and shame on me! Fortunately, I didn't have many strangers or intruders making offensive comments on my posts over the years, (or is this a sign that no one is reading?) let's hope it stays this way; as for those of you- the friendly visitors, do leave a note once in a while, knowing your kind words means a lot to us and will continue to be an encourgement throughout the years to come.