Meeting the Neighbours

For 2 years I have had neighbours that I have never talked to.
I can stand in my kitchen and look into their garage but we have never said hello. In fact most of the time, when I am washing my dishes and they see me, I have thought they seemed displeased that I am there.

I live down a driveway with 11 other houses and know all of my driveway neighbours but these neighbours are down a separate driveway so we never pass by each other.

After 2 years of ethnic music and delicious smelling curries wafting over the fence I finally grasped the courage to go over and introduce myself. I found out that they are from the North of India and so I told them that I was in the process of adopting from India. They were very keen to help me learn more about their country.

Fast forward a few weeks to today. I went over to spend some time learning about India and hopefully Indian cooking.

My neighbours are absolutely delightful! They were so welcoming and kind. I was able to ask a lot of questions about life in India whilst being served an Indian snack (similar to onion bahji) and jalebi (which if you have not tried you really must!) We also enjoyed masala tea which I absolutely love. In Uganda it is served as 'African Tea' but its roots are in India.

We talked about food, raising children, marriage, housing, teaching, servants, animals and religion. They asked a lot of questions about Christianity and I learnt a lot about Sikhs. They told me they wanted to go to Church or Mass one day just to see what it is like. I learned that you never bring any food to someone else's house in India as this is offensive. You are implying that they will not be able to provide for you. I also learned that if I was Indian I would still be living with my parents as children are their parents' responsibility until they are married.

I saw a Christmas card attached to their fridge and said, 'I presume you don't celebrate Christmas.' They replied that they didn't but then said, 'Maybe we could celebrate it with you this year.' What a perfect way to share part of my culture.

They are traveling to India next week as their 5 year old son still lives there with his grandparents. They visit every year. I am looking forward to hearing their stories when they return.

As I left I was given a chickpea curry to take home! Such incredible hospitality. I feel so blessed that God would place these people right next door to me and that they would welcome me with open arms.
I also discovered that the neighbours behind them (who are also technically my neighbours) are from India as well. They are from the South of India so therefore speak a different language and eat different food.

It's taken me 2 years, but now, when I sit on my deck listening to their Indian music, hearing them speak Hindi and smelling their delicious curries, I know that Bunny will be a part of a special community slowly being built today. And if their curry smells really good I've been told I'm allowed to pop my head over and ask for some. It's the cultural thing to do!


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