H240: Happy Birthday

I had the most delicious meal at my neighbor’s birthday party. She provided a sumptuous little spread of homemade healthy goodies; a hearty lentil soup with vegetables, 2 breads, butter, her own version of tabuli (using corn), lettuce leaves, an eggplant dish, steamed summer squash with potatoes, avocado hummus, yogurt with cucumber / mint, ground flax, ground walnuts and another ground nut, olive oil, feta cheese and a delicious French pastry birthday cake. Even the birthday greeting on the cake was in French.

Recently I interviewed this neighbor for my newsletter. I have changed her name to protect her identity.
International fame on the dance floor was a reality in M’s life. She was a champion ballroom dancer from Czechoslovakia, called the heart of Europe. Fifteen years ago the country divided into the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Years before this M was born in the middle of the Czech Republic and Slovenia—the heart of the heart so to speak.

She has danced since she was a child. She married twice, both times to champion ballroom dancers therefore dance partners too. The 1st was a fellow Czech, the 2nd Canadian.

Hard work has been a consistent part of her life regardless of country. One 8-year stretch M danced with her French Canadian husband as cruise line entertainers. She has started from scratch in several different countries and built businesses (Canadian Bed and Breakfast) and schools with and without a partner’s assistance. I found that she even got her training as a registered nurse in Europe. This is a multi-faceted jewel of a woman.

She came to this trailer park 7 yrs ago, again starting over after her divorce. She has worked throughout that time to improve her home, making it a sound little grotto inside and out.

M teaches the tango, practices yoga and writes for the Tango newsletter. You may see this Tango newsletter in the laundry room.

The new bulletin board outside the laundry room was christened by M with articles from the Czech Republic for us to see money and art as subjects worldwide.

Her son, a Canadian citizen, has a family so M is now a grandmother. A grandmother who speaks Czech, French, German and English; has held citizenship in Czechoslovakia, Canada and now recently the US.

But, beyond her international acclaim, she is famous in our Park as the tourists come to see her incredibly intricate jewel of a home.

Her home is as these photographs show, a veritable grotto, a shrine that is an homage to her life. She has created her life story in stones and pictures and precious momentos glued to every available surface inside and outside.

Oh, and an added bonus for me at this Happy Birthday party was meeting M’s friends. I so enjoyed the conversation. Both M and I gave these guests a tour of the park and my home too. They were very interested in sustainable living.

This was a unique and happy food experience this week. It brought the world to my doorstep.

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