Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Thoughts on Moving - Location, Location, Location

Yesterday at church we chatted with a couple that have lived in Los Angeles all of their lives. As someone who had lived here all of his life he mentioned that he was surprised that Angelenos appear to be insular; and he couldn't figure out why that appeared to be so. He came to this conclusion after his house was broken in to while he was on vacation. This incident forced him and his wife to come out of their comfort zone and chat with their neighbors but it seems like the neighbors were quite comfortable in their boxes. No one saw anything suspicious activity around their house while they were gone. It almost seems as if most of the neighbors were truly minding their own business. Since the break in they've made an effort to connect with their neighbors.

We debated the merits of why the locals seem to stick to themselves, but came up with no good answers.

Later that day, I decided to talk to a neighbor. It's LA, so there's always something being filmed. The whole neighborhood received notices that the reality show "I Hate My Yard" was being filmed on our block. So we all knew which house it was (not because the yard was ugly, but because the notice stated the address). Being curious, I started to talk to this particular neighbor and she invited me over to see what the show had done so far. As we were leaving her yard, she saw my Little One on her scooter and recognized her from school. It turns out they both knew each other.

“Walls people build around themselves” Quote

All  of this got me thinking about insularity:

  • Someone has got to be brave and say hello first. 
  • People are usually really welcoming if you are friendly. 
  • You might not get a connection the first time but you have to be persistent, especially if it's who you are. 
  • It's worth it in the long run. 
  • People may have built walls around themselves and perhaps have forgotten the reasons why. 
  • It's easy to stay to yourself, harder to reach out, but more rewarding. 
  • We won't know what each person is going through until we start talking to them. 
  • At their core most people want to connect. 
  • Life is more fun with friendly neighbors.

If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,”[a] you are doing right. James 2:8 (NIV)

Do you know your neighbors? Do you make an effort to connect with them? Why would an entire town, village, etc be known as being insular?


  1. This is a beautiful post I enjoyed reading and thinking about. There was a time when neighbors were more neighborly. It seems harder these days but being open and receptive to a conversation is often all that is needed to jump start a relationship. Of all the places I have lived, where we are living now is by far the friendliest, though I have been blessed with special neighbors. This realization has been shocking to me and hubster.

    Three new families moved in around the same time over the summer of 2013, me included. It made connecting super easy. "How many boxes do you have, hmmmm?" Other newly installed neighbors were openly friendly, allowing for easy connection. With the winter months being exceptionally gruesome (we are getting another huge snow storm tomorrow), there is a lot less interaction and whole lot more hunkering down. I haven't seen a neighbor in months, except for those bundled up from head to toe, shoveling snow and chopping accumulated ice in their driveway.

    With me, I just need to stop moving around. Staying put also makes it easier to connect.

  2. We speak to our neighbour across from us...but I probably need to be more mindful of all of them!

  3. In NY we knew our neighbors rather well. They will shovel for us if it snowed while we were at work and Sean would do the same for them. We invited each other over for dinner and went out to dinner. If we had a party we were always invited and vice versa. Our neighbors would bring treats to our dogs ... it was so nice to know that we had neighbors who could look out for us when we weren't around and they are doing it now with our house in NY. I miss that since our neighbors here in PA ... let's just say that it hasn't been the best experience.

  4. I do know some of my neighbors and I have a neighbor that when we moved in brought us a big pile of cookies. I think it's always good to say hello and be friendly- what's the worst that can happen? they don't say hello back. :)

  5. My mom has lived in a suburb in Los Angeles for over 20 years and she may know one or two of her neighbors. I live in Charlotte and I know a few of mine. I have one that I am really close to and he and his partner always look out for me which I love. Oh, and when I lived in Los Angeles I didn't know my neighbors at all.


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