The thing about neighborhoods in Florida is that they are always evolving, and changing. We moved into our house about a decade ago. During that time, I was finishing my Masters in linguistics at USF and Michael was working on his MBA in International Business. Around this time, he was offered an opportunity (contingent upon funding) for a new position with the Department of Homeland Security. So, they conducted a big investigation interviewing our neighbors and checking out both of our backgrounds. I told them countries that I lived in overseas, jobs, etc. In the midst of interviewing our neighbors who were from the Czech Republic (we had the opportunity to read the report)…he stated that he thought we were “nosy.” I laugh about it now but at the time, I was pissed. I had no complaints about him! He was a wonderful neighbor….he took care of his home and his family very well. He was also lucky because he sold his house before the real estate decline so either he was lucky or he knew something. Anyway, looking back, I realize now that when he had these big parties and all his European friends would arrive, I would peer out the window probably hoping as a new person in the neighborhood to be invited, but it didn’t work out that way. He probably noticed my peeping….they reminded me of my 20s and living in the East Village. During this time, I worked with Barry Farber, a radio personality, and he introduced to many Eastern European people. This neighbor reminded me of this time. Both Michael and I liked him and his family but I think we tried too much to interject ourselves into his life.
So, the Homeland Security job was taken off the table…the funding fell through …our neighbor sold his house a year or so before the crash and we didn’t have the opportunity to leave for DC. I was offered an interim English teaching position teaching Honors English and a freshman class at Tampa Bay Tech until the end of the year. With my temporary certificate in hand, I jumped at the opportunity and Mike found a job working with Bisk Education. It probably would have been a great chance to use my linguistic degree and for Michael, to use his intelligence background and knowledge of North Africa. Our neighborhood changes as the older people pass on and their homes are sold by their children or leased out. I miss the Eastern European neighbors but in retrospect, they were great neighbors and I forgive him for thinking we were nosy. It might have been we were looking out for him but maybe we didn’t know his whole story.
Times change, people and neighborhoods change. I would love to return a decade to a more promising economy but it is not possible so we must work with the present and move on to the future. The only thing certain is change which we cannot stop but we can learn with time and wisdom to read the signs and interpret them to our advantage. This Eastern European man may have sensed something ahead of us….because of something in his background…and this may be something that I am just learning to understand. We can’t always literally explain situations and know what is best but we must learn to trust our instincts.