My current neighbors have been here (as in next door) for about 4 months. They moved here from Bombay about 8 months ago and lived with family for a couple months and now they grace me with their presence. They are a beautiful family with wonderful openness and hospitality. The husband has studied religion a lot and we have had a couple of good conversations. And while my youth Sunday school studied hinduism, he came in to speak, which was great. I met them their first or second day here and see them now and then. I am out more often than not, so we don't have the most regular interactions. But they really marked their presence in my mind one day when my parents came and were bringing in some furniture. i wasn't home yet and they were just bring stuff in. The husband stopped by to see if I was moving out or where I was. He was concerned that there were people in my apartment and I wasn't. He'll often check in if I have been out of town for a few days and they haven't seen me. He'll stop to make sure I am alive and well. It may seem silly, but for a single woman, it's nice to know someone checks in on me, and not just to make sure I'll be at a meeting!
He's also getting back into his own meditative and devotional practices and we talk about that. I've encouraged him to come to the church to pray in the chapel in the mornings after dropping off the kids. He brings me CDs burned with songs that have moved him (the first was Amazing Grace--which he had never heard before and fell in love with and played 60 times the first 2 days!) the second was a video that moved him that he found here. It's nice to share that part of his journey with him.
Where I can I offer "insider"information. Cultural norms or rules or other random things that come up. We've talked about how they can work their work schedules around childcare and the kids being home alone, they saw a tea kettle for the first time, =) and most recently the ins and outs of buying a car. They were excited to know that it's a lot like street bartering!
I'm grateful they are here. I'm grateful that they have offered so much hospitality, even as the "stranger in a strange land". I'm grateful for their smiles. And I'm grateful to know someone would notice if I didn't come out of my apartment for days on end, or if someone were making off with my furniture!