Monday, 14 December 2015

Playing Secret Santa in Harlesden

Leading an almost zero waste lifestyle means that you spend less time shopping, tidying up and cleaning. Another upside is that you have more time to dedicate to other activities. My resolution for next year - on top of taking the zero waste challenge a step further (more on that on another day) - is to use some of my spare time to get to know my neighbours. 

Since moving to a new house last year, I have met properly my next door neighbour, Maria - and that's all. Considering that I am involved in a lot of community activities around North West London, it seems ridiculous for me not to invest more time in getting to know the people who live on my street. 




So, on Saturday, I baked a lot of gingerbread biscuits and, yesterday, I handed them out packaged in small paper boxes. I was wondering what kind of reactions I would get from people. In fact, most houses seemed to be deserted. I ended up leaving most of the boxes on doorsteps.  I had a nice chat with a couple of ladies, though. But I came back home asking myself what those little gingerbread men could bring about. What if nothing happened? Would I be entitled to feel disappointed? 



Well, 24 hours later, I can say that the gingerbread men have achieved their mission. A neighbour posted a thank you note through the door this afternoon. Another neighbour just rang the bell. When I saw his face through the window, I was worried for a second. He was clutching the box with an air of suspicion. 


"Am I losing my brains? Have I done anything for you?", he asked looking really confused, holding his glasses in his hands. Who thought that a small box of biscuits could cause so much perplexity? I certainly didn't. I almost felt guilty. "No, it just that I like baking...I've moved here more than a year ago and I haven't had the opportunity to meet many of the residents yet...", I replied trying not come across excessively warm/weird. 

It took a few seconds for my neighbour to realise that he had just been love-bombed by an woman he didn't know existed - or rather, by a small army of gingerbread biscuits - and that it was all fine. He introduced himself. He even offered to meet up for tea next year to have a proper chat. 

I am glad that I didn't wait until next year to act on my new resolution.