Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Weekly Wednesday Top 10 - Won't you be my neighbor?

There is something just so comforting about having good neighbors. When we bought our house in April, we learned that someone Sean knew lived across the street with his wife and son. As time went on, the weather warmed up and people began emerging from their houses, so we got to know them and meet some of our other neighbors. Many are younger families—all very sweet and welcoming. I told Sean right away that I thought we had lucked out with a great neighborhood.

The block party was a great time to really meet people and get to know them a little better. They’re always so nice to invite us to neighborhood parties, or even just wave hello as we’re passing each other in the alley.

And last night, we had two of our neighbors (and their son) over for dinner. Sean has known the husband and his family for many years—their parents were friends, among other connections. But I just got to know them after moving to the neighborhood. But after last night, it just reaffirmed what I had thought all along – we have great neighbors!

And there’s something to be said about the difference that can make. When Sean and I looked at buying a house, the neighborhood was important to us. Having both grown up in relatively the same area, we wanted the same experience for our first house together. We knew that buying in St. Paul would probably mean “less house for our money,” but the location topped our list of “must haves.”  So when we found this house, we were excited to have gotten the best of both worlds—a great house to start out in and a great location, too. Little did we know the location was even better than we thought, because we’re surrounded by people who make living on this block an absolute joy!

So needless to say, last night was fun. They’re incredibly nice people, and really fun to be around. They are just 1 household of the many who have become great friends on this block, and I look forward to getting to know them all even more. It certainly helps to overshadow the not-so-fun parts of owning this house (like mice and a wet basement).

So with “location, location, location” on the brain – here are the top 10 things I love about living in St. Paul (or our neighborhood in particular):
  1. The great neighbors (and people in general) – duh!
  2. Convenience. I can run to the local grocery store, or the Super Target, in a matter of minutes! And it’s very centrally located to surrounding cities – easy to get to the suburbs and lots of other fun places in and around the Twin Cities.
  3. St. Small – everywhere you go you’ll run into someone you know or discover a connection between two strangers brought on by living in (or being from) St. Paul.
  4. Memories. I grew up here. Sean grew up here. I drive by my high school every day. I run into my elementary school teachers at the grocery store. Everywhere I go I remember living here all my life, and I wouldn’t want it any other way.
  5. Family. My mom lives 6 blocks away. And right in the middle of us, is my grandma. Sean’s family is less than 10 minutes away, just on the other side of the neighborhood. I love being so close to family.
  6. Safety. You’ll find crime in almost any city and St. Paul is no exception. But I still feel relatively safe in my neighborhood, and well protected by our public servants J
  7. It’s a fun city. Examples: the Wild (hockey) play in St. Paul, we’ve got lots of great restaurants, lots to see and do!
  8. It’s the best of both worlds. I can go to the “big-box” retailers or a “mom-and-pop” shop. I can live in a quiet neighborhood but still be minutes from downtown. I get small-town living in the big city!
  9. Camaraderie. People are always there to help you dig your car out from under 3 feet of snow or push you through an intersection when you’re stuck in snow ruts. And when the popular neighborhood burger joint is destroyed by fire, they organize a fundraiser for staff who will be out of work over the holidays – in a matter of days! Minnesota nice right here in St. Paul!  
  10. And finally, it feels like home. Plain and simple. I drive around town and feel completely, 100% at home. I come back from vacation and breathe a big sigh of relief at the familiar surroundings. I love that feeling!
As a disclaimer, I am not saying you wouldn’t find any of these reasons in any other city in Minnesota. These are just the reasons that I (having done it for 25+ years) find living in St. Paul enjoyable.

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