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Homes Do Not Need Words

Yesterday, I was out scouring in SE Portland–looking at homes in the $450-$650k range in preparation for an open house I’m holding today on SE Ivon.B A little pinkB number was next on my list out of 18 to look at for the afternoon. I was a little skeptical walking up–it needed a paint job desperately. I was more concerned when I realized that the ‘vacant’ house had someone and their car, in the driveway. My thoughts ran the gamut of “oh dear. It’s vacant, I didn’t have any ownerB to call and check in with.B She is not expecting me.B I’m friendly looking to a stranger right? What if I scare her?”.B
As I walked up to this petite, older, very traditionally dressed Chinese woman, it was quickly apparent that my lack of Chinese and her lack of English was going to be our common bond.B I held out my business card as if a peace offering and she gestured toward the front door.B Permission granted.
As I walked in, I noted her shoes removed before entering in and pointed to my shoes with a thumbs up and a hopeful look on my face–to which she smile and nodded. Okay good. Shoes stay on.
I looked through the house, we sign-languaged to each other about the hall door that wouldn’t open–which I realized was locked from the inside of the living room.B We laughed out loud as it dawned on me.B Still no comprende verbally but total ‘I get it’ at the same time.
As I was looking through the kitchen, she motioned me towards the basement…on the way I looked out back and understood why she was here. Her home was vacant and on the market, but her zucchini still needed her.B I ooohhhed and ahhhhed over her garden to which there is no need for translation.B Her grin spread wide across her face and I’m not kidding you—her garden was her love language. She just lit up.B
WeB went downstairs to look at the basement (for the most part, I hate basements) and l look at them because I ‘have’ to. But for the record. I don’t like them. Yeup, smelled like a basement, looked like a basement…. And then I let out a shriek of delight—-discovering the coolest all wood (now a days they are all stainless steel) refrigerator/freezer door that led to the canning room.B I love canning. What is it about putting up preserves that just tickles me? I don’t know. I could can 100 pounds of peaches just because itB is fun..but I digress!
My Chinese guide came over and nodded in appreciation with me at the behemoth old wooden door that acted as protector for all things preserved.B She then clucked her tongue and motioned me over to the other side of the room.B Something else to show me.B Almost as if “ha! If you think that is cool?–check this out”! I obediently followed.B An old bedroom door was leaning against the wall.B She deftly moved it out of the way along with several other items.B Then she turned towards me to make sure I was watching her—and almost gleefully and again, without words, pointed to her prize.B It was a wall safe–empty–but installed into the wall, with a key that turned and locked.B This darling woman was so tickled to show me her secret hiding place—we grinned together…both of us understanding how cool it was.B
How fascinating that for 15 minutes, my life paths crosses this woman’s path–we do not speak each others language and we humanly are able to appreciate the same things without saying a word.B
I waved good bye to the garden and zucchini’s to which she laughed….walked through the house with this sweet woman and faced her as I prepared to leave.B Wanting to honor her and at the same time, not get into a bow-ing match—slightly bowed my body towards her, gave her a broad smile and waved goodbye.B No communication but body language and hand signals.B No words but oohhhs and ahhhhs.B And perfect mutual appreciation of home, garden, and basement secrets…Homes and people who love themB do not need words.

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