June 08, 2010

Love Thy Neighbour.

Whether we like it or not, most of us are forced to live in a certain proximity to other people. Our neighbours. We can not choose who decides to move next door and thus this kind of involuntary co-existence can often cause friction to a lesser or higher degree.

I read in the news the other day, that neighbour disputes account for a vast majority of filed court cases and many such feuds results in incredible violence.

I really never worried much about my neighbours while living in apartments. There could be the occasional loud music or disturbance coming from above, below or next door, but nothing that would keep me awake at nights. I guess my true awareness of what having neighbours means occurred when I bought my current house, which is also my first house.

I have to state, in no uncertain terms, that I have wonderful neighbours, all things considered. Perhaps sometimes what can raise my irritation level is the very close physical proximity I feel to them, based on the construction of the five chain houses. This becomes painfully apparent when I am outside. Our terraces are adjacent and so close, that I can follow a conversation as if it was taking place on my own patio. Additionally, when in search of solitude, at times I can not find it, as it interrupted by screaming children and loud adults.

It is the good with the bad, as with everything else. My neighbours are helpful and caring, making sure that I am fine considering that I live alone. We own common grassy areas and I need not to worry about mowing the lawn or shoveling the snow on regular bases, as the men will always do that for me. Houses are maintained and painted and I need not to concern myself with such tasks that would otherwise have to be my responsibility, should I live on a property alone.
At times though I miss exactly this kind of independence. The ability to control and being in charge of what happens and when it happens, deciding how tall a hedge should be and when it should be cut. To find the needed tranquility and stillness after a busy day, instead of feeling the oppression of others who I do no choose to be around.
Thus at times and more strongly recently I have felt an urge for a change. An urge to move out into a small cottage in the country side. The dreams and desire are there. But as we all know too well; from a thought to action is a long way.

Until then I take solace in the fact that I live in magnificent place, with stunning views, both proximity to nature and to a bustling metropolis, and even though I am alone, I never feel lonely. Until the time is right, I decide to see the glass half full.

May I ask about your neighbours? Do you have any stories of dispute or stories of wonderful friendship that sprung from being neighbors initially?


Elizabeth said...

Well, our house isn't build in a chain, we can walk all around it. Neighbours are hardly visible but it is the season of splitting wood for the winter. And that ... machine they do it with is making a VERY uncomfortable noise and this is already week 3.

In other words, I am a bit annoyed!!!!

But the sun is shining so now and again. So let's just get on with our lives.

Have a fabulous day.


Avo said...

Have you caught Talli's latest post? It was on a similar subject: http://talliroland.blogspot.com/2010/06/shut-up-please.html.

I live on the ground floor of a city building, and my bedroom is probably the only basement living quarters in the whole street so it's blissfully quiet down there, and I can play or make music as late and as loud as I want. :j

One of the upstairs neighbors is a pianist, a very tall white haired old gentleman with a hunched back, and sometimes in the afternoon, I can hear weird strands of modern piano music seeping through the floor... But it's rare, always faint, and more interesting than annoying.

The same neighbor has a wee cat that we occasionally see staring down at us through the kitchen skylight. It plays the staring game with my cat before waving goodbye and vanishing, I imagine back into the upstairs neighbor's apartment.

Admittedly this is neither a story of friendship or dispute. Just an anecdote about my neighbor who could very well be a character in someone's story. : j

Brian Miller said...

i have always had good neighbors up until this house we are in now...we always did things together and for each other...there is one neighbor now that wants nothing to do with anyone but tell us when our children are too loud...and they are in their early 30s...i dunno...

Elisabeth said...

We've been in the same house since 1980, a largish freestanding house with fences all round. But we live on a main road which limits connections to neighbours strangely, though our immediate neighbours on either side, one family who's lived here longer than us and the others more recent, have been terrific.

We have even put in a gate between us and our long standing neighbours so that we can visit one another without needing to walk all the way around.
Good neighbours are important. Conflict with neighbours is the pits.

Kath said...

Good neighbours are a true blessing. We have been very lucky, because we have always had good neighbours.
However, many years ago, I had a flat above some disused stables. My landlord's sons and their friends would sit under my window, revving their motorbikes and playing their car radio late into the night. I was glad to move away from those little charmers LOL

Sharon Lovejoy said...

