On Friday night I met my new neighbour. I live in a villa unit (like a smallish house). I'm in unit 1 and units 2 and 3 are behind mine on the block. My garage is physically attached to the rest of my house - it's at the back and shares a common wall with the garage of unit 2, but otherwise it's free-standing. We each have our own little backyard so there are no common areas. Mine is the front unit so I have a front yard too but the others don't. All three units are rented out, and they're owned by the same person and managed by the same real estate agent. It gives all the tenants a common bond to some extent... if we want it.

I've lived here since February but I've never met my neighbours other than to wave if we happen to meet at the letterboxes. Until Friday - I came home as my new neighbour was unpacking stuff from a car. I said hello and exchanged chit chat, then she asked me in to see her place (all three units are slightly different and mine is the largest of the three so I was curious to see hers). We had a little chat, I met her parents and another friend and then left. Today I came home as she was leaving so we waved in the driveway.

My doorbell just rang - it was my neighbour, letting me know she was going away for two weeks. She thought I might like to know in case I wondered why her place was empty just after she'd moved in. I asked if she'd like me to collect her mail, to which she replied, "Yes, that would be great."

I've just met his woman. (Girl, really - she can't be more than 25.) I know nothing about her and she knows nothing about me... yet it seemed perfectly natural to offer to collect her mail and perfectly natural for her to accept.

The last place I lived in Sydney was a block of units where most of the tenants and owners were older folk who'd all lived there for many years, so they all knew each other. When I moved in the real estate agent actually introduced me to Jessie, the lovely old lady who lived across the hallway and to Jack, the old man who lived at the end of the hall. Both Jessie and Jack were pretty much housebound due to frailty so I used to collect Jack's mail and occasionally buy milk etc for Jessie when I was going down to the shops. (They both had home help; I just offered to do stuff when I was going someplace anyway.)

Jessie eventually died and Jack moved to a hostel shortly after I moved to Melbourne, but I've never forgotten the experience of living there. We had very little in common - different ages, different lifestyles, different religious beliefs - but still we were a little community and we looked out for each other. I've missed that.


Long dark hair, blue eyes said...

It is nice to get to know your neighbours.

I have some great neighbours who, like your previous neighbours, are really really different from me but it is nice to know that if I ever needed anything, there is someone there I could count on.

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