And I will do it with great gusto and pleasure.
A few weeks ago, while finishing up our shower tile, my father-in-law had yet another encounter with our Greek ‘friend’. Once again, his finger was pointing at the thin strip of his land that happened to fall on our side of the fence. G apologized for us, smoothed over the Mocha holes and reassured him that, once we had time, we would be building a fence.
Really? Oh, they can take their time. No worries, no worries.
From there, G began a little relationship building exercise, chatting over the fence when he was out cutting tile, hearing stories while taking a smoke break, sharing a little bit about us every so often. In that conversation, our unpleasant neighbour learned we were a young married couple (which seemed to put him at ease) and we were hard at work to fix up everything we could about the house.
A few days later, I was shocked to have my pleasant greeting acknowledge. Not just acknowledge, actually, but responded to with a cheerful, “Hello, how are you?” He engaged the Husband in a few lengthy chats and we’re slowly beginning to feel comfortable with having him as a next door neighbour.
Last night, at the end of my 5.4 km (wh00t!) run, I sprinted past our driveway and started my cool down walk past their house. His wife sat on the porch. I waved and she, in her broken English, asked if I had been running. As I started telling her where I had gone, he stepped out onto the porch and leaned against the railing.
45 minutes later, I started to pull away, insisting I needed to get inside and get a glass of water, a shower, or at least get my phone (aka, music player) out of my sports bra. They wanted to know everything, to tell me everything. At one point, she reached through their porch railing and grabbed my hand, saying, “I love you! I love you!” When I went inside, I thought about it for a bit. One of the things our neighbour had said to me was that everyone in the neighbourhood was stupid. I couldn’t catch everything he said through his heavy accent, but what he thought about those who lived around him was quite clear. It dawned on me…
This older couple probably haven’t had a front porch conversation with one of their neighbours in years.
And I’m crazy grateful they’ve chosen to open up to us. Friendly neighbours are awesome.