In my life I've always felt it was important to take what people say about others with a grain of salt, meaning “the phrase comes from Pliny the Elder's Naturalis Historia, regarding the discovery of a recipe for an antidote to a poison. In the antidote, one of the ingredients was a grain of salt. Threats involving the poison were thus to be taken "with a grain of salt," and therefore less seriously.
An alternative account says that the Roman general Pompey believed he could make himself immune to poison by ingesting small amounts of various poisons, and he took this treatment with a grain of salt to help him swallow the poison. In this version, the salt is not the antidote. It was taken merely to assist in swallowing the poison.” Wikipedia.
When I moved to The Netherlands, I was told “Don’t expect to ever see your neighbors or get to know them, they just don’t do that.” Well, if I had listened to that I would have never had the wonderful opportunity to meet and get to know some fabulous women. It’s not in my personality to not get to know others. I truly enjoy meeting new people and discovering their joy in life.
My neighbors not only welcomed me into their little community, they include me in neighborhood gatherings. I wave to them when I see them and they wave back. And when we see each other at the market we greet each other with a kiss (three… right, left, right). A beautiful greeting of friends.
Twice a year, the ladies of my neighborhood have a gourmet dinner fully prepared and served by ourselves. Yes, I’m including myself as I’m part of this group. At my first time to dinner, I was timid and apprehensive as I didn't speak Dutch, but my lovely neighbors included me and spoke English to me.
The recipes are always in Dutch, but whoever is my partner always laughs with me as we work our way through making our portion of the dinner.
It’s so beautiful to see all of us in our aprons working together to create not only a special meal but a special evening.
The evening starts around 6:00PM or 18:00 and lasts well into the evening, usually around midnight. The meal we prepare is not only delicious but beautifully presented as well.
As my neighbors float effortlessly between Dutch and English laughing and smiling, I can’t help but smile and enjoy this lovely time in my life.
Just yesterday, I had stopped my car to chat with one of my neighbors. She was out sweeping leaves. I was asking when to put my leaves in the street. We laughed and chatted about other things, our smiles warming the chill in the air. As I began to drive away, she shouted “I love you!” and I shouted back “I love you too!” And I meant it. These women are not only beautiful on the outside; they are beautiful on the inside. I’m truly blessed to have such wonderful neighbors and friends. It makes being away from my family and friends from home so much easier. I’m so grateful to these women for making my stay here in The Netherlands feel like home.