9.28.2007

My Austrian Neighbors...

One morning my doorbell rang. I looked out the window and saw a youngish-middle aged mother with two kids, one slightly bigger and the other slightly smaller than Tortellino. Thinking this was a surprise social visit of some kind, I grabbed Tortellino and ran down the stairs to open the door.

"Do you speak English?" she asked in almost perfect English. Wow, I couldn't believe my ears, I was sure she wanted to make a connection.

"Yes! We do. We also speak in Italian and Tortellino, here, also speaks in German - me a little bit."

"Ahah..." she nodded her head and looked disnterested.

"Well," she began. "Since you're new here, you probably don't know how things work in Austria. You are responsible to cut the branches that stick out onto the sidewalk. I'm having problems walking by."

"Oh,"I was starting to realize the scope of the visit. Trying to turn things around, I introduced myself "... and this is Tortellino, he is 2.5 years old." I looked at her two children smiling, waiting.

"Ahah..." she nodded her head and didn't introduce herself or the children.

"Also, in the winter, you need to salt your sidewalk and shovel the snow. And, have you been separating your trash? Last month saw plastic bottle sticking out of your garbage can!"

"Excuse me," I interrupted confused.

"Do you live in the neighborhood?"

"I live in the Yellow and White house, over there" she pointed to a block of three yellow and white houses.

"Oh, I'll talk to my husband about cutting the branches. Thank you for your visit!"

"Ahah.." she nodded, grabbed her unidentified kids and left.

I was a little surprised by the visit.. given that we have a double-wide sidewalk and the longest branch that sticks out is at least one meter from the edge of the sidewalk.

Depressed about a neighbor that I've had for six months that never introduced herself and only visited me to complain, the next day, coming home from with Tortellino from an errand I found something on my doorstep. A bottle cage with six 2 liter bottles of home-made apple cider. No note, nothing.

Remorse? Friendly neighbor? I thought a while and then it hit me!

Two months ago, a lady rang my doorbell. She knew the former owner and was desperate to find a parking spot (we live very near the city center and across the street from a University building so parking at certain times of day can be tricky). I let her park in our driveway. Anyway, hubby wasn't home so it wasn't any problem for us! She was in a hurry but, now, I remember she promised to bring me a bottle or two of Apple cider as soon as the apple season started.

Every neighborhood has a jerk but, thankfully, they are usually outnumbered by the kind.

Oh, by the way, the youngish-middle aged woman rang my doorbell yesterday. When I saw who it was, I didn't bother answering. She probably wanted to complain about something else.

1 comment:

Mark said...

I think you should have a pot of hot kaffee and some cake in the fridge on standby.
The next time this lady shows up just put your hand up and guide her in for some kaffee-klatsch. Does the trick every time.

Take it from a paesano who knows.
Saluti da Marin