Monday, December 29, 2008

sweet eve

I'd been looking forward to Christmas at home for a long while... excited to see my brother once again, and for the first time ever hosting christmas eve (and day) dinner for my family at our house up on the mountain. Our place is so cozy to me that it makes me happy to share and give a lot of love to our visitors who make the trek to come and see us here. Charles and I planned and were ready to cook up a big Thai food dinner for Christmas Eve dinner, and then a traditional turkey dinner for Christmas Day, with a big brunch in between.

We were also expecting over 2 feet of snow outside our door. This is normal on the mountain and we're ready for it, and the university we live at is pretty efficient at clearing our roads. But then the rest of the Vancouver area received all of that snow too, which is a little out of the ordinary. Vancouver people just aren't prepared for so much snow!

All of our family and guests called and cancelled our invitation to christmas eve dinner. I was heartbroken..and frustrated to think what we would do with all of our wonderful food! Then there came a knock on our door, our neighbours Susanna and Marie had come to borrow a shovel and, oh, what were they doing tonight?

sweet eve by you.

And so our wonderful neighbours saved Christmas. Susanna and Sebastian brought eggnog and wine. Marie brought chocolate. Mike and Malgosia brought hot apple cider (and their beautiful new little baby girl Leelu!). And Howard and Kevin brought rice and a dozen other little things I ran out of and can't be simply bought when you live on top of a mountain. We spent the evening all together, laughing and eating and sharing all of our stories together. And it became the most sweetest christmas eve that I have ever had.

sweet eve by you.

I've never really experienced this before, this affinity and closeness with neighbours, and I still am a little suprised by it. Sadly, I think that it is rare these days. It may be strange to some, but I love these people! We are all from different worlds, only brought together by geography and the desire to create a warm and cozy neighbourhood which we can all live in and share. In this unaffordable city which is Vancouver we ended up on this mountain, and unexpectedly I have found my home, in the warmest, most happiest sense of the word. 

It is my truest hope that I do not come across as self-applauding in writing here in this place. Please, not at all and if so please do tell me. 

But If you happen to still be reading my gush, consider doing something kind for a neighbour or two sometime soon. Perhaps nothing may come of it, but just maybe you may find a little bit of this happiness as I have found. For I truly, truly wish for joy and love upon you all.

and, Merry Merry Christmas!

17 comments:

Melissa of {craftgasm} said...

What a sweet story! I wish my crazy neighbors didn't scream at me (with rake in hand, on my front steps, no less) or have the cops over so often (for large public brawls on the sidewalk in front of our houses) so that I might be able to attempt my own happy neighbor exchange. :)

Luckily, in my neighborhood, so many friends live close by that while they aren't next door, they are only a ten minute walk away at most.

I'm glad your Christmas was so joyous!

shanon said...

What a wonderful story. I would feel as excited as you, and would want to share the experience. It is not commonplace, I agree. So your encouragement at the end is a very nice idea.

Carlene said...

Merry Christmas to you, too! Please don't feel like you're bragging in any way, you just sound happy, and what could be wrong with that? Your evening with neighbors/friends sounds just perfect.

OpaqueSkies said...

Thanks for sharing. I like to hear stories like this. This was definitely how my years growing up were, but they are less so now. Busy, busy we are. I had a nice time with family over the holiday and remembrance of hope entering the world, but community beyond family really is so important.

What a beautiful memory.

TrippleJN said...

This story is so heartwarming...I love it. My heart sank as you described your family canceling and it raised right back up and higher when the neighbors showed up! I am so glad things worked out well for you!

This season, we received a knock on our (very broken...not soon to be fixed) front door. It was our "art neighbors" from across the street. We call them that because he's an art professor and they have a wonderful eye for gardening. They have remained a bit of a mystery to many of our neighbors, but we've long felt a secret connection to them through shared interests. I was truly surprised when he said they were inviting us to a holiday party that following Sunday. They have never done anything like this before, and until now, have been very quiet...we just started waving on a regular basis a few years ago. I think all of us were thrilled at the opportunity to socialize with them and see their unique home. I absolutely felt special being invited, in a time when my own family ties are becoming very strained. I don't think they have the faintest idea how much I needed that, or how much their amazing home inspired and energized me. I will have to say so in my thank you note, if I can do it without sounding strange or scary!

Here's to neighborhood hospitality. I absolutely agree that good neighbors can make your life wonderful.

adalex72 said...

Your home sounds everything I wish for. Where I live everyone tends to isolate themselves from their neighbours, but your right, I will make the first step to reach out.

Di said...

What a great evening! Having just read a post by someone wanting to be more spontaneous in their live and coming here to discover the joy of a spontaneous gathering and friendships forged......

Marina said...

Oh, isn't it just what family should be? and doesn't it teach us that we can really find family where we least expect it? Perhaps we just should be ready and open to it. It is very hard in the city, and your neighbours where probably also drawn together by this common choice of being on the mountain, but I feel that we all have that desire for communion and tribe deep in our hearts, and it is very good to be reminded - thank you so much and wish you all the best for the New Year!

Gül said...

I think that your neighbours are lucky to have your sweet family around :o)

Have a wonderful New Year!

Highoncraft said...

What a beautiful and heartwarming Christmas memory. I loved the way you told the story and you didn't come across as any of those things that you mentioned. You came across as grateful and humble and your neighbours are lucky to have found their way into your home and your heart.

Happy New Year.

Sophia Sunshine said...

This is such a great story and I'm so glad you shared it. Friends of ours had a similar experience this Christmas and it made me soooo jealous. Not that we didn't have our own fun, but the "community" thing is something that seems so hard to cultivate these days and it makes me appreciate the friends I have gained in small towns across BC. We were able to do these kinds of things because of geography. It's not so easy in the big city but it can happen and I'm glad we get big weather events to show us what we're missing.

Have a great New Year and congratulations on hosting your first Christmas Eve dinner!

christy said...

b e a u t i f u l ! thank you for sharing that wonderful and heartwarming story.

the dipe squad said...

Always feel encouraged to share joy when and where you find it! Finding that joy with one's neighbors is a (sadly) rare gift these days. I grew up on military bases, where people are typically awesome neighbors because everyone moves a lot and knows how nice it is to make friends with those close by. Adjusting to the civilian life where none of the neighbors know each other and don't care to has been sad. I long to find what you have found! Congratulations and happy new year!

Kate said...

Thank you for this story. I've always wanted to live away from home, so that we could make new friends and have nights just like that! Happy New Year!

eM said...

we once had some very grumpy neighbors, so I believe this is very true!
how nice to have neighbors who saved christmas

Val said...

Sharilyn, hello and pleased to meet you! I found these pictures on flickr last week, I think, and had to do a search for "Christmas Eve and neighbors" or some-such to find you and this blog-post again. It's just such a sweet blog entry and such a clear reminder of what the holiday--and what home--can be about, and I was so touched by it. You and your neighbors are lucky to have each other and these memories. Thank you for sharing your Christmas Eve with us, and best wishes for 2009!

Sriyana said...

This beautiful holiday post of yours was inspiring and heartwarming ...thanks!