My sister brought this handpainted magnet back for me from her work trip to El Salvador last year. How cool is this one? It's painted on a tree!
Ok, fine. Painted on wood.
Still! Someone's little fingers painted this one. (Yeah, let's not delve too much into that, otherwise, I'll be forced to recollect all those sad books I had to read in International/Third World Politics at Carolina.)
I love that it's a little village of just two houses...with possibly a parrot over in the corner? (Or is that a shell? I dunno.)
I've been thinking a lot of the notion of home lately. It's funny, because when I'm in New York, I refer to North Carolina as home. And when I'm in North Carolina, I refer to New York as home. Truth is, they both are, really.
Someone FB-statused last week it used to be that once upon a time she couldn't wait to live in the big city, but recently she's realized that she loves living in a small town, because within 20 minutes of something happening, everyone knows, and has called, come over, cried, prayed or laughed with you.
That's kind of like my nightmare. That's the very reason I moved to the anonymous big city, so that I wouldn't have that issue of people knowing my business. (Not that I got called out as the doctor's daughter buying alcohol at Food Lion, or anything. Heh.)
So, for the past 14 years and up to late last year, I've lived in this building, not knowing more than my neighbor's name, the neighbor down the hall's daughter's name, the other neighbor down the hall's name and her dog's name. Annnnd, that's pretty much it.
Part of that was because I was a total workaholic getting home in the wee hours of the night. But the bigger part of that was because I was trying to be the most model tenant, making no waves, flying under the radar, truly embracing the comforting anonymity of a giant 23-story building.
Now that I've joined our tenants alliance (I can hear you laughing from here), in an effort to help us rent stabilized folks keep our homes in light of new owners, it's become the opposite. Last night, we gave candidate statements (shhh, I still hear you laughing), and as I looked around the lobby at our little community, I realized I've been missing out all these years, right in my own home.
Folks who have lived here for 20 and 30 years were friends with each other, were catsitters for each other. Some were joking around, even arguing with each other, but most with shared experiences.
People tend to think that in a city of 8 million people, that it's hard to create a circle of friends. I've managed to do it, collecting people from work and other places. I never thought to do it in my building.
It's sad to realize this now, now that we could possibly lose our homes. But it does make me realize that going forward, it probably wouldn't hurt to get to know the neighbors...now, and wherever I might end up next.
But hopefully it's here, in this building. I always swore I wouldn't leave this apartment (or New York) until they dragged me kicking and screaming. Despite my issues of the last year, I love it too much. It's home. Sigh. Wish us luck.