Saturday, February 21, 2009

Wann ist Ihr Geburtstag?


We have 'that' neighbor.

No, not this one.

The other one, the good kind.

Meet Annaliese

Annaliese lives two doors down and could possibly be the kindest woman I know.
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She is the neighbor that sweeps the street in front of her house. She is the neighbor that brings in the garbage cans for all the neighbors in a two house radius. She is the neighbor that clips coupons and gives them to us. She is the neighbor that slides German chocolate bars in my pocket for the boys. She has a beautiful English garden in her backyard so that she can make arrangements for her church friends that are ill. She is the neighbor that is just going for a walk and comes back with a bag of candy to share. She still goes skiing and sailing. She has the 'special' candy on Halloween for the 'special' trick or treaters - you know, the HUGE bars of German chocolate. And I have now learned, that she is the neighbor that leaves the Easter basket INSIDE my house without being heard or seen (and we were at home, eating brunch). She is the giver of Christmas presents hanging on our door (we must have been away and had the door locked). And if you asked, or looked like you needed it, she would give you the shirt off her back and then go inside for a coat and pants to match. She always ends our conversations with "You are so nice, the boys are lovely, and have a nice evening, nice talking with you."
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The only difficulty I have with Annaliese is understanding her over her thick German accent. I am learning, though. I have to look at her mouth to be fully engaged. There is no guessing with her and nodding my head doesn't always work. Her questions don't have the same reflection that a native English language speaker would have.
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As difficult as it is for me, my boys have no clue. She talks they look at her with blank faces wondering when she will stop speaking Jivanese and let them tell their story of the crash or which car won the race.
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Sam said to me the other day, "I like her, I just don't understand what she is saying." I agreed with him and suggested he smile and nod.
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Today, it was somewhat sunny so we played outside and stopped to visit with Annaliese. I told her the story about my conversation with Sam as he gave her the blank stare as he rode by on his scooter. She found it funny and agreed. We joked that perhaps she should speak in full German and see what happens.
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Sam stopped the scooter and told us both, "When I turn 16, I am going to change my name to Wall-E".
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"Oh, is your Birthday on Monday?" Annaliese asked (perhaps neither party understands 100%).
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"Yes, I'm going to change my name when I am 16" Sam restated.
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"Vhat?"
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"Wall-E, the robot from Disney Pixar Films." Loosing interest, Sam strained to get her to understand.
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The conversation was flat as a toad on a well traveled highway. Until...
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"Wann ist Ihr Geburtstag? "
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"June 26th."

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