A lightbulb of an idea crept into my mind a few years ago as I awkwardly came to realise I’d spent a long time in my search for an emotionally healthier self lost in wanting to be a happier person purely because I thought people would like me more and then I’d find life easier. I had struggles for years when I’d think, “But I’m being so lovely, thoughtful and kind!” when something in life didn’t go my way.
With the lightbulb’s glow steadily growing, I found a wise piece of writing that suggested trying to follow the principles of good living (honesty, tolerance, boundaries, patience and love) whether my desires were met or not. To trust that things were as they were meant to be, in spite of how they may appear to me.
Radical stuff. And one of the things I’ve been trying to focus on ever since.
So, with the lightbulb shining steadily in my mind, I’ve been trying to find a way through the recent behaviour of a neighbour.
When parking yesterday, with my son and husband in the car, our neighbour across the street stormed out of his house, wearing nothing but saggy, used-to-be-white underwear on his very portly frame, and started swearing loudly at us. Apparently he’s been angry with us since Christmas, although this is the first we’ve heard of it, as we sometimes park one of our cars outside his house.
Translating his swear words which was pretty much all he spat at us, I think he was saying,
“Golly gosh, darling neighbours of mine. I’ve noticed that, although this is a public road, you seem to be parked outside my house and sometimes I have friends over who now need to park ten metres further on. This is rather frustrating and I’d like you to park somewhere else. Please.”
Setting aside his appalling fashion sense, and my hell-fire fury at someone shouting and swearing like that in front of my toddler – my husband and I come from populous suburbs where the concept of a public road belonging to anyone is ludicrous. But I’m trying to understand that we could be suffering from the cultural clash of moving to a quieter suburb, and have to ask myself whether private public streets are normal here and the onus is on us to change?
During the night, the neighbour took it upon himself to move both his cars from his garage to park them outside our house. I think he believes this’ll upset us, not understanding that we actually do believe public roads are for public use – the only disturbing part for us is the pettiness and vindictiveness of his behaviour.
It’s tempting to knock on his door and talk to him calmly – to insincerely convince him I’m truly lovely and worthy of being treated gently and kindly. Although, right now, it’s more tempting to go over there with my cast iron frying pan and smack him over the head… physically persuading him that I’m a force to be reckoned with and he’d better be afraid, very afraid.
Unfortunately, in doing either of these I’m conveniently ignoring my lightbulb’s attempts to teach me honest, loving and light living in the world regardless of the outcomes. To pretend to endorse his behaviour’s no longer acceptable for me. Equally, an attempted power drive won’t bring me any peace.
Ultimately I’ll need to come back to my decision that it’s more important for me to be at ease than right. But today I’m just allowing myself to be angry, and as long as I don’t act on it in any way until I’ve found my balance again, that’s imperfectly okay.
And the best bit? As we were walking away from him; my oblivious, darling, glorious son leaned over my shoulder back to our impossible neighbour, waved both his arms and shouted, “BYE BYE! BYE BYE! BYE BYE!” followed by exuberantly blowing kisses. I tried not to laugh, I really did.
A hot and sour recipe today, as if you need to ask why… Finger limes are in season and they’re enormously pretty while tasting incredible. For those who aren’t aware of these native Australian fruits, they’re shaped like a fat finger (hence the name) and are filled with flesh that looks exactly like bright green caviar. Once in your mouth, each little pod shoots a torrent of delicious, fresh lime juice all over your taste buds. For those in Melbourne, Georgie’s Harvest at South Melbourne market sell these little beauties during their short season. For those who can’t reach the market through geography or sheer laziness (nothing wrong with that) you can even buy them on Etsy.
- 2 x 400ml cans of coconut milk
- 100g honey (I use raw honey, but use whatever you’re comfortable with)
- 2 finger limes (or, if you can’t find them, 2 regular limes)
- 2 bird’s eye chillis, seeds and membrane removed, very finely chopped (increase or decrease to taste)
With an ice cream maker
Place the coconut milk in the back of your fridge for at least 24 hours, this will aid the freezing process
Once cold, open the cans and scoop the thick cream into a blender, followed by the thin coconut milk
Add the honey, the zest and the caviar from the limes (or, if you’re using regular limes, the zest and juice) into the blender and blend until smooth
Pour the contents into your ice cream machine and follow your manufacturer’s instructions, adding the chilli 5 minutes before the timer ends
Spoon into a freezer safe container, and place in your freezer until ready to serve
I’ve sprinkled some extra chilli and finger lime over the ice cream for the photo. Feel free to do the same before serving, but it’s certainly not essential.
Without an ice cream maker
Once the coconut cream, coconut milk, sugar, lime caviar (or juice) and zest are blended, stir in the chilli
Pour into a freezer safe container and put into the freezer
Stir every half an hour, until the ice cream is frozen through
I’ve sprinkled some extra chilli and finger lime over the ice cream for the photos. Feel free to do the same before serving, but it’s not essential.