07 August 2017

Getting to Know You

Getting to know all about you...

Getting to know your neighbors in a new country is difficult. Besides the language barrier, there's the uncertainty you have culturally - what is normal? What is acceptable? What are the right words to use?

Getting to know neighbors in a small city adds a level. Renting? In an apartment building? Even more. A furnished apartment? Well, why bother; they're just visiting...

Well, we've made tiny inroads - one neighbor needed our help (don't run any water while he fixed his pipes); other neighbors are always on our bus, and were kind enough to help us with the building entry codes.

But today! I can see the ground floor gardens from my balcony, and today, I noticed that one potted plant had fallen over - it's good sized, and I thought what a shame if it died. So, I built up my courage by running through a few lines of French, and knocked on her door! No answer... Well, our building is secured via code, so maybe she's a little leery of answering. Knocked again... Just as I gave up and went back to the elevator, another neighbor came out - we talked a bit about the plant, and I thought "if not now..." I asked if there was a gardien (caretaker) - non, but the woman was the présidente of the building association (!!!), and did I have a problem?

Well! She was so helpful! Call so and so, ask for person X; if she's not there, ask for Mr Y. Tell them I said to do Z. If you get nowhere, or need anything else, knock on my door!

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