Change is a good thing. It makes you more resilient, and increases your ability to deal with unplanned events and adapt to the changing world around us.
My husband and I have certainly become more resilient to change since 2013, when we sold our house and belongings of 20 years, and uprooted ourselves to Halifax, Nova Scotia. Ever the optimist, I embraced this drastic move across 4 provinces with enthusiasm and optimism, excited by the adventure before us.
Sixteen months later, we were unexpectedly back in Ontario, and settling into a large downtown condo in the country’s capital. And then 4 years later, we landed in a different neighbourhood, after returning from our 4-month trip. If you are counting, that is three different neighbourhoods we had to get to know in the last 6 years.
The Universe may be a big place, and now that we live globally, people and friends living on another continent are not that out of reach anymore thanks to a multitude of online networks and platforms. With online now, you can chose to “occupy” a specific geographic space, but go about your day with very little interaction with the other humans of your apartment building, neighbourhood, or city. You can skype and chat online with friends and family, order any item delivered to you whether it be food or household goods, drive your car to work and never speak to anyone in the elevator thanks to your trusty earbuds.
You might be extremely sociable online, remarkably community conscious supporting political, environmental or philanthropic causes by donating to organisations serving the poor, yet because you never engaged a neighbour or walked into a local business, you might not have a “feel” for your community.
” Don’t forget to leave your handprints on the ones you love and your footprints around the neighborhood.”
A city neighbourhood is like a small town. It has businesses and services that residents need everyday. One of the first things you do in a new place is find out where the food store is, where the closest bank or ATM is located, as well as the nearest pharmacy.
You soon find out when they pick up the trash, what are the recycling rules and where and when do you get your mail.
Then you try out the local flavour, sampling what the restaurants around have to offer, popping into the boutiques to get a sense of what’s unique to the area. Once that is done, then you can expand your perimeter of exploration to include local attractions, and fun activities.
Gradually, as you fall in love with what your new community has to offer, a bond is formed. You get to know the pace of the community, and its sounds become familiar. The two little dogs that bark each day at each other when they are taken out for their walk, the conversations between neighbours on sunny evenings and the school buses dropping off children from school all mark the time of your day.
Each time we have done this, we have felt we belonged where we were, among our neighbours. Their issues became our issues.
It takes about a month for a new place to feel like home and a little longer for a community to adopt new residents. It will depend on how much one interacts with one’s fellow residents.
We have been here a year now, and each time we left the last place, we thought we would never be as happy as where we were. But of course, in this case, we succumbed just as quickly and easily to the charms of our new place as we did to our previous homes.
We like the tranquility of a residential neighbourhood, bordered by beautiful parks and paths along the Rideau Canal and love that we are three blocks from a thriving Main Street offering a highly sought out brochette of bistros and restaurants, and a host of other services offered by professionals etc.
Just like the last 3 homes, we are now saying of this one, that we could well stay here longer than we planned. I have learned however, that life brings opportunities and new adventures and the lure of something different gets us every time. Now, I leave it with the Universe, and live one day at a time. For now, I am here, and this neighbourhood is where I am happy.