Moving to a new home (and a new neighborhood) can be both an exciting and daunting task. It takes time to unpack, get your bearings, and establish a sense of comfort with neighbors.
In this “tech” age, we are not as forced to rely on our neighbors as we once were. If our car isn’t starting, we don’t borrow jumper cables. We call AAA or order an Über. Need that preverbal cup of sugar? That’s what Amazon Fresh is for. As a society we are more insulated and protective. Today, we may regard Wilson from the 90s sitcom Home Improvement (and his peering eyes over the fence) more as creepy than a source of companionship.
However, it is still important – and mutually beneficial – to know the people who reside around you. They could offer lasting friendships for you and/or your kids, lend important information regarding your community, assist in a pinch when you need them or, they could be the one in need of support: a senior widower, a newly single parent, or someone recovering from an ailment.
Here are some tips you can apply when welcoming a new neighbor to your community:
1 Look for a natural moments for face-to-face introductions. The best time to say hello is when your new neighbor is outside, unloading the moving van, working in the yard, or taking in the mail. A hearty wave, a handshake, and an exchange of names and pleasantries is all it takes to break the ice. Typically, the “newbies” are waiting for existing neighbors to make the first move, so do it soon upon their arrival to avoid an awkward time lag.
2 Welcome gift. After the initial introduction, when I feel the gesture will be well-received, I like to drop off platter of my famous red pepper enchiladas. [See recipe below.] New homeowners are so busy settling-in, arranging the utility hook-ups, and locating the box of pots and pans. Home-cooked comfort food goes a long a way in extending a warm welcome. Not a cook? Collect your favorite take-out menus, put them in an envelope with a nice note, and stick it in their mailbox!
3 If you’re the newbie. According to Emily Post, a housewarming gathering is one of the only parties you can throw for yourself. When you’re feeling good and ready, host a little gathering with refreshments and simple stationed appetizers. Early evening, before dinner, is the best time to host your housewarming. It self-limits the soiree to just a couple hours.
4 Don’t take it personally. We all have different social boundaries. Even if your efforts don’t spark a strong neighborly bond, you’ve done your part in letting your neighbors know you are kind and you are there. After all, “home” is more than the four walls that surround you, it’s the community that surrounds you.
Do you have some welcome tips or recipes? Share them with me.
Here to help you home,
Hannah’s “Welcome Neighbor” Enchiladas
• 1 roasted chicken (hot from the grocery store is fine!)
• 4 jars of roasted red pepper
• 4 garlic cloves
• 1/3 shredded onion
• 1 1/2 cup of mixed shredded cheese
• 1 pack of 10” tortillas
• Salt and cumin to taste
• Juice of 2 limes
Put peppers, garlic, onions, salt, cumin and lime juice in a blender, and blend until smooth.
Add one cup of your sauce and cheese to the chicken and mix
One-by-one, roll the enchiladas with the chicken mix.
Coat the bottom of the cooking pan with the sauce, add enchiladas, and coat the top.
Bake at 375-degrees without cheese until tortillas start to crisp (approx 20 min).
Add cheese and finish in the oven until cheese is melted (at least 10 min).