What's Your Next-Door Neighbor Story?

My neighbour and I do not share a common language. Literally. I live in Sarajevo & speak minimal Bosnian, although I can understand enough to follow most conversations easily and her English is non-existent. One morning I was waiting outside our building to be picked up and she arrived back from her morning walking the dogs. We chatted a little, mostly me nodding and her asking me questions. I had a few things I had learnt to say about the grey sky & patted her dog. She looked up at the sky and back at me and sighed.
"Can you something 'lajanje' something?" she asked me. "Excuse me?" I replied.
I had no idea what this word meant, or most of the rest of the question. She looked up at the sky again and sighed. I thought it must be something to do with the dull weather, so nodded solemnly and said "Yes, it's very bad" in Bosnian. She looked mortified, "Oh no! I'm something something something. I'm so sorry". At this very moment my ride pulled up and I left her with a simple "Its nothing, have a nice day."
I began to explain the story to my friend and he laughed. "She was asking you whether her dog had been barking. Lajanje is a version of the verb lajati, to bark. Come on, you have to learn faster!"
I tried to sneak back into my apartment that afternoon but to no avail. Her door swung open. More apologies, I tried to explain that I had made a mistake and the dog was perfect but without success. The irony was, from this point on I actually began to notice when the dog barked and, in fact, it was supremely annoying.


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Have a Next-Door Neighbor Story?

As part of our new webcomic, Next-Door Neighbor, we thought it appropriate to have a little contest. Tell us your best true next-door neighbor story, and the winning tale will be matched with an artist and transformed into a webcomic and included as the final installment of Next-Door Neighbor.

About Next-Door Neighbor

No matter how close or how far, we all live next to someone, and we all have a Next-Door Neighbor story. With that in mind, editor Dean Haspiel asked some of his favorite storytellers and cartoonists to create their favorite NDN stories so we could share them with you.

The Fine Print & Contest Rules

By submitting an entry, you are granting SMITH the right to reprint or republish that entry online or in print, as well as make any necessary edits. See SMITH's terms of service for complete details.

This contest ends September 1, 2008. Prizes are not redeemable for cash and must be accepted as awarded. Winners are decided at the discretion of SMITH judges and all decisions are final. SMITH reserves the right to change the contest rules. Enter as often as you want. SMITH reserves the right to reprint or republish all entries.

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