I'm calling this photo "Twelve Russian dolls and a Japanese Cutie Pie."
"I'm 8," she said, in response to my query, and her father said "She's almost 9." They have lived in the U.S. for 2 and 1/2 years and while she spoke no English when she arrived, in no time at all, she was speaking like a native.
We met in the home of a woman whose name escapes me (they all do, unfortunately) and she brought out the Russian nesting dolls to amuse the little doll from Japan. She is a very pretty, well-behaved child, and I wanted to sit on the steps with her and chat, but I didn't want to seem stand-offish with the adults.
For this neighborhood social, three homes were open and we were encouraged to roam through the area, stopping at each home to meet and greet (and drink and nosh). There were three themes; Vive La France, a Mexican Fiesta and Mardi Gras, and the foods served were in keeping with each theme. It was really quite nice. I refrained from pulling out the phone and taking photos, except the one above.
As I mentioned before, my daughter said we were probably twice as old as anyone in the neighborhood; I found out that isn't quite true. However, I do believe that we have lived in Raleigh longer than many of these people have been alive. I did meet 3-4 people who are closer to our ages, but the youngsters were more interesting. There are people from all over the country; California, Oregon, Minnesota, Virginia, Florida, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Tokyo and probably other places I don't remember. Most of them have moved here within the last 5 years and say they LOVE Raleigh. I agree with them; we love it here too. But we have been here 44 years, and seen many changes - most of them for the better. Traffic, however, is not one of them.
It remains to be seen where this social event leads - if anywhere. People were very friendly, and there was participation by about 20-25% of the tenants and homeowners. We signed a notepad with our names, addresses and email addresses and the list will be shared with all of us. Perhaps we will get to know some new and interesting people - but maybe not. When I left the last house, I thanked the host for his hospitality and told him I would probably not remember anyone's name the next time I saw them. He replied that he wouldn't, and he doubted that anyone else would either. We decided......it's all good.....whatever happens.