Saturday, January 24, 2009

My New Neighborhood

I have been thinking a lot lately about life in Arizona versus life in Washington. I grew up in the same house I lived in until moving out for college, and my parents are still there. We knew most of the surrounding neighbors, and part of that was because many of them have been there for years and years also.

But when I bought my house in Mesa, it was on a street with a lot of other families. In fact, one time I counted the little patio homes and duplexes on the street and figured that there were over 60 on that one street! I knew I was safe in that house, even though I lived alone. There was almost ALWAYS someone outside of their house, and that someone usually included my neighbors across the street.

One time I accidentally locked myself out of my house around 10 pm. I saw lights on in their house and went and knocked on their door to see if they had tools I could borrow to pull off my screen door to get inside. They turned off their lights and pretended not to be home when I first knocked, and I continued knocking for about 5 minutes or more until someone finally came to the door. Well, they helped me out but it was with great reluctance. They were nice enough, but it was barely more than a "hi" in passing that was exchanged between us the whole time I was living there. Their daughter lived next door to me, and I was lucky to get a "hi" back from her. My neighbors that lived on the other side of me didn't seem to like me after an incident shortly after I moved in when I had yard work done while the man who lived there was sleeping in the morning hours (not too early). So, basically, it wasn't a friendly street.

But I understand that Arizona tends to have higher attrition than some other places. Especially my new neighborhood. People have lived here for years. Several of our neighbors are original owners too. The house we purchased is old, and the original owners and/or their family lived here until selling it to us.

So maybe people in Arizona don't want to invest as much into getting to know their neighbors or building relationships with them, because they know or think their neighbors will move away. Or maybe it is just the area I bought a house in that is like that. Or maybe it was just my surrounding neighbors. Maybe they just thought I didn't fit in.

But when we moved into this house, we were welcomed by friendly neighbors all around us. We got a plate of cookies and some hand picked home grown flowers from one neighbor. We got phone numbers for our neighbors and even some recommendations regardling local services. We invited the 10 closest neighbors over for our housewarming party. Most of them came, and even one who didn't come brought us over a greeting card and gift card to welcome us. We live in a pretty cool neighborhood.

To say thanks to our neighbors and for fun, we gave mason jars full of a brownie mix to them for Christmas. We got a chance to sit and chat with a couple of them while delivering the jars. And for the new year, one of them gave us a jar of homemade raspberry jam.

We enjoy our house, and this neighborhood really makes this feel like home.

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