When I think about neighbors, the first thing that comes to mind is the street I grew up on in Long Island. I knew almost everyone on that block, and I had so many friends on that one street. We’d get together every day after school. We’d run through sprinklers, bike around the block, or go to a close park. The days seemed so long back then. I felt like we had so much freedom. There were no cell phones, but it was a beautiful thing. We didn’t go home until the street lights came on. I’ll never forget all the adventures and fun I had with my neighborhood friends. Even after all these years, just thinking of my childhood home makes me feel all cozy inside.
Sadly, I would not experience the same camaraderie when we moved to Florida. Everyone kept to themselves. I only knew the neighbors to the right & left of our house. Even still, we weren’t very close at all.
I lived in the South Bay of Los Angeles for the last eight years. Once again, in those last eight years, I only met three neighbors. They were all my age and I’d always see them around.My husband & I would exchange gifts with our next door neighbors, which was nice, but it never developed past that.
I would get jealous when I’d hear about my friends having block parties with their neighbors, or even going to their houses for dinner. All we got in LA was the typical “we should hang out” with no follow through. I’m the kind of person that will only pursue a friendship so much before I give up. Again I longed for the friendships that my friends had with their neighbors & what I grew up with.
We moved to the Bay Area last month. Although we haven’t been here long, we’ve noticed a different vibe. People seem friendlier. We’ve met more neighbors in these past two weeks than I had in my time in Florida & Los Angeles. The kindness I’ve seen has been very refreshing. To top things off, our next door neighbor made us a cake to welcome us to the neighborhood. I thought it was such a kind gesture. Something I haven’t experienced in a long while.
When it comes to my neighbors, the feeling of inclusion is a beautiful thing.
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