Having finally, and with much help, bought the flat we’ve been living in for two or three years (or rather a very small percentage of it), we decided last week to throw a party for our neighbours.
Past experience of neighbourhood parties has been mixed. Our experience is limited to the few attempts we have made over the last 2 1/2 years, although we did get to go to our Ecuadorian neighbour’s birthday party recently which was FAB. Great cake. We hosted Christmas drinks last year and two households made an appearance: our most loyal friends in the block. To be honest, whatever we do, we can count on our amazing next door neighbour Frank who has been here for more than 50 years, and our neighbours Dawn and Clifford. Everybody else declined to join us.
Early on someone suggested that it was fairly intimidating to come into a flat full of people that you don’t know but who live next to you, and we do have many nationalities in this little block who don’t always rub together nicely (especially if someone’s dog always pees outside your front door)…so we decided to start inviting people over one at a time…before we started throwing anymore parties.
Last summer, encouraged by lots of fun neighbourly dinners, we decided to hold a block bbq and get everyone together (and we invited a few friends from church so that we weren’t just standing alone in the car park…). After handing out home-made invites and hearing enthusiastic response we were more than a little confused when none of our regular friends from the block came along (EXCEPT the wonderful Frank, Dawn and Clifford). But then weirdly all kinds of people we’d never met before pitched up, including a small group (hoard? host? gaggle?) of wonderful Nigerian mums I had never met, who established themselves in the car park and were still there when we’d packed up, sitting on our dining room chairs.
There’s been quite a turn-over in the block in the last year, but we’ve been trying to get to know the folk on our floor at least (currently Polish, Ghanaian, British, West Indian, Nigerian, Ugandan and Ecuadorian), so once again we (well, mainly Andy) enthusiastically presented home-made invites and encouraged them to come along. And we invited a few other friends to bolster the numbers.
So, 7.30 on the dot and two large families arrive, and within half an hour we’re wondering where to put everyone. AMAZING! And people actually met and talked to each other. I even found out one of my neighbours specialises in music and entertainment law and is therefore perfectly placed to advise The Ruby Dolls on our current copyright conundrums. Helpful!
It’s feeling more and more like home here, and like maybe a good story is starting….