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  • Writer's pictureHannah Telluselle

Turning the table

All my adult life, I've had to rely on my neighbors to help me with anything from assembling furniture, to borrow money, or to get medicine from the pharmacy. I've been very grateful for this, of course, and while I might now too if needed, I've gotten to experience how it is on the other end: I've been presented with several opportunities to share my Aloha back.

Across from me, in my apartment building, lives an immigrant family with six children, and their mother, as well as some of them, have quite frequently rang my door, for assistance. One afternoon, their teenage daughter had missed a field trip and asked to come and sit inside my apartment to wait for her mother to come home. I let her of course, and felt quite proud to be seen as a reliable adult to her. Yesterday evening, the mother asked me about the heating. I'm used to being cold in Sweden, so I'm prepared with cozy slippers, extra cardigan, a blanket in my couch, and of course, an extra small radiator - all that I now got to show her! And while I was about to work, this too gave me an opportunity to check in with my ability to help, how much and when. We must be able to say no, but I've also been on the receiving end so many times, I see it as my duty. Most of all, it's about not feeling alone.

When do you help others and how much?

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