(No, I’m not talking about the Australian soap opera…)
After 5 months in Basingstoke, we still only know one set of neighbours. The couple at the end of the road have the same type of house as us, so we have talked a couple of times, about the house, the development, etc. Last week, the husband popped in to ask Jon about some plumbing stuff and decided then to meet up for tea on the following Sunday (aka, yesterday).
They are a lovely couple from North India (Delhi, I suppose, I didn’t ask exactly where), have been in the UK for 4 years and they have a very cute and funny 3-year-old son.
We got to their house at 4 o’clock as agreed, and I must admit that I wasn’t sure of what to expect. We looked online beforehand for what the polite thing would be regarding gifts. We wanted to take something as a thank you for the invite, but were unsure about their traditions and customs. We settled for some chocolate truffles and some cinnamon rolls (they almost rejected the gifts, arguing that it was far too formal, but we insisted and they took them in the end)
After the formal introductions*, we sat down in the sofa, had some tea and cake (our truffles and rolls were nowhere to be seen…) and started to chat.
We got on very well. Better than I thought. I must admit my ignorance about the Indian culture in general (this was the first time I met some proper Indians) and have to say that I was pleasantly surprised of how “western” they were both in behaviour and way of thinking. Apart from their Indian accent, I couldn’t tell any different from any other couple from anywhere else in the western world.
We chatted and chatted and we were all quite comfortable, even with the almost-hyper-active kid, who kept calling us “uncle” and “auntie” all the time. We talked about India, about Spain, about England, their food, our food, houses, children, education and many many more subjects. I was pleased to see that they were very open to talk about anything, even financial stuff.
We have set a date for a proper diner where we will have both traditional Spanish and Indian food (they think that the Indian food that you get here in restaurants has nothing to do with the real stuff – exactly the same as with Spanish restaurants!) and I must admit that I am really looking forward to it!
I believe this could be the beginning of a great friendship!
*We have a massive problem, and it’s that even after having repeated their names a couple of times, we still struggle to remember the wife’s name! We remember the husband’s and the kid’s, but not the wife… Doh! It’s definitely a two-syllable word, with a k and and a in it…