The family next door is German. Sonja and Reiner emigrated to the U.S. about fifteen years ago, and while all three of their children were born here, they, unlike many first generation Americans, not only understand their mother tongue but choose to speak it as well. They even go so far as to have tiny, endearing, German accents.
They are a great family. We are extremely lucky to have landed next to them. All afternoon, every afternoon, the six kids (their three and our three) traipse from one backyard to the other, in and out of screen doors, up and down the cul-de-sac.
Emily, who's nine, and Mae are particularly well-suited. Both athletic and no-nonsense, they happily race bikes, climb trees and chase Ballsy for hours without conflict.
Yesterday, they were stationed in Emily's apple tree eating crackers. Mae tells me that's their official four p.m. snack location. They've rigged a rope and bucket pulley system to ferry their various culinary delights. Yesterday, Matilda, who's four and a force of nature, stood under the tree demanding that they share. You don't want to keep food from Matilda.
Emily told Matilda, in German, that the crackers tasted like broccoli. Matilda, though a equal opportunity consumer of almost any kind of caloric item, is not a fan of vegetables.
Mae, ever curious, repeated the sounds that Emily had made. Emily almost fell out of the tree laughing.
"You just said that these crackers taste like grandma!"