You know what makes a house a home?
No, seriously. Hear me out.
I lived in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, for the first 20 years of my life, after which I lived in Philly for 5 years, D.C. for 4 years, Alexandria, Virginia, and then Annapolis, Maryland.
Now I live in Utah.
Do you know what has made or broken my experiences in each of those locales?
Growing up, my neighbors were my second family.
They still are.
In D.C., I had terrible neighbors. (In fact, one of them robbed me. Twice. Within a six month period. So, yeah. That.)
In Alexandria, same thing. Loud, impersonal, and inconsiderate.
In Annapolis, the family that lived next door to us was awesome, but everyone else in the neighborhood was terrible to each other. Lots of drama, and an overall unwelcome feeling towards everyone. (Needless to say, when we moved, our friendly neighbors quickly followed suit.)
Banding Together on Bandone
Needless to say, when we moved to Utah, it was a crapshoot.
I didn’t really care if we had good neighbors or not, since I was so desperate just to get away from the D.C. area.
When we visited the house in September 2016, no one was home next door. But, being the snooper I am, I crept up to the house and peered into the window.
And holy heck, I immediately knew I’d like this person.
Her house was decorated impeccably. (And, let’s face it – In D.C., if you even have a house, you’re ahead of the apartment-dweller game. I was not used to fellow decorators.)
I can still distinctly remember the first time I actually met my neighbor, Tauni of SnapConf. We’d pulled up to our house for the first time, and she was standing outside in her San Francisco Giants hat, watering her yard.
I decided What the heck, I’ll go say hi. Here goes nothing.
I introduced myself and we started chatting. Then she hit me with the news: “I’m thinking about painting my door pink.”
BOOM. Instant BFF, you guys. Like, I couldn’t even believe it.
That was seriously the moment I knew we’d be, in her terms, Nextie Besties.
Since then, I’ve, of course, met and become very close with my other neighbors, Cheryl, Aleisha, and Kerrie, as well.
And, you guys, I could not have asked for a better group of girls to be almost literally surrounded by.
They’re supportive, uplifting, quirky, fun, and, most importantly, they let me use their trampolines whenever I want.
I mean, come on. You can’t beat that in a neighbor!
We’ve spent hours discussing life, kids, and politics. (And not in the demeaning, shouty way; but in the eye-opening, accepting way — like it used to be.)
We’ve cheered each other on at church, and we’ve left silly videos for each other’s doorbell cameras.
We bring each other treats and baked goods, and we lend sugar and chips as needed.
Each month we host game nights, and we celebrate birthdays and important occasions.
We meet out in the alleys for impromptu get-togethers, as well as for planned holiday festivities. (Last week, we had an all-out Halloween spook alley, and everyone brought their A games).
We comfort each other during the hard times, and we crack jokes during the harder ones still.
Our kids play together, and the men in our lives discreetly chat on the street, reluctant to show that they actually love their neighbors, too.
I’ve only lived here a year, but I can tell you that the friendships I’ve made already I will foster and cherish for the rest of my life.
This Thanksgiving season, I am truly grateful that God placed these women in my life and on my block. My world is so much happier and colorful because of them.
All for Band-one, and Band-one for All!