Kathy Donchak

Sunday Letter: Neighbors

Published 27 days ago • 1 min read

I am learning Telugu.


I met a beautiful, bright, and curious seven-year-old girl that lives across the street, who was bursting at the seams to tell me all the words she knows from her native language. She shared how hard it was to move away from friends, and why she cannot write in Telugu yet, by swirling her finger through the air.

I asked her how to say neighbor in Telugu, but she didn’t know that word yet, so I looked it up when I came inside. Hopefully one of my readers can let me know if I have this right.

It looks like this: ఇరుగు-పొరుగువారు
neighbor: irugu-poruguvārusnehitudu


Her mother is quiet, but has this glow about her when she talks about her children - don’t all mothers? She looks on, concerned that her daughter might be talking too much, while I smile and ask her daughter to slow down so I can listen to the sounds and say them back to her. This goes on for some time until I ask her to teach me one word a day so that we can become friends.

This is my new community. Immersed in so many languages, cultures, and practices within a backdrop of mountains and trees.

My new friend tells me she is afraid of nature. Dogs, cats, butterflies…even butterflies, I ask?

Now, I know what I can teach her.

Be well,


Kathy Donchak


I am a wife, mom, and nature lover living in the Pacific Northwest. My writing represents the intersection of my interests in nature, creativity, parenting, and human development.

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