If you are fortunate enough to have good neighbors, be thankful. Bake them something, buy them something or just send them a "thank you" card. I had really, really good neighbors back home. I knew it and I appreciated them. I find myself writing this post because I really miss my neighborhood, even if the college students peed on my house from time to time. Where we are staying now is both good and not so good.
As we are submersed in a collectivist culture it is good because everyone pretty knows what's going on with everyone else. It's good because if my kids are playing in the common areas I know that they are safe and that they are usually treated well. For the most part the neighbors have remained courteous, except for the one right next door to me. She tries to push my buttons every time she sees me. Lately she is trying to tell me that I can't only make American friends because I am in Greece and I must make Greek friends. Hmmmm, don't I already have Greek friends? I think that I have been living next to her for too long and she's starting to get to me. She's also informed me that I am in Greece, I must live, breathe and eat Greece. I must make Greek friends and do what my MIL asks. Ah......Que? What? Who does she think I am, a Greek? I can't walk to my door without her attacking me or my children with her fake smiles, endless questions and never ending unsolicited advice. I have experienced this before and I have survived. She peeks in my door and often just walks in when the door is open. Again, this is not new to me and not every native does this, but it can happen more often than not here. I also know that she is gathering information about me and my family for the rest of the porch dwellers in the complex. There is always a gathering on some one's porch. Don't they have anything else to do? My husband told me to think like I am living in Rome, that is his example for me to follow. (boy I miss my HBO!) Anyway, can I do that? I am tough but I am not sure that I have the capability to be conniving, to think one step ahead. It's just too exhausting and I truly believe, toxic. I will remain neutral and true to myself and just smile be on my way, that's how I survived the last time that I lived here.
Hopefully everything will work with our house out in the middle of nowhere (strategic move) and I can really be happy being myself without having to avoid the reptile next door. I laugh because I've often compared her to the aliens in the series "V"...her reptile eyes are seething through her human disguise. Summer is nearly over and soon we will be moving on. I really, really miss my old neighbors!