Last week I wrote about Trash talk and our Neighborhood Group… and this group theme has been on my mind.
Honestly, it’s been a new world since we started school a month ago, which has kinda shifted our local network and how we move within it.
For example, there’s a family that lives in our apartment, and they’re quiet folks. We saw them only in passing but we tried to be friendly toward them to open a door of communication.
Well, the door is now off the hinges, because we are both now part of our Neighborhood Group. We both have first grade girls this year… and though we could never get beyond much of a “hello” beforehand, now we see each other and small talk or discuss things in the morning while sending our kids off, and the kids often play together in the evening times in front of our building.
There’s a sense of acceptance of us, because now we’re bonded as part of the group.
This doesn’t have so much to do with us personally, I think it’s more to do with the fact that we all have to have a sense of harmony in the group.
But, nonetheless, it opens the door for actual friendship and community.
Next, let’s talk about what I’ll call the Orange Group. Our kids in our neighborhood area are subdivided into smaller groups (like the one I was talking about above). But we’re all part of the orange group– orange being the color of the little ribbon we had to sew on top of the kids’ hats.
We have a list of the people within closer groups and sometimes we need to communicate with them for patrol partnerships. And usually we all meet at a certain spot to meet the kids walking home from school. This is a group that I’m still trying to mingle with and get to know more.
But they all know me… and often times they know a lot about our family. I have another post I’m working on about that– about our fishbowl lifestyle.
Anyway, walking home from school, the kids all walk in a pre-determined place in a line. There’s a mom in this orange group who walks behind us. The first several days, I just spent the time chatting with my daughter (obviously in English) and asking questions to get a sense of what her new world is like and how she’s faring with new friends.
But on one occasion, this mom behind us invited another friend who speaks English to walk home with us so that we could all talk and she could get to know us. What a surprise that was!
And she was a bit surprised too to find out that yes, we do also speak Japanese.
Anyway, this has turned into her and her kids often stopping by for a bit after school to play in front of our apartment. That’s required a little adjustment in figuring out my schedule, but has been helpful in talking about church and being a Christian (again, fishbowl).
Others introduce themselves to me by telling me who I must be (“Oh, you must be so-and-so’s mom”)…. Whereas when they meet other Japanese moms, it’s not obvious, and they may or may not have heard of each other. We just seem to be an open book.
So, it’s taken a bit of mental sorting to figure out and remember all these new people and our relationships and how they all work… It’s kinda like your first day on the job, where you’re meeting all these people from all these departments and learning who’s who.
But I’m definitely looking forward to getting to know more people and learn from them… and hopefully be able to share my hope with them as well!