Thursday, December 9, 2010

Love My Neighbor? Check!

We're pretty isolated out here. Of course this is largely by choice, because I'm bad at making friends and very bad at making friends that don't speak my language or understand my culture. (Because I don't really try. Awful, I know.)

A couple of months ago we got word that a new American family was moving into our branch. The family itself wasn't actually new, but the fact of their being in Poland was. Happy news for sure, but even happier was finding out that they were moving closer to us than to Kraków!

I was super excited. Imagine having Americans close enough that we could actually visit each other!! I tried not to get too excited because, really, what if we totally hated each other? No, I didn't actually think that except, only sort of.

See, he's a volleyball player. He came here to play for the team in Rzeszów, one hour away from Mielec. And he played on the US team in the 2008 Olympics and won the gold. Awesome, huh? Super awesome. Except. . .

Greg and I are the least athletic people I know. I mean, Greg walks Nordically and I occasionally spend 7 minutes doing leg lifts and push-ups, but as far as sports? Um, no. We're much more the not-playing-watching-following-or-thinking-about-sports type. So I felt a little worried.

What if they came over and only ever wanted to talk about exercise and physical coordination? What if they only liked to play games that involved a ball? What if they only ever ate volleyball-performance-enhancing foods which I knew nothing about how to cook!?! THIS COULD BE AWFUL!!!

We hadn't met them even once when we invited them to our house for a Halloween party. He had a game that day so we watched it live on TV and then they came over. There was pizza. There were no games involving sports. There was just us (and hardly any decorations).

They were very, very nice. They ate pizza. She brought cookies. They talked about things like what it's like living in Poland, the church, motherhood. Regular things. And, when we asked, they told us a little about their life traveling for Ryan's volleyball career. And I understood and enjoyed every word (none of the technical how-to-play-volleyball talk I had feared) . And I also have no idea if you call it a career or what.

As a matter of fact, we had such a nice time talking that we didn't even do most of the non-sporty Halloween games we had planned for the kids. It was great. Their darling son, Max made my night when, after they had been here for maybe 15 minutes and we were eating pizza, he proclaimed, "This is the BEST HALLOWEEN PARTY EVER!!!" Yes, I realize that this is a four year-old (that probably can't even remember any other Halloweens) and that we had not yet actually started the party, but he was still my new best friend.

Then we had Thanksgiving together. Again, very nice. Our Aaron and their Max were robots. They were the kind of robots that tear apart playrooms, but then put them back together. Robot Max again had the quote of the night when he had finished his mint chocolate pie (another recipe from Chocolate Never Faileth!) and his dad asked, "Hey Max! What are you doing!?!" To which Max replied, "I'm just licking my plate." Sounds like a good Thanksgiving activity to me, even if his dad insisted he wasn't a dog. :)

Up next: a Feliz Navidad party at their place. Awesome. I'm so grateful these guys ended up here. It is so great to have people to spend the holidays with (not "the holidays" as in the holiday season but "the holidays" as in literally each holiday. :) and to get to know in general. We are loving it.
P.S. I exaggerated some of this post, but just the part about my fears, not the part about the gold medal. :)


L.T. Elliot said...

What a happy post to usher in some happier holidays! So, so happy for you, Lis. Merry Christmas to you and your friends! Have a wonderful season! *hugs*

Kimberly said...

That's fabulous Lisa, I'm so glad for you! And for them, because seriously, how lucky are they to be able to get to know YOU!

Steph @ Diapers and Divinity said...

I'm so glad you found some comfortable friends. It can make all the difference.

AndyPandyJackaDandy said...

That is so great for you! Hurray! I know what that is like. It was a sad day when my Canadian friend moved away from us in India. It is just so nice to have at least one someone who really gets where you're coming from. Yay for you! And yay for 4-year-olds!

Nathan said...

Good for you! Good for Rzeszow! And yes, good for Ryan and his family! That's a win-win-win situation.

MelancholySmile said...

After spending my teenage years in a tiny branch up in the mountains, I totally understand what it's like to have high hopes when anyone new moves in. I'm SO glad they turned out to be nice!

And personally, I can't even imagine having to make friends while speaking a foreign language. I'm bad enough at all of that when everyone around me speaks English!

I've got to buy that chocolate book. YUM.

Lara said...

This is wonderful! Friends make sucha huge difference in our lives, and I can't imagine how much more magnified that is when you are in a foreign country. I felt very excited for you as I read this post.

Melanie Jacobson said...

Hooray for friends!

Alison Wonderland said...

You love them and I love you. (I especially love your admitting all your neurotic fears.)

Barbaloot said...

Sounds so logical from Max: "I'm just licking my plate!" And why not:)

Hooray for new friends! I'm happy for you guys.

Susan said...

Well, since it couldn't be us, I'm sure glad it's them. Super glad to hear this, even if it's the first time I heard of it! (ahem!!)

charrette said...

I'm so glad you guys found buddies to enjoy over there.

Also, I bought Chocolate Never Faileth for my sister for Christmas...because I have a rule not to buy anything for myself in December, and I fully believe she'll bake something for me!

Also, I have a book wrapped for your mom and i know she works in the HB Lee library (any relation?) and her last name is Lee (I think?) but I'm not sure that's enough delivery info for my hubby. Please supply.

And finally -- No. Jeff and I are the most unathletic people I know or have ever met, bar none. We don't even watch sports on tv. So someday we'll have to have it out with you two and find out who get the reigning title!

(I'm pretty sure this is the most random and disjointed comment I have ever left!)


Kazzy said...

I am so glad you have made that connection! That makes me happy.

I hope it is the beginning to a long-lasting and important friendship.

Erin said...

That is so great that you have made some friends there. Have they talked about volleyball ever with you? Have you found things in common, and you can truly call them your friends? I'm so happy for you.