I think it's pretty obvious by now how much I despise the never-ending German winter. Today has been (predictably) gloomy, rainy, and cold but not without its bright spot.
Our sidewalk is extremely long because we live on the corner. I know this is ridiculous but it typically takes me over an hour to shovel it. It's probably because I'm not accustomed to shoveling (ah, Florida) and also due to my need to make our sidewalk as pristine as the neighbors'. I don't sweep it during the warm months like a good German hausfrau so this is my penance.
Our neighbors on one side are elderly. They are usually sticklers for their sidewalk-shoveling duties but a couple times this winter I've had mine finished before they had a chance to get to theirs. By the time I reach their portion, it seems extremely tiny compared to what I've already done. If theirs hasn't been shoveled, I will usually do it for them and I consider it a boost to my calorie-burning and a good deed for my karma jar.
I think (hope) the snow might be finished this winter. Last week was the last time I had to shovel and I took care of their sidewalk twice.
Just now, my doorbell trilled and I looked out to see an elderly gentleman holding a bouquet of tulips. I didn't immediately recognize him but when I opened the door he smiled and said, "Hello, I am your neighbor. These are for you because you have shoveled our sidewalk and we thank you very much." I didn't even know they knew it was me.
I freely admit I almost teared up!
Sometimes it's hard living here, especially when you're trying to find a place within your tiny village, and acceptance among your German neighbors. I'm so grateful he came over because it made me feel like I'm part of a community. Now I don't need to feel shy anymore when I see him and his wife taking their daily strolls.
I think a bridge has been crossed-- a bridge lined with tulips.
Okay, Germany, I love you again.