One of the biggest things that have been missing from my life since we moved to the U.S. is the sense of community that comes from greeting neighbors. It’s something that’s lacking in a lot of the places I’ve lived, especially as a single 20-something. I know that it exists when it comes to mothers or just life in the suburbs. Otherwise, everyone just goes on about their day without even a glance at another person’s direction. We’re all just in a hurry to get to wherever we’re going that even on an elevator ride, we can’t be bothered to say ‘Hello’.
I’ve always missed it.
When I first started coming down to Ballard, even when I lived 40 minutes away in Mill Creek, I couldn’t really quite figure out what I loved about it. Maybe it was just that my friends were here and they gave me a sense of belonging. Then I moved to Crown Hill – close enough to Ballard but still not quite there.
Then I moved into my new apartment on the main street, where I am literally within walking distance of everywhere I could want to go in Ballard.
In the last week alone, I’ve felt a sense of community, starting in my own lobby. Even though it was the first thing in the morning (which is the anti-social hour for many of us), my neighbor riding in the elevator with me said “Good morning” and when the elevator stopped at the 4th floor, they also greeted the person getting on the elevator. This isn’t a rare occurrence.
It’s something about this building. This neighborhood. This little corner of Seattle.
I notice it when walking around. I notice it when the neighborhood is bustling on a Friday night or when it’s just waking up early on a Tuesday morning. I notice it when I enter a coffee shop – or one of my favorite bars. I notice it in the little vintage shops or the consignment store.
It’s a different kind of feeling – one that has been missing in my life for a long time.
Am I going to get to a point of knowing all of my neighbors and feeling comfortable enough to knock on their door to borrow a cup of sugar? Probably not.
But I bet I’ll start to learn their names and their dogs’ names as time goes on – and sometimes, even that little bit of recognition goes a long way.
Do you know your neighbors? Is there a sense of community where you live?
Did you miss my 2014 recap blog? You can read it here.