Good morning dear Zuzana, I am writing this from the road as we journey our way through many adventures in America.

I live in a city in California, but one neighbor in particular has made it feel very warm and joyful. Eve Neuhaus and her husband Tom have a neighborhood dinner every 1st and 3rd Monday of the month. We all take food and sit at a huge family table where we tell stories, talk politics, environment, and sometimes someone will sing or recite poetry.

Once a year we have a "Food Art" night and everyone creates magical sculptures etc. out of food. Then we dive in and eat it.

I love the new friends I've made there and the open door that helped open my heart.


Sharon Lovejoy Writes from Sunflower House and a Little Green Island

Unknown said...

I am just happy they are caring and helpful. That's very important and our neighbors are the first persons to turn to for any help.
I have had wonderful neighbors. Mr. and Mrs. Neighbor next to my house have been there for almost 15 years! They are helpful and friendly. Though, Mr. Neighbor stares at me all the time!

Have a good day...:)

Sukanya said...

Nice post Zuzana. Yes,I totally agree that we cannot decide who should and should not be our neighbors. We have to learn to live with them. I have a lovely neighbor Zuzana. She is also from my country and we both bonded so well in very less time. We had so many things in common and we both found each other when we both were bored of being alone the whole day until our husbands return from work. We shop together, have coffee now and then, go to the gym together, or just sit back in the pool side and relax together. At the same time I have neighbors, who dont have time to mingle with each other. Infact i really dont know who else is residing in the apartments in my floor. How bizzare is that !! :)

Have a great day Zuzana.


Bhushavali said...

Nice Post... Neighbours form an integral part of yout life in non-urban part of India. Here its like a big community.. Everyday people get together and chat something.. :)

My Best Friend's Engagement
My Outfit at My Best Friend's Engagement

Claus said...

I've had my current neighbors my entire lifetime. I have the nosy neighbor, the absent one (rarely see them), the problematic one...I supposed I'm used to them at this point. The owner of the house in front of mine, though, prior to moving to it himself (he lived in the countryside), he rented it to a few men. They rarely stayed in the house, but when they did, they brought suspicious women (if you know what I mean) and organized the loudest parties. No ONE was pleased, and my mother often told the owner he had chosen the worst of tenants. He never did anything, until word was they were drug dealers!, and kidnappers!! can you imagine?! They left, the owner moved in, and peace and tranquility came back to our block.
So many stories to share about neighbors...
have a great day!

Betsy Brock said...

So true! We have a joke here that whenever we decide to eat dinner on the back porch, our next door neighbor decides to start up his riding mower and cut his grass....without fail! LOL!

Paul C said...

There is a house that is rented next door. There is a single father with a teenage son. I try to talk to the son whenever possible and see how it is going at school. I have given him some early morning rides to school for sports practice.

Hilary said...

I live in a very close-knit neighbourhood where at least 8 of the families get together on a regular basis. It's been wonderful for the past couple of decades. Before that this street was more transient and we had a few choice neighbours whom I'd like to forget. Overall though.. it's a joy to live here.

Nessa said...

I am superficially friendly with my neighbors. I like to say hello and comment on the weather. That sort of thing. My husband becomes friends with them. We have relatively quiet neighbors at the right times, at night, Sunday mornings.

Mimi said...

Hi Zuzana!
Oh, the stories I have about our neighbours! One lot have fallen out with half the road, and only talk to some of us when they're looking for money to get drains cleared!!
Even so, I like very much living around people, and the thing you write of here that people look out for you, that is good.
Speaking of houses, I've moved house (in blog terms) so in case you can't find me, just click on this comment. Not sure if the old link works...out of my depth with technology!

Kelly said...

