I’m chronicling my family’s journey to find community in our new city. This is our second month’s experience of our attempts to get to know our neighbors. Click the links for previous posts about neighbors, church, and friends.
Today I was trying to figure out what to do for exercise. I’m taking a cycling class tomorrow so I ended up deciding to workout at home. I thought I would see how long the loop is between our neighborhood and the one across the street and run a mile before lifting weights in the basement. On my first loop, I saw a neighbor whose name I thought I remembered. It took her a minute to recognize me in a hat. We passed a second time. I learned that about three laps equal a mile. When I hit that milestone I caught up with K2 and asked to walk with her for the rest of her exercise time. We chatted a bit. I learned she is looking at tiny homes in a different area of NC for a potential move/downsize. I also learned that she and S1 like to read. When we were finished I asked if we could trade phone numbers and she agreed. Definitely a little stretching of my comfort zone, though I had hoped to run into someone while traversing the loop – that was part of the purpose.
This afternoon as I was walking the kids up from the bus our neighbor K1 came out to meet us. She said her grandkids were coming over later and invited the kids to come play later. At four o’clock, we headed out of the house and met them in the street on the way up to our house. We went to their yard where they have a swing set. The kids played together and I chatted with K1 and B1. I brought up the idea of a book club. She seemed like she might be interested as did K2 earlier so we will see. K1 gave me her number and I texted her mine so now I have two neighbors in my phone.
There’s a family with three high-school-aged girls I want to meet. K1 thinks we’d get along with the family. I’m getting close to being motivated enough to take cookies to neighbors to say hello. We’ll see when I take that plunge.
L1 stopped by this evening with some gluten-free cookies for us. She said her son had eaten the first batch. They were pretty tasty.
This morning while waiting at the bust stop we saw a new neighbor jogging the loop. Adam called to him and we made introductions. His name is J2. I think he and his wife are originally from Massachusettes but just recently moved from across town. They bought the other house we looked at on the street.
I got S1’s number from Adam and texted her to ask if they’d mind saving their newspapers for Kaitlyn’s class’ paper mache project. She readily agreed. Our neighbors are so willing to be helpful!
Adam came in from mowing last night and said S1 told him they want to have a neighborhood cookout one of the last two Saturdays of the month. That’s hopeful news. I hope it works out for us to participate!
I texted S1 this afternoon to see if we could pick up the newspapers she’s been saving for Kailtyn’s art class. She said she’d drop them off when she got back from dinner. At nine our Ring doorbell noticed movement on our porch so I went out to say thanks and return the reusable bag she’d brought them over in. She asked if Adam had mentioned the cookout and whether the 21st would work. Adam volunteered to grill so it looks like he’ll be doing hamburgers and hotdogs. She said they were talking about the potential book club over dinner (they were out with K1 and B1 and the people who used to live on the street). S1 said she was hesitant because she just liked to read for the fun of it but Adam had told her I was mainly in it for the social aspect. She suggested having an intro meeting next Thursday at her house. She said she’d ask around for other potential book group members. I think she’s the neighborhood social director in addition to HOA President. I’m excited and nervous.
Kaitlyn and I went out for a walk after dinner. I was hoping to run into someone. Our next-door neighbor was in his garage and waved so we walked over to introduce ourselves. His name is D2. He was on the phone so we didn’t chat. As we headed back to the road I looked back toward our house and saw that Adam was talking to a family with a daughter. I realized it must be the 9yo girl we’d heard about so we walked back to say hi. D1, M1, L2, and their dog. If we’d bought the other house we were looking at, we’d be next-door neighbors with them. Kaitlyn and I walked with them to their house to see L2’s basketball goal and the girls shot hoops a little. M1 said he saw Adam at church this past Sunday.
S1 sent out the email today about the social gathering next week at her house. It will be a chance to meet other women. I hope there’s interest in making it a book club!
