Sunday, November 14, 2010

Neighbors...not spelled with a u

During our time in Fort Worth, we were blessed with great neighbors. In 2005, Jeremy and Amy took us under their wing and showed us the ropes of owning an old home, taught us all about our new neighborhood and guided us to a wonderful church. They also convinced us to take our first trip to Europe, so they might be indirectly responsible for our current living arrangements.

Shortly after Jeremy and Amy moved to a different neighborhood, Mark and Linda moved in on the other side of us and they assumed the heavy burden of being our favorite neighbors. Since Linda is a doctor, I asked tons of questions which she patiently answered. I'm quite sure that she's secretly glad we moved before we had children, knowing that I would be that crazy mom to ring her doorbell at midnight because my child coughed!

Thinking back, these two couples were some of the first to know about our crazy plan to move to England. I think it is rare in today's world to have such wonderful neighbors, and we will always miss living next door to them.

In our new land, it's been a bit harder to get to know our neighbors. We try to be likable. We don't blare our Texas music, we don't have wild parties, and I finally convinced Jared to hang his gigantic Texas flag inside (despite his argument that it is an outdoor flag). But dinner party invites.

A new family has recently moved into the flat above us...we can tell by the footsteps on our ceiling. Since we had only seen the parents one day in the stairwell, we were convinced that they worked for the circus and were housing a small heard of elephants!

One morning this past week, our doorbell rang (which is quite unusual in a country where you don't know many people). It was the lady from upstairs...she was frantic and almost tearful. Through her broken English, she explained that she was in the process of taking the trash (rubbish) downstairs when the door to her flat closed behind her and her keys were left inside. Since the doors in our complex automatically lock, she was locked out. She had her two-year old daughter with her (who was not an elephant)... but her seven-month old baby was locked in the flat!

As Jared tried to help her devise a plan to get into the flat, I broke out all of my best kindergarten tricks to entertain the two-year old. It was a long process to find an extra key. The family only has one key because they are in the process of building a new home, and are just staying here for the interim. Because the flat is currently for sale, the owner was able to get in touch with the realtor (estate agent) to come and unlock the door. The entire fiasco probably took about forty-five minutes. As we were trying to "entertain" our guests, we could hear the seven-month old crying upstairs through our ceiling...heartbreaking! We were so thankful that the estate agent was able to come to the rescue.

The next evening we came home to a very special surprise that had been dropped through our mail slot. A very sweet card and a box of chocolates to thank us for our help. We were just happy  that we were able to help, but even more happy that we are able to make friends with our neighbors. They have a long way to go to meet our standards for neighbors, but every day this place feels more and more like home!

Notice the animal on the card.  A bit ironic, don't you think?

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