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Do you know how nice it is when you go to other people’s house and you saw that their family bond is much stronger than yours? Some of you may know and some of you may not know. For me, I didn’t know. Since I was an introverted person and I didn’t adventure much until I need to. (I was in my own shell most of the time)

Whatever the case, the feeling of warmth that they have, feels really great. They could sit at the dining table and talk about anything in their daily life. Laughing, joking and even teasing one another like they are friends rather than a family. The perception that I had for a family was that the father needs to work hard for the family, the mother is usually the housewife who takes care of the children and when it’s dinner time, the parents would pull on a long and straight face. There would be rare occasions that the father will be around to join for dinner since they are working really hard to provide for the family.

When boundaries at the dining table is set to the minimum, the children wouldn’t have any trouble sharing their experiences, be it in school, work or in their personal life. What I observed was that they were smiling and how they greet each other is such a nice feeling. “I think this is what we would call home.” I thought to myself.

A place where after such a long day at work or school, we arrived at home and suddenly, we forget all the tiredness we have in our body and mind. A place where we would share our thoughts and there would be no one to really judge us. Our parents accepted who we are and what were in our thoughts at that point of time. They accept us because we are just a normal human being who has feelings and as we grow up, we’re experiencing a huge amount of life lessons and we start noticing changes in your body. (How nice would it be, to be brought up into that family that doesn’t judge one another)

But of course, not every one is as fortunate as them. I looked at my family and I compared with others. It didn’t feel good. I was unhappy but I didn’t know how to express myself. I didn’t really give myself much thought about it. I was brought up where my family wasn’t a whole. (That’s what I noticed when I start comparing)

My father was generally busy working and my mother was home most of the time. Usually, dinner time, there would be with my brothers, my mother and I. After awhile, my mother started working. There I was left with my brothers. I didn’t spend much time with my brothers too. I guess they have friends to meet and maybe to go out and play. For me, I didn’t have much friends. That’s where I got used to being alone. 

Being alone and no one to disturb me was the best feeling. I didn’t really like reading book or making friends out there. (Maybe just a few friends not in large groups) I had neighbours, but I wasn’t really close to them. Call me anti-social or whatever, but that’s how I was. I do spend some time playing games but it wasn’t that much.

I remembered one day there was a knock on the door. I could hear the knock from my room and I got up and walked to the door. Since I was young and short, I took a chair and looked into the peephole. These people weren’t familiar to me. They look young and innocent but definitely bigger and taller just like my elder brother. They had a bowl of food in their hand and was waiting patiently for someone in the house to open. “Didn’t school teach us not to talk to strangers?” “Should I open the door?” These thoughts were running in my mind.

Again, these boys knocked the door. It’s as though they knew I was inside and watching over them. This time, they introduced themselves. They said that they were from the same level and lived at the far end of the corner. They just wanted to deliver some food.  I got no idea who are they but they seem nice and really sincere. 

So, I opened the door slowly till the size of my head could fit through. “You want to deliver food you say?” I asked them in confusion. “Yes, please accept it.” They replied. They told me that their mother actually cooked so much that they had extra food and they couldn’t finish it. With their kind intention, they thought of us. Here they are with the bowl of food for us. 

That’s what neighbours always say right? They cooked extra and wanted to share. At least, it wouldn’t make you feel bad when you accept it. (This reasoning usually works and we will gladly accept it) I took the food with my small hands and thanked them shyly. They were still smiling at me and look really friendly. (What harm would that be if i were to know them a little better or just be friends?

That night, I told my mother that someone gave us food. But since I didn’t ask for their names, I just described how they look and what they told me. My mother confirmed with me that they were indeed our neighbours and we should repay back their kindness. 

The next following day, it’s my turn to return the favour. I gathered some courage and head over to my neighbour’s house down the corner. My mother was at the door watching over me. I walked carefully through the corridor and each door I would pass, I would look back to my mother and see her reaction, whether it was a nod or a no no. Most of the time it was a no. I had passed through so many doors then finally, I looked back and she nods her head.

With my tiny hands, I knocked on the door while still holding on to the bowl of food. I never done this before. I was so scared. “Who is going to open the door? Is it going to be their parents or them.” I asked myself. As each second passed by, my heart beats faster and faster. They were keeping me in suspense.

After a few seconds, I heard the footsteps approaching the door and the sound of the door unlocking. I was greeted with a smile and I was glad that the person who opened was the person who gave me the bowl of food. So I told them that my mother had some food for them and to accept it. They opened the gate and took the bowl of food from me. He thanked me while smiling. 

I asked for his name and we chatted for a while. Previously, when he came knocking on my door, he was with his twin brother. He told me their names and I exchanged mine with them. After a while, I ran out of ideas on what to say, so the best thing to do was to bid farewell and return home.  
Oh, that is the best feeling! That’s when I knew I made a good relationship with my neighbour. That was the start of learning of people’s skill. After that incident, I slowly opened up and made friends with my other neighbour who lives just beside me. 

There was once, I delivered food to them during dinner time, and this time I knocked the door, their mother greeted me. As they have left the windows opened in their living room, I saw their whole family were seated together and was preparing to eat dinner together. (Other than the 7 wonders of the world, I think that seeing a family eating together would be like the wonders of the world too)

I looked back at my family and wondered why my family isn’t like them. I walked back to my house with mixed feelings. I was slightly sad but also happy because seeing them being happy, made me happy.

Well, anyway, I head back home to have dinner and I don’t really have time to think about that. Some days, I even have dinner all by myself. I was getting used to it. Since I didn’t expose myself to see other people’s family eating together, I thought eating alone was normal and didn’t give much thought about it.

What I have learned

Looking back, I think at the young age, I needed love and affection. Books, toys and other entertainment didn’t really fancy me though. All those didn’t take my attention. Anyway, during my pre-school days, whenever my mother dropped me in class, I would always cry and the teacher had no choice but to call my mother down. Other pre school students weren’t like that. Maybe I was still attached to my mother. Of course, it takes some time to get use to being left in the school alone.

Over time, I learned that every one have their own sets of differences. I should be grateful for whatever I have. I was comparing to someone who is more fortunate than me. That’s why I felt that way, sad and the feeling of inadequate. But if I were to compare to someone who is less fortunate than me, then I know that I should be grateful for the blessings that has been granted upon me. 

No, I don’t always do this to feel better, but I do this to understand that each of us are actually blessed with a certain kind of blessings, that we just overlook it. AND I don’t look down at those who are less fortunate than me. 

I also learned that to forge relationship, one must go forth and have the courage to start and do good FIRST. It is only by doing the acts of kindness and goodness will others return the kindness back to you. I think this is called reciprocity.I think it’s basic courtesy to actually give something back in return when someone has offered you something that is good. I also think that when you actually start to open up to someone, that someone would highly open up to you. It may take some time, since in my case, I took some courage to actually return the favour to my neighbours. 

I hope you enjoyed my story and what I have learned has brought some lesson to you. If you enjoyed the story, I would appreciate it if you would help to share this story around. It could benefit those around you. 

Also, if you think you have learned another lesson other than what I mentioned, do leave a comment below. I will be most happy to read it and learn from you. 

With that, I wish you a very good day ahead! Peace.

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