What a great post. We used to live way out in the country in a run down, 100 year old house that we rented for about 6 years. We fixed the house up, and did many repairs to the house in exchange for cheaper rent. We had no neighbors. I could walk outside in my night gown and sit on my porch and enjoy my coffee all alone. I had a time or two where I would run out the door nude (horrible site) to retrieve my clothes off the clothes line. About 10 years ago I inherited the house I live in now. Although we are still considered out in the country, we have close neighbors who live really close in front of us. Their back yard and our side yard connect. When we first moved here, I could not get used to the fact of how close they were. I kept the blinds closed to the window that was closest to their house. However, directly behind my house, I have 15 acres of land all to myself. So I spent the majority of time out back. After a few months of adjusting, and talking with my neighbors, we became really good friends. My blinds now remain open, and I couldnt ask for a better friend. They are about 20 years older than me, but I could count on them and trust them with my life. They have no children, so when mine were younger they treated them as if they were their grandkids. They would bring surprises from the store, have them over every Sunday for ice cream,take them to the movies..etc. Since my daughters are both teens now, they dont spend as much time with them because my girls are always on the go.

About a half mile down the street there is a man who lives alone and thinks he has to spend all his time at our house. It does get very annoying. We actually have to tell him he has to go home! If not he would stay all night, i swear. He borrows all kind of stuff from us all the time from lawn mower, to vaccum cleaner, to sugar. He even asked one day could he use my toilet because his was out of order!!! What was I to do? So I let him in to use my toilet, but after 2 days, 4 times a day asking to use the toilet I told him it was about time for him to get his toilet repaired. The other day my husband, daughters and I came home and found him wondering around in my husbands shed. When we asked what he was doing, he said he was looking for a shovel. My husband gave him a piece of his mind and asked him to please not rummage around the shed or our property while we are away. He actually asked him real nicely. HOwever, I think he was offended because we have not seen him in 5 days. I cant say I miss him though. lol

sprinkles said...

For the most part, my neighbor has been pretty good to me. He usually mows my front yard in the summer and shovels the snow in the winter.

I hated living with my parents. The people in their neighborhood like to play their music VERY loudly at all hours of the day and night. I guess my parents are used to it as it doesn't seem to bother them. It greatly angers me that I can't even hear myself think over there sometimes. It's not bad at all in the winter but it's horrendous in the summer. Calling the police does no good.

Thanks for your advice about the camera. I didn't get a memory card with the camera. I think I have it figured out but I still have to play around with it.

S. Susan Deborah said...

Neighbours: Well, no mowing or any clearing required so not much in that aspect. Our neighbours are placed pretty close to our house since we live in a colony. Sometimes, I do get bugged by them as they come over to our place and ask for many things like sugar, lemons, tea, money, etc.. The children come into our house when we are busy doing some work. Apart from these things, there is an imaginary boundary which is drawn and I am happy for that.

Joy always,

Anonymous said...

I actually feel sorry for my neighbour - I can't imagine that living next door to me, Mec and a cockatoo is a walk in the park ;0)

Linda Bob Grifins Korbetis Hall said...

Glad that you live in a lovely neighborhood,
Mine is cool,
very peaceful and polite!

United Studies said...

I can honestly say we have never had "bad" neighbors. They are all friendly and keep personal spaces personal. :-)

That doesn't mean I don't sometimes wish I lived on 100 acres far from neighbors. :-)


my favorite home was the time i spent in a beach-front cottage with no one and nothing for neighbors but sand and sun and ocean breezes and marsh grasses and birds overhead and critters on the ground - fabulous!!! and i miss it still!

Donna said...

We are very fortunate to have good neighbors and most always have. Sometimes things arise that are bothersome, but I usually figure out a way to overcome it. I like privacy so I let my shrubs and bushes grow taller.

I think I know just how you are feeling. Sometimes it's all in how we look at it.

Enjoy your day, Zuzana.


Julie Hibbard said...

The old adage is true...you can't choose your neighbors--or your relatives! Better to attempt to love them, as the good book says.
My neighbors? Well the man next door has asked me out 912 times and just does not seem to know the meaning of the word no...
And the people down below me? Well, the smell of their marijuana whiffs into my home on a daily basis.
Beats the heck out of the guy asking me out.

Phivos Nicolaides said...

Who doesn't have?

Alberto Hugo Rojas said...

I hope you have a nice day.
on my blog on the right. at the bar.
taductor have a blog. put it in English. So they may understand everything you said on my blog.
Happy day and thanks for visiting

SandyCarlson said...

Some days solitude is just the balm, but it's good you are surrounded by good people.

steviewren said...

During my adult life I've only lived in 3 different places.