When I got home from the gym today I saw S2 outside doing yardwork. I walked over to our mailbox which is on her side of the street next to the driveway. No mail yet but S2 stopped what she was doing to chat with me. I mentioned that I saw that she’s an LPC (Licensed Professional Counselor – which if you know me, you know I have a B.A. in Psychology and have considered getting a Masters in Counseling). She said it’s her second career and she’s been doing it 4-5 years. I asked her about her master’s program for info in case I ever do go back to school. We talked a little about church. I said we were still looking. She said she heard a pastor say to start at the church closest to you regardless of denomination. If it doesn’t fit you, work your way out distance-wise until you find one. That’s an interesting philosophy. I really do think we should look at close churches. She asked what I do. We talked a little about books as well. She seems like a very interesting person, someone I would like to get to know more. Maybe I can get her phone number next time I see her. I enjoyed our chat very much. She asks questions which I appreciate.
S1 sent out an email for the cookout on the 21st. It’s going to be a lunch gathering in front of our house. We are kind of in the middle of the street. Hope the weather is good!
This afternoon the kids and I were walking up from the bus stop and we saw K1 and her youngest grandchild who asked if the kids wanted to come over later to play. We agreed and headed over after homework was finished. The kids played on the swingset, with toys, and drew chalk in the driveway. I think they had a good time. I know they have their grandkids most Mondays after school so maybe it’ll be a more regular thing. I suppose we could invite them to come over to our place as well.
This morning while we were waiting at the bus stop we officially met T1. She has two grandkids. She was heading to work so we didn’t talk long. We’ve now met everyone to the left of us, which is five houses. We’ve met people from four houses to the right of us. We’re getting there.
Tonight I went to S1’s house for a women’s gathering. I met a few new people and got to know others a little more. I saw T1 again. I learned she works part-time. She has four kids all still living in NC. I met T2 who is married to J4 and has three high school-aged girls. The house behind them belongs to T3 and her husband G2. S1 was a wonderful hostess with quite a spread. I didn’t see her cats but asked if the kids and I could come over tomorrow to see them.
The kids and I went next door to S1’s house to see her cats this afternoon. B2 was home so I met him for the first time. The kids seemed to enjoy the cats. I learned more about S1 and B2. They moved here from Seattle. B2 plays music with multiple groups. It would be fun to see him perform sometime.
I spent the day pretty much at home. I ran three laps around our neighborhood, said hi to my neighbor D2, and took money to S1 for the cookout on Saturday.
Tonight we walked the loop of our street plus the one in the neighborhood across the street. Our first lap we said hi to a woman out doing yard work in the other neighborhood. The second lap she was still out and with a friend and stopped us to chat. They were very nice. They said our neighborhoods were practically connected and people from both sides walk the loop.
In the mornings when I’m journaling, I often see people walking their dogs. I keep thinking I should sit on the front porch so I can engage them. Maybe tomorrow?
While at a United Way event this evening, we thought we recognized one of our neighbors. Adam went over to find out and we were correct. J1 and his wife E2 were there. We chatted for a bit and said we’d see them tomorrow.
We had the neighborhood cookout today. It was an affair that lasted over four hours! We had a really good turn out and I met new neighbors and talked to the ones I’d already met. I made a point of introducing myself to people I didn’t know yet. Attendees were S1 & B2, K1 & B1 and their son (J7), daughter-in-law (E4), and kids (that our kids have played with several times), T1, K2, J6 and C3 (new), M2 (new), T2 & J4 and their daughters J6, M3, and S3 (babysitters!), T3 & G2, D3 & E3 (new), T4 (HOA president of the neighborhood across the street), J2 & E2, and a couple who used to live in our neighborhood. So quite a few people. I verified that E4 and her family attend the church we’re planning to visit tomorrow, though she said they might not be there. I asked a few ladies about a book club again. I don’t know that it’s going to work out but that’s okay. If I really want it to happen, I can set a date and invite ladies to come if they want and go from there. I am now worn out from all of the socializing. That’s a lot of work for an introvert. T1 admitted that she’s one too (we’re fairly easy to identify).
That’s a wrap on our second month in Asheville. How did you get to know your neighbors?