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Neighbours

by:Rachel

There have been some places where I’ve lived where I didn’t know any of my neighbours. Other times, I’ve been blessed with some really good people with whom I’ve shared life, conversation, and even food. As we prepare to move to our third place since coming to Scotland, I feel the tinge of leaving my neighbours behind once again.

The way most people live in this part of the world makes it very difficult NOT to meet your neighbours. The building we’ve been living in is a long row of “flats”, four stories high and with four seperate entrances and stairwells– otherwise known as “closes”. I’ve managed to come face to face with someone from every flat in our close for various reasons. The first neighbour we met is known by all of us as Mrs. Priestly. She lives right across the hall from us on the ground floor and has been here for at least 3 decades, maybe more. She’s a lovely short and stout lady with white hair and always wears aprons around the house and garden. She must be at least eighty, but is the one who cleans the entrance hallway each month and every week she takes out all of our garbage bins and returns them after the dump truck empties them– a selfless act indeed. Her door is equiped with a loud beep whenever it is opened and often when Aria hears it, she tells me, “I want to say hello to Mrs. Priestly.” She will proceed to do so and the dear lady exclaims over her and admires her clothes.:-)

Another neighbour we’ve come to know is in the close next door– Gerry. He’s a single dad in his mid-forties with two lovely children: Andrew (5) and Amie (3). Aria loves to play with these two “frens” (friends) and they’ve been over to our place for a meal and we’ve been to their house for a meal. The interesting thing about this guy (besides being a single dad) is that both he and his children are vegans (they don’t eat any meat or products from animals, ie dairy, honey, etc. or wear any clothing produced from animals like wool and leather). As you can imagine, John and I had a great time looking over recipes to see what we could make for them and there are really a lot of good vegan meals you can make if you put a little effort into it. In fact, I think he’s coming by for a meal tomorrow night. Gerry is also an atheist so there are a plethera of interesting topics to talk about. Both John and I enjoy his company and conversation– he’s a good guy as well as a good neighbour.

The couple who lives above us have also proved to be good neighbours. The guy is a mechanic and has been very helpful to John when we’ve had car “tweeks” with our little red citroen saxo. He owns a mechanic shop and if we have any issues, our business goes to him. Not only does he know what he’s doing, but he’s honest as well. And his philosophy is, “If you don’t need to spend money on it, don’t.” Now who wouldn’t want a mechanic with that philosophy? Also, the reason this post is being written is because they have wireless internet and are letting us use their signal (at least, for the next couple of weeks because they’re moving too).

So, why the move? Believe me, I’m not really looking forward to all the packing and sorting again. We’re living in the same town; can’t we just live in the same place? Well, as much as we like our location and neighbours, this house has a couple of major issues: the kitchen is remarkable small and the carpet is remarkable stainable despite its being of the colour “tan”. There has been an offer by the company that our pastor owns to rent a much larger flat for a year at a very reasonable rate. One of the single twenty-somethings from our church would be moving in with us and we’d end up saving a little money by sharing some of the costs. Also, Amanda needs a place to live and this is a good opportunity to encourage community. Yeah, we do it already to a certain extent, but with two living areas, this other flat will be ideal. It’s a fifteen minute walk from here, and half a block from church as well as half a block from the cafe I work at (more on that to come!). Sooo… it looks like a move is coming up in early Feb.— wish we could take our neighbours with us!

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