Last night Ben and I went to a holiday open house that our neighbor three houses up was hosting. We got to see neighbors that we know/ meet a lot of neighbors that we've seen but never met. It was surprisingly nice, and I was struck by something about our neighborhood-- we live among some incredibly unpretentious, down to earth people.
Now, I'll admit, when we first moved here from Somerville, one thing that I couldn't verbalize but missed was the trendiness of our old neighborhood. In Somerville, there were tons of independent coffee shops, funky people, and quirky happenings (like these crazy massive bike rides through the streets). Our little corner of Falls Church, on the other hand, is humble. Unlike in Somerville, the people are not all young urban professionals, but there's truly a mix-- some young couples, some people who have lived here for decades, some middle aged families with older kids. The houses aren't super trendy-- they're stable reliable brick ramblers built in the 50s. Some have been renovated to look cute and craftsman-y, others have received these horrible makeovers that make you scratch your head in wonder. Others are just plain little homes that are unpretentious and functional.
Last night, though, I realized this amazing asset about our neighborhood-- the people, like the homes, are unpretentious and down to earth. Yes, we could have moved to Del Ray (a renovated part of Alexandria that is all the rage right now), but I bet we would have inherited some neighbors with lots of "image" issues-- let's face it; in order to be willing to pay the price to live in the hottest neighborhood in town, you've really got to care about what people think about you. Here, there's an assortment of people; the woman who hosted the open house has a knack for interior decorating and is the most amazing mother to two boys, one with autism; her neighbor across the street has lived here for 50 years, and was sweet enough to notice and compliment our window boxes; there are older childless couples, a couple that just adopted a little girl from accross the country, and then some young couples with babies and toddlers. It felt so... normal and down to earth. People were wearing horrible Christmas sweaters, jeans, ridiculously out of style long skirts, and a few were dressed trendily, but it seemed like no one cared, and I loved that. Jen, the hostess, made a comment at some point in the evening to the effect of, "We're never really planning on moving from here." I've been thinking about it all day, and have realized that I would be totally happy to become that woman who has lived here for 50 years.