Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Try New Adventures Thursday: Mission Meet The Neighbors

In America, most people do not know their neighbors. Does that strike you as strange? In the last place we lived, we knew a few of our neighbors by face and would wave occasionally, but that was about the extent of it.

I've never had a can-I-get-a-cup-of-sugar-because-I-realized-I-was-out-in-middle-of-cooking sort of relationship with my neighbors. How sad.

 But I'm out to change that!

New town, new apartment, new start. And what's wonderful is that we're in graduate family housing, so for many of the people around us, this is their home away from home.

Mission: Meet the neighbors. Plan for winning their love and affection? My favorite oh-so-good cookies.

So this week (after I was no longer contagious), I did some baking and we packed a basket full of cookies. Then the hubby, Squishy boy, and I went a' knocking.

I felt a little nervous.

I mean, what if these people don't like cookies? I'm taking some serious risks here, people.

At first, it looked like not a single one of our neighbors was home. No lights on, no answers to our knocks--nothing.

Except at the last door.

A little Chinese lady opened the door, lighting up at the sight of our gift (and the baby). She waved us inside.

The apartment was mostly empty and quite muggy with the AC off during a mid-summer day in Florida. Our hostess motioned us to the only place we could sit, a mattress without sheets in the back bedroom. We eagerly attempted to converse, but she spoke only a few words of English and my Chinese consists of "nǐ hǎo" (hello) and "xie xie" (thank you). It was pretty great. We did lots of smiling. She doted on Squishy and kept asking him "Howyoudoin'? Howyoudoin'?" And out the recesses of her bare house emmerged a red stuffed tiger with gold stripes, which she gifted to him. She even tried to cater to our pansy American constitutions by motioning that she could turn on the air conditioner (we smilingly refused).

We shared our names, gathered that she has a daughter who studies at the university, smiled, nodded, made hand motions, and eventually took our leave.

When we walked back into our cool, furniture-filled apartment, Andrew said, "I feel like we live in a palace" and we looked at each other, humbled.

The next day, we had two visitors. Our Chinese neighbor came over with her daughter, bearing meatball soup, and we sat on the couch and talked. This time we were able to communicate more fully, with her daughter translating. It was fabulous. I learned that my neighbor (whose name is pronounced "Fong-ru") is a former nurse and teacher and she's here for a month to help her daughter get settled. We actually visited on the day they moved in.

With that, our little mission is off to a good start. And can I just say, the meatball soup was wonderful.

Your turn! What new experiences/lessons/adventures have you been having? Big or small, short or tall, share them here. For guidance, here are some rules. Mainly, just link up your post, link back to me, and have fun reading about everyone's adventures!

If you're on Twitter, tweet your post with the hashtag #TryNewAdventures so I can find you and retweet. :)



  1. OK. What a great idea! I mean, we should do this...but, like you said, we rarely do. I was laughing hysterically at your pronounceations and could totally picture the entire episode! You may have just convinced me to make some cookies for my neighbors :-)

  2. How wonderful that you were able to cross cultures right in your own courtyard! =)

  3. That was such a wonderful thing you did. Kudos to you!

  4. Ok, mr. Linky was having some trouble, so I just switched link up systems. Hopefully we're good to go.

    Christine: you should do it! Why not?

  5. We lived in student housing for a year and LOVED it! (You know, apart from the tiny rooms and cinder block walls.) I loved having lots of neighbors close by who were doing the school thing, too. I hope you get settled into your new place quickly.

  6. How awesome is that! I love to make up goodies to take to the new neighbors. Since we live on base, that sometimes happens a LOT more than it probably would downtown.

    Have a great weekend!

  7. Sherry, that's cool that you live on base and have community there! :D

  8. I love this Alicia!! It is a little scary, isn't it? I am so glad your venture out had such a good success, and how awesome your new friend brought you soup. So sweet. You guys are probably the friendliet Americans she has ever met, you know?!


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