domingo, maio 16

Happy Birthday, Ian

Ian was our neighbor when we were living in the Emirates. He worked with FAbio and lived a couple of villas away from ours. We did not meet, until Halloween, then Anita and Lia went trick and threatening, and came back with this fab story:

They knocked on his door and he said:

- Would you like chocolate or sardines?

- My kids, did not even think twice: sardines, of course!!

He did not have any sardines and the poor ghosts had to come back home with chocolates. That was all he had.

When I heard this story, I knew he would be part of our lives. Somehow I was sure about it. He had to be. He was too fun!

Ian became part of our family. He had lunch with us whenever he could and he had dinner with us most evenings. When he could not be bothered, I sent him some food. The kids would knock on his door ( I hope) and deliver his meals on wheels. He adopted my children, and we were inseparable. His family could not come to live in Dubai, and he missed them terribly. Apparently my family helped a bit.

Ian went to parent teacher interviews at the kids school. He was there when Lia got her yellow belt at Karate. He carried Lia's b'day cake to the party when she turned 7. Ian told stories of his children, his childhood, his life. Ian loved entertaining people. He was born for the stage. And we all applauded him.

Ian went to my kid's swimming competition, he was in the audience when they performed their play at school. Ian yelled at their soccer coach when he thought he could do better. Ian was furious when Anita came home claiming a 10 year old boy had beaten her up at the playground. He put his shoes on, and said: no one beats up my girls!!

Lucky for all of us, the boy was gone by the time he reached the playground.

Ian took us shopping. We had ice cream together. He baby sat for us. Ian watched Shrek 2 with my girls over a hundred times, and laughed every time. Ian loved us. He loved us for what we are. He never expected anything else from us.

Ian missed his kids. He told lots of stories about Matthew, who looked just like him, and according to Ian, behaved like him too. And apparently was a great actor, guess like whom...

He missed his girls too. All four of them. Emma, his own child, and Cath's girls, who he adopted whole heartedly.

Ian made jokes. Ian laughed aloud. He played cards with my mother in law and helped us carry their suit cases when they were leaving the country. Ian bought us gifts. Ian was always texting his wife in New Zealand.

He took my kids to school sometimes. He picked them up other times. If he was not working, he enjoyed waiting for the school bus in front of our compound. Ian let my children mess up his hair. And put make up on him.

Ian listened to their stories. He bought coca cola and left his door unlocked so my kids could go to his place and help themselves - he knew I disapproved of soft drinks...

We went to the supermarket on weekends. We shared a washing machine. Very often I came home and all my clothes (including my undies)  were already folded, so he could use the drier.

He drove Anita to he doctor when she thought she was sick. He did not care it took him 3 hours in a stinking summer heat in the Middle East, just to find out she had nothing ( as we already suspected).

Ian enjoyed food. and a good conversation. Ian was a story teller.

Our assignment in Dubai came to an end and we moved back to New Zealand. He was in Auckland and we were in Palmerton North. Far away. But every month he came over. And cooked for us. He met our kiwi friends and made friends with them too. He helped in another one of Lia's bday party. He made us happy.

Ian black mailed Lia when she thought about going to a friend's house when he was in Palmerston North. It worked just fine.

He watched TV with us, he patted our cat and played with our dog. He taught Fabio how to make pancakes, enjoy maple syrup and do funny tie knots. Ian was generous. And fun. And larger than life, but one day he just left.
He woke up, and  fell next to his bed. Massive heart attack. He left us all orphans.

Today is his birthday. He would be 49. We love you. So much it is not even funny...

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