As most of you may know, we recently shifted our primary residence a few months ago. We moved from a place where there were high-rises full of apartments, condominiums, and malls, where there was an interesting mixture of people from all ethnicities and backgrounds, to a single family home place, full of parks and trees and a predominantly white population.
I must admit that after checking the demographics, I was concerned about going from a place with a great multicultural vibe to one where we would be one in a sprinkle of Asian people! I was apprehensive about the change for, oh I don’t know, one week? That’s before I met – or rather, was met- with my neighbors who, as soon as they spied The Husband and I coming out of our garage, came over to welcome us to the neighborhood. My apprehension completely diffused when I met more folks near the mailbox, who doubled back when they saw me, just so they could say hi! And, it changed to delight and appreciativeness when my sons’ teachers sent us emails a week ahead of the joining date, and when I saw with my own eyes how they and the class gave my two boys a raucous welcome to their new class.
As I slowly found out where the nearest groceries, nearest park, nearest swimming classes were, I also gradually noted the difference in attitude of the new neighborhood to the old one. The most remarkable thing I noted was the change of pace! Not just amongst the older, retired people of the community who are constantly urging us to stop by for a glass of wine and who stand and chat for hours. It’s also apparent in the moms who come by to drop their kids for a playdate and who, instead of gratefully dashing off, linger, and soon we find ourselves sitting at the table drinking coffee and discussing every episode of ‘Breaking Bad’!
I also notice how relaxed most people are! For instance, at school pickup or drop-off, people frequently park at the yellow curb or double-park because “Mr D (the principal) knows how hard it is to find visitors’ parking!”. I also see the confident assurance of young moms who leave their sleeping babies in their car-seats with the motor (and A/C) running, to go and get their older sibling from the school.
And yesterday, I saw a little girl of maybe 2 or 3 at the entrance of the school near some bushes. She was wearing a cotton floral dress with bare feet and tousled blonde hair. She was crouching amongst the shrubs, happily grubbing the soil underneath. As I watched, she found a snail and inspected it carefully, chirping to it in her own special language. She then held it up to her mom who was standing a few feet away, talking to another, who waved back and smiled. The little girl then turned back and continued to chirrup to her new friend.
I felt happy looking at her. And, I felt like I could really love living in a place like this!