Homesick for Italy

3 08 2015

Cousin Verdine who lives on Maui knocked on the studio door yesterday for a surprise visit. I havenʻt see her since we traveled to Italy together—at least thatʻs my recollection; and this morning Susie, who is going to Italy to paint soon, asked for some travel tips. She is going to some of the same places DH and I went to. That led me to point her to my travel blog, Popo Goes To Italy.

I was reminded that the first reason I keep a blog is I write for myself. It is a way for me to document my experiences, and then read about them later, if I wish. Case in point: I had forgotten all the lovely details about Italy, until I just read about them again. Oh, how I miss Italy!

At Up and Down Caffē bar in Arco Felice, Campania.

At Up and Down Caffē bar in Arco Felice, Campania.

The Italy paintings

11 10 2013

photoMy time in Italy was productive! I made two oil paintings, influenced by the style of Tuscan artist/teacher Agostino Veroni. What do you think? My students and I learned some time-saving techniques. Of course, while Veroni takes only 2-1/2 hours to make a painting start to finish, I took a little longer, but not much more than a day for each.

If you didn’t have time to follow me in Italy, my reports are still up at Popo Goes to Italy. There are several posts about the painting experience abroad. Have a wonderful day!

"My Corniglia," 30 x 40 cm, oil on canvas, by Rebekah Luke

“My Corniglia,” 30 x 40 cm, oil on canvas, by Rebekah Luke

“Pool at Villa Minghetti,” 30 x 40 cm, oil on canvas, by Rebekah Luke

Copyright 2013 Rebekah Luke

I’m back from Italy

11 11 2012

Thanks for coming with me to Italy! I’m here at the studio now, getting back in the groove. If you missed my adventure, you can see it at “Popo Goes to Italy,” though it will be in reverse chronological order. I just posted the final entry at that site. I really saw and did a lot!

While in Italy, I found some time to paint in oil. I shipped some supplies ahead for convenience, unsure if I could get them at my destination. As it turned out, the frame shop at commissary at which I had privileges through our son-in-law was well stocked.

This is the view from the house, at the foot of Campiglione. Inside the crater is a large recreation area for US Armed Forces personnel and their families. DH and I went there several times with Miss Marvelous and her family.

My finished painting of Campiglione, a volcano in Campania, Italy

My set up. Painting is unfinished.

En plein air. My view from the balcony.

Copyright 2012 Rebekah Luke

Gone to Italy!

9 10 2012

Tomorrow my Darling Husband and I leave for Napoli, Italy, and I plan to post my experiences of the next four weeks on my new travel blog.  “Popo Goes to Italy” is found at Please head on over!

We’re eager to see our kids.

As we readied for the trip to visit 3-year-old Miss Marvelous and her family, what a pleasure and how wonderful it was to have two Italian friends visit the studio this past week to keep us enthused.

The first was young Sofia, who came to O‘ahu with her mother Lisa and her grandmother, my friend and author of The Hakka Cookbook: Chinese Soul Food from around the World, Linda Lau Anusasananan. Sofia’s father is Italian, and his relatives reside around Napoli. Lisa, who lived in Italy, coached us on some Italian phrases, and we practiced speaking with a correct accent. Sofia and Alice Brown made friends quickly. Almost age 3, Sofia reminded us what it’s like in the company of a toddler!

Me, Sofia, and Lisa

The second Italian is Joe, who’s here now. Joe’s relatives are from Napoli, too! Whenever DH and I have the itch to travel, we need to consider our animals. Having a trusted house- and pet-sitter gives us peace of mind. Joe arrived yesterday from Florida—this is a vacation for him, too—and the animals adore him.

Bossy Ula the cat, in the foreground of dappled light, seems to approve of Joe, in white shirt with Alice Brown. But she’s still wary of the larger dog Pua, at left with DH.

