It’s funny, because when most people think of an apartment complex, the images and ideas that come to mind are that of impersonal, monotone exteriors and blank people. Blank people are people that you may or may not meet directly, but you see them from time to time, maybe share a wave and nothing more. This was what I thought apartments were like before we moved to Brunswick Drive.

Brunswick apartments sit directly off of I-75 and West road in Woodhaven Michigan. If you’ve ever been through them, you would remember that they are single story ranch buildings. Everyone has their own patio and a little “yard” space. You might also recall the mature trees and open green lawn areas that make up the landscape around the units. When Dustin and I were looking for apartments, these were the features that attracted us here. (Not to mention, they accepted our lovely large dog, Zoe….).

When we first moved in, everything was new (including living with each other!) so we were naturally a little nervous about who we might be living around. We kept to ourselves and tried not to bother anyone. Slowly, as the weeks went by and we continued to take our daily walks with our dog, we began to recognize people and to what units they belonged. We even started giving these people names (Sidebar: To give you an example, which still stands today, there is an old woman who walks a large dog everywhere, everyday. Her dog and our dog, would always stare each other down and so we began to call that dog “nemesis”. We never really named the old lady…).

To come to the point, through walking our dog, we began to know people. And after a little time, we actually started talking to folks. We were labeled “the folks with the german shephard”. Through our walks we met Chuck and his dog Jackie (aka, brown and white dog) and Joe Hoover the former occupant of our unit who moved into a two bedroom. I met our favorite neighbor Reggie after I was gardening one day. He said something to me about the soil being clay and well that led to a nearly two hour conversation about everything and anything. Reggie has m.s. and so he does things a little differently in the garden. His results are beautiful and he is very knowledgable. He also has a lot of really cool outdoor lights, and I told him one time that we knew we were home when we saw his glowing red lights. Since then, he has kept them in the same place, just for us.

We met our other neighboors much the same way, either by dog walking, gardening or just being around. It dawned on me the other day that we know over 15 people in our little complex. How many other folks can say that about their own neighborhoods? Do you really know your neighbors well enough to think that if you weren’t home, they’d watch your place? I think I can say that our neighbors would take care of us.

So I think this summer, I would like to try to do something nice for all of my neighbors. I’m not sure what exactly, maybe a BBQ. This is goal number 2.

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