Monday, July 07, 2008


Talking about freedom . . . freedom to express yourself is big around here.

I just got new neighbors. The family that had lived next door, in the same house for 35 years or more, put their house up for sale. The kids are grown, with grown children of their own. The husband died some years ago, and the wife, much older now, had moved to Alaska. So while she was back for a few months to clear things out, they called a realtor. The next day a few folks came over to look at it and within moments it was sold. As is. So the price was right I guess.

The new owners, a young couple who just moved here a couple of months ago from China, were going to do some updating. So after a month or so of workers in and out, carpets removed, floors redone, simple stuff fixed up, they moved in.

A week ago, they painted the outside. It's purple. Wild, purple. Yes, a bit unusual and probably not a "normal" house color in China. But they are here now, and that was their dream. Free to be.

That little fence top is mine, so you can see how close they are to the side of me. Hee. It makes me smile, it makes me laugh. The day they did this (it was a quick job - primer and all in 3 hours) the painter guy was talking to me over the fence and I asked him the color. He said purple but he was smiling really big and I thought he was joking around. They had primered most of it when I left for the post office. It was only about 20 minutes later when I arrived home and saw the purple from the corner. I started to belly laugh so hard I could hardly contain myself. Had to wheeze for awhile in the car before I could even walk to the door.

Anyway, it's done. I actually started to love it a little right away. I know it's odd. And after the traffic-cone orange house on the other side, plus my bright green and blue little number - this must be the most crayola corner in the whole city. It's a dark enough purple that it's sorta almost blue. It really compliments my front garden of lots of blue and purple flowers too. Some people have said it's awful or jarring and strange to paint the exterior that color. But I have to applaud the bold choice to do exactly what you want - especially in a strange new country, new neighborhood, new culture. I honestly think it would have been a risk back home too - cuz the pictures I've seen of China didn't have a lot of super colorful houses dotting the landscape either, not like India or the Caribbean. So cool.

I saw the gal a few days later and told her I thought it was cute. She doesn't like it. Oops. Turns out she's the other wife, the younger one. There are actually 2 brothers living there and she's the single wife of the younger one. She speaks quite nice english and we've talked several times, very friendly. But the other brother has a wife and 2 girls in grade school who also moved in. They picked the color, and she thought it was too bright and too colorful. She'll get used to it after a while - especially when the grey clouds return and it rains for months on end. Maybe then she will be happy when she's sees the bright color of her front door. I know I will be.