Our first apartment was a small basement apartment with a noisy landlord. We weren't there long.

Our second home was in the neighborhood I'd grown up in. My next door neighbor was a sweet older woman who my middle son said he planned to marry one day. We had sidewalks out front and the children rode their riding toys up and down the block with neighborhood children.

After 12 years, we moved into my present home. I've been here for 21 years, half of them married with children at home. Then divorced and for the last 3 or 4 years I've lived here alone.

I've never really been able to get to know my neighbors in this neighborhood like I was in the old one. But, every time I mow the lawn I fantasize that one of the men on the block will come over and finish the job for me! lol

Reading Tea Leaves said...

I've been a lazy blogger of late Zuzana so forgive me for my recent absences!

It's good to hear that you have such supportive neighbours - so important I think when you live alone - and despite the noise issues I think its reassuring to be in close proximity with people. However, I can just picture you in that small cottage in the country!

I have wonderful neighbours in our little lane - almost a small hamlet within a village. Everyone is always very helpful and we share the produce from our kitchen gardens. My next door neighbour is one of my best friends - long before she became my neighbour!

Oh and I hope to be blogging on a more regular basis soon.


Unknown said...

just moved here in February and since summer is just here haven't really met any neighbors. we say hi if we are both out in the yards but I not gone over to any houses. I am a little shy that way.

Ola said...

I used to live close to an older guy who always opened his door when somebody was knocking on my door, to see. When it was happening I got obviously nervous. Now he is no longer with us and somehow I have a feeling that I have not appreciated that he fulfiling his interest in others lifes, also was the best guard of my house...

Anonymous said...

Neighbours have never really bothered me. I wear a hearing aid anyway, so it's not like I hear much unless it's a truly horrific to-do of some kind (which is rare around here).

Home is wherever my wife is, so I could literally live in a cardboard box if that's where she was (not that I WANT to live in a cardboard box!). Yeah, I guess in that sense home is not so much the building as it is the folks that are in the building with you. :)

Zuzana said...

Elizabeth, Alesa, Brian, Elizabeth (welcome), Kath, Sharon, Mr. Stupid, Sukanya, Bhushavali, Radka, Claudia, Betsy, Paul, Hilary, Nessa, Mimi, Kelly, sprinkles, Susan, Eternally…, Jingle, Jacki, Gypsywoman, Donna, Julie, Philip, Alberto, Sandy, Stevie, Jeanne, Doreen, Ola (welcome) and Tony – I thoroughly enjoyed reading your own sentiments about neighbours and loved the stories that you shared here with me.

As few of us can function in complete solitude, having people around us, whom we get along, is of vital importance. If that is not the case, at least it makes for some great stories to tell later on.;)

Thank you all for your time and lovely comments, your visits mean more than I can ever express words.


swenglishexpat said...

Judging from the many comments it is a very interesting subject. I am in the enviable situation where I can speak Swedish with my wife so the neighbours don't understand. Fabulous! We have mostly neighbours, but there is always potential for conflict. N.B. Here in Germany it is illegal to cut your lawn on a Sunday, or hang your washing in the garden and other more obscure prohibitions!

Linda Bob Grifins Korbetis Hall said...


I am busy,
but do remember you..
Happy June!

Zuzana said...

Swenglishexpat and Jingle, thank you for your take on neighbours; speaking a foreign language truly helps.;)) xoxo

Stickhorsecowgirls said...

I don't know how I missed this post, because I read your blog regularly, but I did! I love this post so much because it reminds me that in my life, many of my neighbors have become dear lifelong friends! "C" and I were only 3 yrs. old when her family moved into the house they built next door to ours. I remember our parents talking in the backyard and "C" and I playing on the swingset in my backyard for the first time! There were the boys next door we played with and Rita and her three kids across the street. Red-haired Randy from up the street with his Davy Crockett coonskin cap singing in our backyard. When I grew up our neighbor, Igor, a Polish immigrant who is still my dear friend, helped me watch over my little ones as he worked in his garden. He lost his wife of over 50 yrs. this past Dec. All of us from the old neighborhood, gathered together to support him. Although we've lived in the country for 10 yrs. now, our bonds with our old neighbors in town remain strong. For the most part, my neighbors are friends who have enriched and blessed my life!