Thursday, 6 May 2010

Everybody needs good neighbours

A few months ago, I wrote on the things I love about living in an inner suburb of Sydney, see here.
The past few weeks, I've really noticed what a great community I live in. It's not the stereotypical inner-city life, sure we had a murder here the other week, sure there's graffiti, sure people are often rushing around, but it's also friendly, caring and tight-knit. It's kind of what I imagine living in a country town is like, except with a grittier edge and good coffee!

I live in a cul-de-sac and we know all our neighbours. The girls and I go to the park across the road from our house and we know everyone there by name. Sometimes we walk past people in the street I'm sure I've never seen before and they call out: "Hi Corinne, hi Lil-lil, hi Goosey! Hope to see you at the park later!"

Sure there are a few little things that are different to most whitebread areas, such as my girls often have unusual conversations with an Italian nonna who speaks only in her native tongue and the girls reply in English. They seem to understand each other and always end their conversations with a big hug. There's also the fact that a few of their park playmates have two mums, but that's nothing new for our area. I think it gives us the best of all worlds.

Everyone looks out for one another, which is lovely. When Lil-lil was a newborn we had to drive her round for hours to get her to sleep, our lovely neighbours, with whom we share a wall, sat out and minded a car space for us [hey, it's the inner west, no-one has off-street parking!]. Our girls get birthday presents, Christmas presents and Easter presents from them. We've even been known to share a glass of wine over the back fence.

All of our local shopkeepers know us and the girls by name. One local dress shop even calls me to let me know when they've got new stock. They know how we like our coffee. Every time I walk up to the shops I always run into people I know and stop for a chat.

So when I hear people say: "People are too self-involved these days. There's no sense of community." I think, well they haven't been to my suburb.

We may not have neighbours return from the dead, we don't have affairs with each other and I don't know of any shady business deals happening down at the pub, but I think we could give Ramsay Street a run for its money. We even have a friendly labrador that plays a starring role in our drama.

Do you live in a friendly community? Or do you tend keep to yourself?

5 comments:

  1. I'm with you Rin. I look at our lifestyle and sense of community in Rozelle (just 2 suburbs away)and love it. A lot of the faces on the street have become good friends since 1999 when we moved here. There is an amazing sense of belonging as well as diversity. My favourite thing about living here is the fact that we rarely have to get in the car. It has the dual benefit of avoiding traffic and seeing/talking to people on the street.

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  2. Your community sounds great. Mine isnt too bad - our neighbours will bring in the bins for us, mow our front nature strip and collect our mail when noone is at home so that is great. I think it was way more a community when I was younger - used to play on the street and go to people's houses all the time etc, swim in the neighbours pool.

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  3. Thanks for the comment Corinne - did you used to live in Vietnam or were you travelling there? Your neighbourhood sounds great too - hoping I'll feel the same when I move back to Sydney (also inner west)!

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