Susie Shy- that introverted blogger- trying to say hello to the neighbours. This is a difficult task for me. With my advancing years, I find it all the more difficult to meet new people and introduce myself to them. At the back of my mind, lingers the thought that perhaps I’m making a fool of myself .
It was not always like this- when I was younger, I could head off and talk to people like nobody’s business. Things changed when I went to college and I found out that in my college, there was a tradition for newcomers to be seen rather than heard. This hampered my speaking abilities. Ever since I have had it difficult to talk to new people.
My neighbours are a Middle Eastern : Russian couple, who have been there for at least the 10 years that I have been here. Last year, they had a little baby-so I was forced to go say hello and meet the newcomer.
It took me several days of planning and plotting to decide how to do it. I thought I would do it alone but when my daughter came to know of my plans ( she is 15), she wanted to come too. So the two of us made our plans.
Days of watching and observing made us conclude that ever since the couple had their new baby and with 3 other children to care for, with no domestic help, they were ordering a lot of takeaway. ( aka the large number of KFC and MacDonald remains in their trash). We decided that they would appreciate a good home-cooked meal.
So we got to work. The problem was what should be on the menu. Given their unique heritage- should it be Middle Eastern or Russian or just plain Susie Shy stuff. I decided to go with Susie Shy stuff- things I know how to make well.
So it was that I decided to fry home made bread in hot oil ( one of the delicacies I know how to make) and combine it with a hot mash of delicately flavoured and spiced potatoes. “Yummy! ” My daughter said, as she sampled some of it. It was hot but tasty.
For the sweet at the end of the meal, we decided to bake doughnuts and ice it as we knew how. So the dough was made and doughnuts shaped and baked- they turned out nice and brown. The icing was my daughter’s work. She had a talent at that sort of thing. So armed with out hot home-made food and baby clothes I had crocheted myself- we went to our neighbour’s house.
On the first knock, no one opened the door. So we knocked again. Adam, the last but one child, opened the door. He put his golden brown head out the door and his eyes went wide to see us. I imagined him looking at my food with hunger. Anyway he told me his mother was busy with the baby and could we come later.
Though disappointed, we decided to hand over the food to Adam and Ibrahim ( who had joined him at the door now) and left for our home.
A few hours later, Adam knocked at our door- we were surprised to see him. He said, ” My mum can see you now”, so we dressed up in our best but now armed only with the baby clothes, we made another trip to our neighbours.
At the door, Victoria, the mother greeted us in the fashion typical of Middle Eastern homes with a hug and kisses on both cheeks. Of course, I said” hello” and shook hands too. With the hug and the hello, we managed to communicate in spite of our different tongues and traditions.