Copyright 2012 Rebekah Luke

Growing up in Napoli

10 09 2012

Family in Napoli

Oh, how they’ve grown in six months! Miss Marvelous and family moved from Ka‘a‘awa to Naples, Italy, where her dad works. Here is a photo he made over the weekend of her mom, her baby sister, and her at the bay of Napoli. That’s Mount Vesuvius in the background.

Papa and Popo (DH and me) will visit and tour with them in October on the days when the child is not in school.

Our granddaughter, 3, attends Italian school. She is one of two Americans in her class of 16 children. This year they are learning Italian and English; the English teacher is from England. Her parents have enrolled her in a special afternoon music program, too.

When I visit, I’m planning to play with the kids, do some sketching and painting, eat pizza, learn some necessary Italian phrases, explore my surroundings, and drink Chianti while watching the sun set as it rises in Hawai‘i half way around the world — not necessarily in that order.

Copyright 2012 Rebekah Luke

Ciao, baby!

12 03 2012

Our son-in-law Travis landed a job rotation in Naples, Italy. Yes, it’s true: in less than two weeks he and DH’s only child Ari and their children Miss Marvelous and three-month-old Perrin leave Oahu for three years. Our family and close friends have got used to the idea and the many advantages of moving half way around the world from Hawaii.

Travis is a civilian who will be working for the U.S. Navy that has a large base in Naples. His expertise is in water engineering. There will be better pay, proximity to all of Europe, international school for Miss Marvelous, and many other benefits, including a generous housing allowance, for this young family.

What they leave behind will likely still be here when they return. Culture shock, most likely. And their dog Pua, who will not make the trip but will move in to live with us instead. Poor Ula!

Aloha, ciao, hello, good-bye, but mostly good luck and see you again soon!

DH and I hosted a going-away party on Saturday at our house and invited some old friends, neighbors, and people in our rural Kaaawa town who Ari grew up with. The guest list included our little friend Oliver, a playmate for Miss Marvelous.

Flooding and road closures of the severe weather storm the previous five to six days—with chilly air, a tornado, thunder, lightning, and hail stones— were not a problem anymore, thankfully, and all the folks, almost 40 of them, arrived and stayed ’til the end. It’s not uncommon for us to schedule a party, only to have stormy weather on the day of the event. Go figure.

I planned three food stations (hot food, cold food, and beverages) and a simple-to-prepare, mostly Italian menu. The only item I had to actually cook was the mushroom risotto that I precooked the day before following instructions from Queer Eye for the Straight Guy (Clarkson Potter/Publishers, 2004; ISBN 1-4000-5446-X).

The rest involved finding space in the refrigerator and freezer, and washing the produce:  Palermo’s ultra-thin crust Margherita pizza (frozen, three to a box from Costco), sushi (1 big platter made to order at the last minute from the Ninja Sushi store), fresh romaine, bocconcini (small, marinated mozzarella balls, 40 to a tub from Costco), fresh tomatoes (found some cute, flavorful, 1-1/2″ ones that I sliced in half and drizzled with bocconcini marinade), steak (broiled to rare and sliced for serving so diners didn’t need a knife; the meat continued to cook on a steam table), roasted asparagus (with a little olive oil, salt, pepper, 500 degrees F. for 5 minutes), and brownies (baked in the morning from a Ghirardelli mix).

I brought out the nice stem glasses for the Italian wine—hey, what better occasion?!—and, although we didn’t request that people bring anything, they did. No one got thirsty. Ari brought Bubbie’s mochi ice cream from Miss Marvelous’s school fundraising event. Ari loves mochi. I wonder if they have mochi in Italy?

Of course, we have to visit the kids in Italy! They announced they will come back home to Hawaii in November for Perrin’s first birthday luau. Kalua pig from the imu and the works. Hearing that, this big change in our family is easier for Papa (DH) and Popo (me) to take. Ciao, baby! See you on Skype!

Copyright 2012 Rebekah Luke

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