I've been thinking about this post in my head for some time now. Time to get it out.
I feel incredibly lucky - first in Madison with the Samson family and now in Hong Kong with the Halcrows - to have been blessed with great neighbours. You know, the kind you look forward to seeing because you enjoy the brief snippets of conversation you have or the impromptu coffees or dinners you enjoy together. With Emily and now Belinda, I've been lucky to have found a great friend in my own backyard.
Part of what makes a home feel like home is the fact that you find people around you that make you feel comfortable. You actually live in the same space. You share things in common. And, the kids get along too. Dave and Emily fit the bill perfectly. And, luckily for us, Belinda and Gilbert do, too.
One of the things I've enjoyed while on my maternity leave has been watching how the friendship between the Halcrow girls and Buddy and Ella has developed over the years.
I love that our apartments face each other, similar to the kitchen window I shared with Emily in Madison. I love that when our kids look out the window, they see what their friends are doing. I love that when Didi and Lolly look out their window, they look to see what we're up to. I love that Lolly calls down from her window to Ella and Didi calls up from the courtyard to Michael. Even Belinda and I lean out the window to face each other when we talk on the phone.
They have a little scooter club in what they call their backyard - an empty garden from the vacant apartment downstairs. In it, they rescue butterflies, feed bugs with leaves and twigs, and even have picnic snacks together. It's really very sweet. Ella and Lolly are best friends. They ride the bus to school together and play in the afternoons together. When they part ways, it's never without a good cuddle and a kiss. And, Didi and Michael play well together too. And while Didi often asks me about some of the things Michael does - my answer most often is because he's a boy - they really do enjoy each other's company. The first thing she asks me is always, where's Michael?
A few weeks ago, Michael summed it up. I called to Ella to tell her Lolls was in her window looking for us. Ella came running to the front of our flat to stand on the bench and look out the window and have a conversation across the courtyard. Shortly after, Michael came running out of their room saying, where there's a Lolls, there's a Deeds!
So true. Where there's a Lolls....
there's a Deeds!
And sometimes there's a Gilbert or a Belinda. It is a fun neighbourhood we live in.
Which makes me sad to think that quite possibly, in the very near future, we may have to move out. It's the way it goes in the rental world of housing subsidies. We've looked for things close by - one unit upstairs, one across the street, and of course, we hope that negotiations on the lease here at F1 will go our way.
I try not to think about all the things I'll miss. The ginger cat outside our kitchen window. Mr. Ching, our dear doorman with all of his up-to-the-minute weather updates . The beach. But mostly, the Halcrows. Even Michael said he'd miss living near Deeds. I dare not mention it to Ella.
As I've said, since I've been home with Cally, I've been able to enjoy a lot of time with our two neighbour girls. Especially Lolly. Each afternoon, after we pick them up from the bus, she runs up to this impatiens weed that grows out of the concrete garden below. If there is a pink flower on it, she'll run in and pick it. For me. One day she told me it was because I'm beautiful. And, she loves everybody.
Oh, how I'll miss these girls when we leave.