Here at Localhood, we’re all about being good neighbours to each other. Especially during these Covid times, it’s easier to feel isolated from one another. Today, we bring to you some stories from our Localhood volunteers to warm your hearts and perhaps inspire you to take that first step towards connecting with your neighbours!
Shobhana and the Old Chinese Lady
I moved to my new apartment on Diwali, one of the most important festivals in our calendar. So I made a kolam to celebrate the festival as well as the move. A kolam is an Indian art form where geometric, symmetric designs are drawn on the floor using either a rice paste or colored powders.
In Pic: The kolam that started it all
Early next morning, I was visited by the building manager about our kolam. My neighbour, a diminutive lady in her late seventies, was hiding behind her door and prompting the manager on what to tell us. I was thoroughly irritated, and wondered if we’ve ended up with the worst sort of neighbour, the constant complainer.
A few months later, it was Chinese New Year and my husband suggested that we go wish the neighbours. We decided to visit our other neighbours, an elderly couple first. Their home was overrun with children, grandchildren, friends and relatives, and full of noise and laughter. They were so happy to add to their celebrations and we had a nice chat with their sons, all of whom spoke English.
We then reluctantly made our way to the second neighbour’s house. The door was opened hesitantly by the old lady’s helper, with the lady hovering behind her. She seemed visibly surprised to see us. We just wanted to wish her, but were completely taken aback when she laughed excitedly! That’s when I realized that unlike our other neighbour’s house, there were no friends, no relatives, no noise, no food, and no celebrations happening in this household. It was just her and her helper.
She then went inside and came out with two lai sees for us. As if that wasn’t enough, she was at her door the next morning at 6.45am, when I usually go to drop my daughters to the bus stop, with lai sees for our kids too. I was beyond touched by her gesture and realized my error in judging her so harshly!
Sze Yeen and Geraldine
Geraldine was my neighbour for 2 years but I did not really get to know her until I moved out. We were on “Hi and Bye” basis each time we bumped into each other throwing out our garbage at night. Our relationship finally went up one step on the day I moved out. Seeing how busy we were moving our furniture and boxes, Geraldine kindly suggested we take a break inside her flat. She offered us tea in her dainty English cups and plates.
It was the first time I had crumpets and I loved it. We exchanged numbers but did not see each other until 5 years later. It was one of those days, when I was looking for distraction from work scrolling down my phone directory and was reminded of this kind ex-neighbour. We reconnected and Geraldine became very much a part of our family. For years, we would celebrate Christmas Eve and birthdays together. 3 years ago, Geraldine decided it was time for her to resettle back to the UK. We miss her and hope to see her again soon!
Image: Geraldine serving us her English afternoon tea of scones with clotted cream and jam
In Pic: Celebrating Geraldine’s birthday HK style on the Aqualuna
Ania and Laurent + Julie
My friendship with Laurent and Julie started at the playground, right downstairs from our building. Our daughters are almost the same age and they already knew each other from numerous playdates organised by aunties.
We started talking and we discovered we have much more in common than an energetic 3-year old at home😊 You know this feeling when you meet someone and from the very beginning you feel so comfortable around them, so at ease and natural? It was like this with Laurent and Julie.
Plus, we are both in the same situation - our families and “old friends” live far away so it is great to have someone here,
in Hong Kong, that you can hang out with, open up and share your joys and your problems. They have great sense of humour; I always laugh so hard when we meet. The cool thing is that our daughters play together so well so we can leave them be and dive into our “adult” conversations.
They are very kind, genuine people and I am so glad we had a chance to meet them.
In Pic Our energetic 3 year olds