I’m next to you

  In 2012, our entire family moved out of San Francisco, California. My husband and I have a three-year-old daughter, and we have a big dog weighing about 45 kilograms, and our house is too small.
  After several searches, I found a beautiful house that we could afford. This house is located in Polinas, California, an hour’s drive from the city. Polinas is a beautiful village, opposite the coast of Cape Reyes. After returning from surfing, people can enjoy delicious oysters while enjoying the beautiful scenery of the mountains and rivers. However, the people in the village did not like the outsiders coming, and the villagers even demolished the road signs pointing to the village beside the highway. If you are a foreigner, they will not want you to stay there.
  My hometown is in South Carolina. When I decided to come to California, I thought, I must have contacts with my neighbors, and I must make them like me. When I live in San Francisco, I often invite my neighbors to have some common meals. Neighbors and I also built a homepage on Facebook, often uploading photos of getting along with each other. Everyone sees me on the street and will say “Hi” cordially. For me, the community there is like a big family.
  In the first week of moving to Polinas, I took a few baskets of cakes, home-made wine and some sweets to a few new neighbors, and their response was just a few simple “thank you” and “see you”. When I knocked on the last door, I saw the light inside and someone talking, but no one opened the door for me. I left the candy at the door of this neighbor, took the last two bottles of wine back home, and drank two glasses by myself. When the night came, the howling of the wolf came from outside.
  I thought to myself: “Oh, my God, why should I come here?”
  A few days later, I took my little daughter to the local kindergarten to go through the admission procedures. Teacher Susan is an authentic Polinas. Her husband Jim ’s grandfather has a large farm across the street from my house, which has been in business for more than 100 years. Although Susan was loyal to the locals, she gave me a hug and asked me about moving. Surrounded by happy children, her little faces were browned by the sun. My daughter fell in love with this kindergarten, and I felt that the dark clouds in my heart had dispersed.
  In the first few months of coming to Polinas, Jim and Susan became icebreakers in our lives. Jim showed us his lovely but rickety furniture and showed us their kitchen and ducks; Susan invited us to eat steak, which was their own cattle. The couple was very hospitable, and we gradually forgot to feel alone.
  One day, when I sent my daughter to kindergarten, I saw Susan look lost. It turned out that when Jim was repairing a fence, a steel beam about 6 meters long hit his leg. His ankle was broken, and the doctor told him not to walk for a few months.
  What can we do for you? My first thought was to make them a pot of casserole. However, Jim and Susan made money by selling eggs. Now that they have no helpers, their income will no longer exist. This is their big trouble.
  ”What do you need most help with?” I asked Susan.
  ”Our chickens need to be looked after. Do you have time?” Susan said.
  I have time, but to be honest, I do n’t like to feed chickens, they catch people, they are dirty, and they run fast. Susan has 500 chickens and 150 ducks. My task is to pick eggs next to angry hens during the day and drive them into the pen at night. Picking eggs and cleaning chicken manure is okay, but I have never rushed the chickens, let alone in the night. I fell on chicken dung again and again and could n’t help wondering: why is this job so difficult? Can’t Susan find someone else? But Susan is going to work in kindergarten, her family has other farm work to do, she can only find help from her neighbors.
  I finally realized that it is not that the locals do not like outsiders, but that they need someone familiar with them to take care of each other. Polinas is an isolated village, there is no hospital nearby, only beasts and gusty wind, maybe something will hit your feet at some time. When this happened, no one except the neighbors could help them. It can be said that this also explains the meaning of the term “community” from a new perspective.
  Now, I am still Susan’s enthusiastic neighbor, and I invited my neighbors to eat some home-cooked meals as before, but no one has been invited to come. However, Polinas has opened his arms to me. I also jotted down the phone numbers of several neighbors on a yellow card so that I could ask them for help in a hurry. We do not need to upload photos in the online community to prove that we are close to each other. You may need help on a certain day, and so am I. I am next to you, you can call me, I am your trustworthy person, which is enough.