Welcome to the August installment of our year-long essay series that explores topics to help us all experience a more mindful, present, and connected life. This month, Community Operations Manager Tabatha Long shares a story about moving into her new neighborhood and the moment she knew she was home.
The Moment of Truth
The day finally arrived. We took a look around our old house with boxes stacked and labeled. The moving truck was in the driveway, ready to be loaded up. The sold sign in the front yard. Suddenly reality set in. The time had come to say goodbye to our home.
Earlier this year, my husband and I realized we had outgrown our cottage-style home nestled in one of Phoenix’s historic districts. Between my husband, our 90-pound Labrador-mix, and me, it felt as if there was no closet that wasn’t overflowing and no shelf space that wasn’t maximized. It was time for us to find a new home in a neighborhood that would better fit our little family. With high hopes and lofty expectations, we set off with our real estate agent to find the home and neighborhood of our dreams.
As we checked the “must-have” items off our new-home-wish-list and drove the neighborhood, we had a good feeling. The house we found seemed to have it all, and so did the neighborhood. We wondered, could it be too good to be true? It had tree-lined streets, kids playing in the front yards, well-maintained homes with a variety of architectural styles, grocery stores and community amenities close by, and in a great location for commuting. We were convinced. A few months later it was time to close the door to our cute little cottage and open the door to our dream home.
But, as moving day quickly approached, we couldn’t help but wonder, is our new neighborhood really as great as we originally thought? How could we be sure we had made the right choice? What didn’t we see during our leisurely drives? Will our new neighbors have dogs that bark day and night? Is it really an active community, or was it just a birthday party that we saw on a Sunday with all the kids playing outside? Is it safe and do neighbors look out for one another? Will there be opportunities to meet our neighbors and get involved? These questions tickled the back of our minds, but with unyielding determination, we loaded our belongings and locked the old door behind us.
As we pulled in to our new driveway and put the car in park, we sat for a moment gazing contently at our new home. Finally, we stepped out of the car with the first box in hand, and then it happened. A smiling face appeared on the sidewalk with arms outstretched.
Nancy, our new neighbor, was here to say welcome. And boy, did she ever. With a big hug and an introduction, she quickly made us feel welcomed. Before Nancy could step away, Angie and Jeff from next door appeared, smiling and telling us how they had been watering our fruit trees since the previous owners had left so the trees didn’t wilt under the summer sun. And before they could finish, Jan from across the street came over with another warm hug and introduction. Jan let us know she had lived in her house for more than 20 years and would happily serve as a resource should we have any questions while we were getting settled.
It was 20 minutes before that first box made it into the house, but as we stepped through the front entryway, we knew this neighborhood was the one for us. The warmth and kindness that emanated from Nancy, Angie and Jeff, and Jan was like nothing we had ever experienced in moving into a new neighborhood.
A warm welcome is a demonstration of neighbors’ spirit and passion for their neighborhood. It’s the defining moment in one of life’s biggest decisions…the moment you can finally let out your breath and say, “I’m home.”
Past essays in this series:
January: Welcome to a Bright New Year
February: Passion & Possibility
March: Curiosity & Creativity
April: Turn Your Passion into Action
May: Words of Wisdom
June: Always There
July: Pass the Ketchup, Please
August: The Moment of Truth
September: Being an Adult is Overrated
October: Why we Fall in Love with Autumn in Arizona
November: Practicing Gratitude
December: ‘Tis the Season for Magic
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