Well, if you do, have you said “Hello”?
There are many reasons to do so.
They will most probably be foreigners, not locals.
With an, even more, higher likelihood to be from downunder.
As in New Zealand or Australia.
People with a yearning to travel, at a slow pace.
To experience a village, a town, the countryside, like a local.
So, like us, they will find chatting about life in the Northern Hemisphere and numerous other “things” quite fascinating. Honestly, we travellers are genuinely really interested in knowing local information from other people as well as from the folk who live in the house we are housesitting.
Go on strike up a conversation, with that couple who are walking a dog/s that you know. Or a face that you don’t recognise that you have seen on more than one occasion you have seen out and about in your community.
Having a chat. It’s an excellent way for visitors to learn more about your culture.
We have been fortunate to have had some marvellous experiences within local communities along our journey as Global Housesitters. You can never have enough engaging conversations or the opportunity to make new friends.
If the answer is yes to having someone new next door.
Here are a few neighbourly things that you could do:
- Having a coffee morning with other neighbours, ask them along. Sometimes the act of being asked is all that is needed to feel welcome. When you are a visitor in a new community.
- They may be able to bake some scones to show you how it is done from another country. Or even something more exotic like Chocolate Afghans or Anzac Biscuits.
- Do you belong to a cycling group? Ask them along if you have found that they are into cycling.
- Need a helping hand for a moment, and no one is about? Most people who housesit are a very approachable bunch. From many various backgrounds. With quite a few skills under their belt.
- Do you have a particular interest in some historical house that may interest newcomers to your neck of the woods? Let them know. Drop off a pamphlet.
- If you don’t have the time for idle chit-chat, then a friendly smile and wave can do wonders for everyone’s day.
- Have you seen them walking your neighbour’s dogs? Introduce yourself you could have more in common than you think.
- Want to learn more about a different culture? If you see them in the pub, have a chat over a pint.
- Invite them over for a meal and ask to bring a dessert or perhaps something else.
- Have a local fete, market, school fair? Go on over and let them know. They may even help out if they have the time or are going to be around.
- Get them involved in your latest tree planting. Tree huggers come in all ages and sizes.
- Small local events are not always advertised to visitors, let them know about it.
- Know of a great cafe or pub, tell them about it.
- Share local knowledge, as in the good and bad of a town. E.g. Parking is terrible, leave the car behind, or at a destinated area.
- If time is an issue, just smile, say hello or wave.
As I was thinking through this subject of getting to know your neighbour, while out walking the dog’s, as you do on a sunny afternoon. It dawned on me, like a bright light on a dark, foggy night, what can I say I was tired that day.
That the issue of “Who is next door?”, really is not just about having housesitters next door it is a very generic concept of getting back to that way of life where community bonds were once very active. Where getting to know who was around, you were a thing to do. Most of us grew up knowing the neighbours, some more preferable for chats than others. The kettle was always available with a cheery voice yelling out;
“Want a cuppa, the kettle is on, come on over.”
Yes, there is no doubt many active communities out there, though I would hazard a guess that they are in the minority. The kettle replaced by a sausage between a couple of chunks of bread and a cold beer.
Community spirit can still be vibrant even when our societies are more mobile, that modern twist can make a community even more enjoyable. Though some people make friends far easier than others, some need more prompting, and some are more chatty.
Each connection, each stitch starts to be connected into a tight weave in this small world we live in. The more I travel, the more I realise we are indeed interconnected on so many different levels. Most of us are unaware of those connections. No matter how far we live away from each other, we can still be quietly sewn together.
Do you know who your neighbours are?