At the beginning of the year, I said goodbye to our wonderful neighbours of nearly five years, (excuse me a minute while I stifle my sobs.)
For city-dwelling-apartment-living kind of people, that live the way we do? I can’t put enough emphasis on just how important it is to have a good relationship with your neighbours. For many house dwellers reading this you will be nodding and saying yes, yes of course, good neighbours are important anywhere. Which is, of course true, but apartment city living with a young family kinds? Oooh it’s really important.
Neighbours with kids: where your kids and their kids play safely and interchangeably throughout each others households. You know when it’s time to finish up, you can either holler from your back door for your kids to come home or turf your extras out and promising returns another day. Because of this, impromptu playdates are held almost daily. Mostly just in a shared space out the back where adult ears can listen but adult eyes don’t have to watch. There is a pack of kids out there keeping a tab on things, back in my child hood we roamed the streets like this and hung out in parks. In shared smaller living environments it still happens, just on a, well, smaller scale.
Need a cup of sugar? No worries, your neighbours got your back…or your cake or what ever it is you need that cup of sugar for. Neighbours are excellent for sharing cake with too. You give them cake and they’ll probably take all of your kids for an hour at their place. That’s a winning trade right there I tell you.
With more and more people living without extended family around them, or other close support to call on. Neighbours can be rather crucial in those tiny life moments when you just need a little hand with something or other.
You might need a pair of pliers.
A second opinion on a split head, (nurse neighbours are excellent. EXCELLENT.)
You can enjoy their pet without owning a pet.
Someone to water your plants while you are away.
A neighbour can be someone to share good news with.
Someone to share bad news with.
Someone to share that huge bunch of bananas with.
Someone to chat to just while pegging out your washing, (living in an apartment does force you to be a little sociable.)
A friendly face to walk your kids to school while you are at home with their sick sibling.
Decisions can be made over shared laundry spaces. Options are talked over on back steps. Holiday mail collected easily and borrowed items returned straight away, (after all you know where they live!)
It’s certainly not always sunshine and roses out there, for every good thing there could be an equally frustrating annoying neighbourly thing. But for city small space living, it’s easier to work with your neighbours, to be a part of your immediate community. Each apartment block has a different set of people, dynamics and stories to be told. In this increasingly solitary life that people seem to be living either by themselves or even as a family, getting to know your neighbours is a really easy way to start and I think, an important one.
So after a good few months of being empty, a removalist truck sitting in the driveway and an array of cardboard boxes lining the hallway. I’m holding my breath a little. Now we wait for the new neighbours to move into the apartment next door… I certainly hope they like slabs of warm cake and little chats under the washing line.