I think the neighbors are getting used to us…

Santa brought us nice neighbors for Christmas!

Two nights in a row, our German neighbors have lent us a helping hand.  On the night of the 23rd, our landlord/landlady dropped by with a bottle of wine for us as a Christmas present.  Normally, when someone rings our doorbell, I put the dogs in the downstairs half of our house.  Our house was intended to be two apartments, so it’s easy to keep one part closed off.  I answer the door and the dogs are kept out of the way.  Unfortunately, Bill neglected to secure our hounds, Zane and Arran, before he opened the door and they both got out.

I had already dressed for bed because I had taken a shower and figured I wasn’t going anywhere, nor was I expecting anyone.  But when Bill yelled at me that the dogs were on the loose, I got dressed again and went out to help catch Zane.  Arran, thank heavens, is very easy to corral.  Zane never goes far when he gets loose.  He always stays within our sight.  Getting loose is a game for him and he has a great time making us chase him.  Like most hounds, he has selective hearing and a mind of his own.  Sadly, he doesn’t realize that getting out of the house on his own could result in his death.

Zane ended up running to a neighbor’s yard, which has sort of a natural fence around it made of low shrubs. As we were trying to catch Zane, a different neighbor pulled up and helped us corral him.  She was a huge help!  Instead of us having to chase Zane for 45 minutes in the dark, it only took about 20 minutes to get him, thanks to our kind neighbor.  She introduced herself and pointed to where she lives.

Then last night, as we were eating dinner, the doorbell rang again.  This time, Bill closed the door to the downstairs so our dogs couldn’t escape.  It was another neighbor– this time, a man who lives down the street.  He introduced himself and alerted Bill to the inside light of our SUV.  It was still lit and he didn’t want us to have a dead battery!

Now… this may seem like common courtesy to a lot of people, but I’m here to tell you that when we lived in Texas, our neighbors weren’t nearly as nice to us.  When Zane got out of our yard on my birthday, I asked a neighbor who happened to be within reaching distance of Zane’s collar if he wouldn’t mind grabbing him so we could take him home.  That guy totally ignored me.  Fortunately, we were able to corral Zane because there was a tall fence there.  Zane got out because the pool guy came early that morning and forgot to shut the gate behind him.  It was lucky that I got suspicious so soon after I let him into the yard.  He might have easily been killed or gotten lost.

Another time in Texas, a neighbor came over to tell me that the garage door was up.  I was glad she did that, since I was alone in the house and it turned out that neighborhood wasn’t very safe (as evidenced by the blood spatter on our driveway by the lockbox while the house was being advertised for rent).  But that was the one time anyone showed much consideration.  Most of the time, they rang the bell to try to sell us something or proselytize.  Oh, and one guy tried to butter up Bill so we’d let his kid use the pool in the backyard.

When we lived in Germany last time, it took a lot longer before our neighbors got used to us.  We lived in a town near Tuebingen, so very few Americans were in that area.  I think we were the only ones who had ever lived in that village and, according to my former German neighbor, it wasn’t a particularly friendly neighborhood to start with, although I did very much enjoy living there.  It was months before anyone spoke to us, though they did watch us a lot through their windows.  We also got ding dong ditched quite often by local hoodlums.  We finally had to disconnect the doorbell.

Anyway, while I know we’ll always be Auslanders in these parts, it’s good to know we have nice neighbors.  I much prefer where we live now to where we were living a year ago.  And the couple that owns our home is so nice.  I never had an American landlord who brought me wine!

An added bonus… insane sunsets and sunrises easily viewed from our upstairs windows…


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