Our neighbours packed up their min-van, complete with 5 cats, and drove off for Calgary today. I’ll leave it to you to imagine the complexities of driving across country (3000 KM!) in a van packed to the gills with people and cats.
We met our neighbours a few days after we took possession of our condo. I remember when Juan came over to introduce himself and chat: I was here by myself, trying to get the condo ready for repainting and moving in while Kristen was at home with teeny weeny 6 month old Max. It was a hectic and frazzled time for me, and it was very nice to know I had a friendly neighbour beside my new home.
The next few years flew by, and I regret that I didn’t spend more time with Juan and his family. Somehow, I never managed to make the time to sit outside on the back porch with him and enjoy our neighbourhood together. Of course, when he spent a year working in Toronto, and then went out west to look for work, it made leisurely socializing a little difficult. I remember how happy he was to see all of us when we ran into him at the Colombian Independence celebration-he was so impressed that we were there (there were very few non-Colombians at the festival), that he ran off and brought us a fresh plate of paella from one of his friends. The gift of paella was a warm-hearted, if strange, gesture of friendship.
It was sad to watch them drive off and leave our lives for good. I hope that their wild trip across the country is safe and relatively uneventful, and I wish them a warm and friendly new start in Alberta. Open your arms up Calgary, and give ’em a big hug for me.