Monday, December 29, 2014
My Christmas Day, after the opening of extremely generous gifts from everyone,in particular our son and his new wife Elaine, was pushed to another level. Nick and Elaine have only been in this house about two months. They haven't met their neighbours yet as they are busy working and getting on with their lives. I have been working in the tiny garden and have more time to wave and smile at neighbours. I had eyed a few empty plant pots outside the neighbour's house and a few days before Christmas I chatted to the daughter of the neighbour and was brave enough to ask if I could have the pots for the plants I needed to plant. Of course she agreed! Petra also told me she is a baker. On Christmas Morning the bell at the front gate rang and when I opened it, the "Aunty" from next door arrived dressed in her Muslim garb carrying a box of cookies. She handed them over and wished us all a Merry Christmas! Now THAT is the spirit of Christmas we all need to have. Spreading the cheer regardless of colour, race and creed! Gosh, that kind gesture just made me feel so good about life, so hopeful for the future.
In the same vein, we take the little dog for a walk several times a day and a few days ago Joshua(6) was with us and a bunch of children were playing in our street. Joshua looked longingly at them and Grandad asked the "gang" if Joshua could join in. These are scruffy street wise kids who run freely, crossing the road without fear, go to the local park without any supervision and just play. Our boy has someone with him all the time, has lots of rules to follow! "wash your hands!" "look left and right and left again!" "don't pat strange dogs etc." but when it came to play, the ground was pretty even as he ran and laughed and peek a booed! Unfortunately Joshua developed a bad cough and everyone advised that he shouldn't run around so he was not able to join the Gang. A couple of days later the leader of the gang (10) delivered a whole lot of handwritten notes to Joshua, wishing him Merry Christmas and asking what he wanted for Christmas! All of these children are from Malaysian Muslim homes.
Our last interaction with the locals took place last night. The owner of the house next door rang the bell and invited us to his home for dinner. In South African terms it was a REAL Braai. Lovely lamb chops and chicken. Warren, Joshua and I felt we should make an appearance....what esteemed company we ended up in. The Father is a PHD in history and works at the University, the Mother is the top Obstretician in K.L. Their daughter met her husband while studying medicine in Ireland. His Mother is a chemical Engineer etc.etc. they are a conservative Muslim family, generous, welcoming, modest, hospitable and just amazing.
All of these interactions with the locals just enhances our love for this amazing country. As Nick has married into a Chinese Malay family we have had lots of interactions with Chinese friends and family. There is HOPE people, Hope and that is what I am going to carry in my heart for 2015. It is easy to get dragged down by newspaper and Television headlines, especially in S.A.