As the packing boxes disappear, John and I are enjoying being the newbie residents in the nations top-rated arts district. New neighborhoods are fun to explore, and, extravert that I am, having fresh faces to meet and greet is an extra treat.
We’ve also discovered that we live on one of the most happening streets in the neighborhood: 13th Avenue. After the night-life focus of the North Loop, it’s been refreshing to have a choice of quality indie coffee shops, gift shops stocked with unique local art, a cool little bookstore which sponsors concerts and discussions, a real barber shop and loads of massage and yoga options.
But aside from the wealth of small, locally owned businesses that suit our lifestyle preferences, there are a wonderful handful of less tangible things that have already made us fall in love with Nordeast.
1. Mature Tress and Gardens: Living in a neighborhood with a large tree canopy, lush lawns and Peonies, Irises and Spirea
, (which that I haven’t seen since living in a small rural Wisconsin town as a kid) is so relaxing. We feel so lucky to walk amongst all this greenery on summer evenings. We are equally amazed by the smells we experience now, like mowed lawns, upturned garden earth and damp foliage after it rains.
2. Children: Sitting at the window counter at Mave’s, a local coffee shop, I was mesmerized by the kids playing in the school playground across the street. How long has it been since I lived in a neighborhood with residents younger than 20? I’m not sure I can recall. But I do know that being around kids makes me feel less serious about the day to day, and reminds me that there are things to laugh about and enjoy.
3. Friendly People: John and I were both floored by the open warmth and friendliness of our NE neighbors. Every day we are greeted by almost every person we meet on the sidewalk, and easy conversations spring up between us. This is something we had not experienced in prior neighborhoods. The baristas in our new coffee hang out inquired about our situation when they saw us return for the third time in one day. When they learned they were feeding us because we couldn’t find our dishes, they kept progress notes one our unpacking and still ask how things are going.
4. A Sense of Community: People, quite simply, seem to love living in NE and like living with each other. Community bulletin boards with classes, concerts and other events are managed by local store owners. Anyone can contribute to them and share what’s happening with anyone who wishes to join in. Folks also help without thought or hesitation. When John’s Car2Go rental stalled in inconvenient location this week, he was surprised to find that someone seated on a nearby porch had joined him in pushing the car out of the street. It’s not uncommon for people to offer to help you with your packages or offer a hand in other ways. It feels like the best parts of Mayberry, and the little farming community a grew up in, rolled into an urban setting.
After only a few weeks, NE has worked its magic on us. It’s going to be a wonderful, intangible, summer.