Day 280: Meet My Neighbor Down the Street

Good neighbors

After I moved back into my house, 18 months after the May 2011 tornado, I realized I had a new neighbor down the street. I would see her working diligently in her yard, or walking her dog, and I’d think, “I need to go introduce myself.” Yet, I didn’t. I’d wave as I drove by. Or she would smile as she walked by with her small dog, yet we never stopped to make a connection beyond the wave or the smile. English was not her first language but she was happy and friendly. I was drawn to get to know her, and yet I hesitated.

This year, in moving past comfort zones and a sense of inertia that can freeze me in place, I am moving beyond. I wanted to meet my neighbor and tell her how much I appreciate the flowers and trees in her front yard and the attention she gives them. With that intention, I looked forward to catching her in her yard and saying “hello” at last.

And then, in late spring, she left for an extended time. She has family in California and Mexico, her friend said, that she was visiting. People would come and go at her house, caring for her yard, but not as she does. The days stretched into weeks and then months. I wondered if I had missed my opportunity to get to know this quiet yet hard working woman.

Last week, she came home! I noticed first that the front yard gardens were looking well kept and freshened. And then I saw her and waved joyfully at her as I drove by. She smiled. Greg spoke to her and prepared the way for me, telling her I’d be visiting her to introduce myself. She said good, she could practice her English. Today, for my first, I at last ventured down the street to meet my neighbor. She smiled as I approached. Aware that she speaks only a little English, I spoke slowly. I welcomed her home. I told her I admired her yard and her flowers and how much time she puts into making her home and property look nice. She smiled. I smiled. She spoke with a beautiful accent and we agreed to get together soon and chat.

I invited her to come, soon, and see my garden in the backyard. We might be limited in the words we will use, but we both have a love of growing things and getting our hands into the warm earth. We both enjoy being outside and that joy can be shared without using many words. I can offer her tea, or we can simply sit among the riotous, glorious flowers and plants and enjoy the sunshine and breezes, the butterflies and bumble bees, and the signs of fall approaching. And…..we can smile.

morning garden e

Day 279: Where in the World….is Cindy Moore?

Where in the World question mark e

Today’s first was a combo of a couple of things: Greg and I met Elissa and Dayan at their home to help Dayan hang an assortment of items on his bedroom walls, and Dayan and I played a version of “Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?”. The four of us had fun completing Dayan’s room in the house that Elissa bought recently. And, Dayan is always great to help me with interesting ideas for firsts!

Elissa is transforming her house into a charming cottage style home, with industrial touches. It has an uncluttered, warm feel that I love. Dayan was allowed to do what he wanted in his room. This young man loves geography and architecture, music and playing the tuba, books and video games. Since moving into the house, he has been patiently waiting for some help hanging up his pictures, maps and awards. He is very busy with after school activities and the rest of us with work and a host of other projects, but at last, our schedules all meshed and tonight, Greg and I showed up with a few simple tools.

Where in the World Dayans room e

Elissa ordered in pizza and the fun began! Dayan had his items laid out against the walls they would occupy. With several pairs of eyes and helping hands and Dayan’s guidance, Greg skillfully hung each item, moving methodically around the room. We all have a great time, no matter what we are doing. There was much laughter and storytelling and good natured teasing. And in a short time, the walls of Dayan’s room were no longer bare.

A vintage looking yet current map of the world hung in its new spot above the headboard of Dayan’s bed. He knows all the countries and can tell you capitals, flags, facts about each one. Wanting to add a geography element to my first today, Dayan suggested a variation on the well known children’s tv show that teaches geography, Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? Using a small felt circle, Dayan and I took turns closing our eyes, spinning around and then throwing the felt piece onto the map. The other person watched to see where the circle landed. Amazingly, with all the water on the map, we both landed on countries. I selected Papua New Guinea and Dayan ended up with Niger. We each have to write about our countries. I’m including my facts about my country here, while Dayan will post on his Facebook wall.

Where in the World map e

Here is what I learned about Papua New Guinea, using this format:

P opulation of over 7 million people

A n Oceanian country that occupies eastern part of Island of New Guinea north of Australia

P ort Moresby is the capital

U ndiscovered plants and animals are thought to be in the vast rain forests in the country

A nthem: O Arise, All You Sons


N ational Flag was adopted in 1971 and features a bird of paradise and the southern cross

E ight hundred forty-eight languages are spoken in this small country making it very diverse

W ish for traditional villages and communities to remain as viable units of society


G ermany ruled northern part of the country from 1884 – 1905

U nity in Diversity is the national motto

I ndependence from Australia granted on September 16, 1975

N ew Guinea was coined by Spanish explorer Ynigo Ortiz de Retez…Papua origin is unknown

E xtremely rugged terrain makes some of the country accessible only by foot or airplane

A ustralia ruled country for 70 years, until independence in 1975

I appreciate Dayan’s spirit of adventure and his willingness to have fun learning new things! I look forward to reading what he discovers about Niger. And, I love the way his room reflects who he is and his interests. It’s a young man’s room, not a boy’s any longer. All too soon, he will be leaving for college. I have no doubts though that we will continue to journey together through many more adventures!

Where in the World Papua New Guinea  Where in the World Papua New Guinea flag