Friday, October 10, 2008

The Good [Neighborhood] Stuff: Grow Where You're Planted

Say you live in China.  Then, say your grown son and wife get accepted to highly competitive programs at Yale in New Haven, Connecticut, where they will move, along with their baby (whom you dote on ceaselessly).  Then, say, you and your spouse move with them, and agree to care for this grandbaby, while mom and dad go to school, and you all move into a two-bedroom apartment.  Then, say, you are alone in this strange land, where you do not speak a smidgen of English, have no interest in the foodstuffs sold at your local Stop and Shop, and have no car.  What would YOU do?

Well, this is a very common scenario; in our neighborhood, there are probably 75 families that share this circumstance, and seem to thrive very, very well. From all I can tell, the Asian grandparent community just grows where they are planted.  Literally.  

A group of Chinese grandparents took land that looked like this:

[this actually looks pretty nice, but it's just random grass and weeds]

And turned it into this:

A beautiful garden, brimming with peppers, tomatoes, cauliflower, lettuce, and, well, a lot of Chinese plants that they can't find here.  There is so much ingenuity in the garden maintenance: no wheelbarrows?  Fine, just use a baby stroller!  Ran out of buckets?  Just use a food cooler.   As I've watched our Chinese neighbors over the years, I've noticed how resourceful they are, making use of everything they have and I really admire that.  

If we ever leave New Haven, I'll miss this tight-knit Chinese community.  Not that we really hang out, but they remind me of my own LDS friends--we all love families, we stick together, we are [more or less] quiet and responsible neighbors (although I think our neighbors below us have had it up to here with our bouncy balls).  And, when I'm strolling Pete around, I probably pass five or six grandparents with their babies, and we both give a knowing smile to each other that says "Your baby is beautiful.  And isn't mine, too?"  


Stephen and Rachel said...

I just wanted to say that I absolutely love this blog of yours. I read every post and it always just leaves me feeling so good and inspired. I think you have achieved what you were seeking.

Kristy said...

Paul and I often talked about how beautiful this garden was. I think it kind of inspired our bean poles made from twine and sticks this year.