Moving Neighbours and Chocolate Tart with Pears
I am such a sentimental lady!
As I was rushing out o the house the other day, I passed by a neighbour of mine, whom I greeted fleetingly, while managing to ask him how he was. I was genuinely interested in how he was, but clearly did not have the time to really engage in conversation. So I pulled one of those American ” Hi, how are you?” stints, with the hope of hearing a “good” in response. This exchange typifies, I would say about 75 percent of our exchange. We always greet each other in passing, whether in front of the flat, or elsewhere when we run into each other and at times when we are both not running from A to B, then we would take part in a more detailed exchange.
Much to my surprise, I did not hear what I had expected.
But instead, he responded saying that he would be moving the next day to another part of Berlin. Yes, leaving his flat; leaving our house-the one we had shared since my first entry into Berlin!
This was the last thing I had expected, which really threw my mind of course. I was already rather late for an important appointment, and managed to quickly wish him the best of luck without really realising what he had said. And off I went.
It was not until I had returned later on that afternoon and passed by his flat, that it hit me. He was leaving the house. He would no longer be our neighbour.
There is nothing at all odd or out of the ordinary about this, but as I walked by his flat on that day and the day after, and each time since his move, I felt saddened. I really did!
We were not really friends per se, as had never met privately or hung out or anything, but this man had always somehow-on the periphery, been a part of my life in Berlin. We moved in and he was here. Whenever we had questions, he was always there and willing to assist us.
And then there were the packages. Yes, the countless packages which were delivered to his flat, because we were not there to take them. I was beginning to feel rather guilty about this one!
I went through a huge ordering phase-when I began ordering amazon books like crazy for my work, well and yes, for pleasure a well. I really think that packages were coming in every three days or so, and since I was out of the house most the time, the postman inevitably began ringing the door of my neighbour and depositing the books there. I had the feeling that I was constantly knocking on his door, asking for my packages. The best and most commendable thing to my mind, is that despite my feelings of intrusion or simply feeling badly about having to bother him (clearly my own problem), he always opened the door with a charming smile and handed me my packages. I was knocking on his door at all hours and he was never bothered by it-at least he never revealed it to me.
These may seem like little “nothings”, and so what? But these little things, these gestures amount to much. I was recently talking to some co-workers of mine, who spoke about their “neighbour” experiences. One lady told me that she had no idea who lived in her house, apart from the names she saw on the doorbell and postbox. She passes people every-so-often going up or down the stairs, but she never greets them and vice versa. I thought that this was really strange and she simply said that she was not interested in getting to know her neighbours. Fine, to each his own!
Another man mentioned that he was looking for another flat, due to the problem he was having with his neighbours. As I listened to him reveal his stories of horror, disrespect and downright rudeness, I began to think about all that I had in my house. I consider myself lucky. Each time I open the door to my house, walk up the stairs, and pass by the flats of my neighbours, I realised how lucky I am. I really like my neighbours. When we run into each other, we share kind words. At times, we stop to share stories, and in a way, we look out for each other-all of which combined makes my home a safe place, a pleasant one, simply comfortable-and that which a house should be, to my mind.
It is such an integral part of my Berlin experience and one that I shall not take for granted
I will actually miss my neighbour in a way. I am loosing a tiny piece of that which has always been a part of my Berliner experience. I wish him and his the best in his new flat.
A combination of factors had put me into such a solemn and constantly reflective mood by the end of the day. After dinner, I needed something chocolaty; something soothing and comforting to put my mind at ease-yet not too rich nor heavy; something to tenderly caress my senses. I chose to make a Tarte aux Chocolate with some left over pears, which were just about to reach the mature stage. And yes, it hit the spot and I slept wonderfully!
The morning after, my neighbour had already left. I wished that I could have shared this with him. Oh well! 🙁
Recipe to follow. Enjoy!