I can say about myself that I am pretty much a VAGABOND naturally. I was born in Southeast Asia then moved to Pakistan and after that, I became the wanderer, shifting from one city to another of Pakistan, once for my medical school and then after marriage. Then finally settled in the UK in 2014.
But as I said before I am a forced traveller by nature. I have changed three houses in the UK to date. It looks like I have restless feet. But my house shifting was much different from my past experiences.
When I first moved to a small flat in hospital accommodation, my husband worked as a doctor there. The accommodation incharge visited me herself, welcomed me in my new country and asked to feel free for anything I need, either it’s assistance or any kind of guidance. I stayed in that flat for two years and then we moved to a house in front of that flat. I was amazed by the way they helped me out again in shifting and sorting out things. I was expecting a baby at that time as well.
I was thankful to them and startled at the same time but, it thought that they are helping me just because I was pregnant?
Then a year later we moved out of hospital accommodation, to the nearby town for the sake of my son’s schooling. It was a small town where most of the population was native English. We were the only South Asian here, or should I say people of colour. I moved into my new house with my family and luggage. We started to sort out things, the doorbell rang and an old man was standing at my door. He said that he was our front door neighbour and lived with his wife and two dogs. He must be 70 years plus in age. He was very welcoming and friendly and asked me if we needed any helping hand? I was astonished that an old stranger was offering me help. I thanked him for the offer and told him that we would call him if we ever needed it.
We started to set the house and unpack. The same evening again the doorbell rang, and there was a young man at the door and he said in a delightful way welcome neighbour he lived next door and we shared our wall with his house. I thought as we were very loud so he may have come to ask us to be quiet. Here kids go to beds quite early in the evening, unlike our kids. But instead, he said that he and his wife were free now as their kids were in bed and they were here to help us in setting up the house. I was so delighted with his offer but I told them that we were almost done for the day. The rest of the stuff we would do tomorrow, I told them if we needed anything we would tell them.
Next morning the old man from the front door brought us a freshly baked bread that he made by himself. He told us that he worked from home and made bread for bakeries. He also brought grapes from his garden. Our next-door neighbour came again in the evening and told us that he is going to cut the unwanted hedges from our back garden so that my kids can play safely. It was astounding that these strangers whom we didn’t know and were from different races, religion and cultural backgrounds are so welcoming and helpful.
Next day my same neighbour told us that he had called somebody to check our combine guttering system to have a look. I sent my son to his house and asked him the charges for the work. He told my son that it was a little amount and he had paid already so no need to worry about that.
Now that I am here for two and a half years, we all live like a family. Especially in the lockdown and COVID virus period, we all neighbours supported each other emotionally like a family. We were asked if we needed any supplies, masks, gloves or any food materials when there was a temporary shortage.
Every Thursday at 8 pm all neighbourhoods cherished and appreciated NHS (National health service) staff by ringing bells and clapping. It is only my husband who is Doctor here in our street and there lives one nurse as well. I am so happy, safe, contended here that I wish that my wandering journey should stop here in the UK. Whenever I pass by any cemetery, I always imagine my resting place there. Long live the UK.
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- The Friendly Neighbours - 17/09/2020