I've recovered from Lucia's birthday party, and am happy to report that all of my garden plants are still intact. Yesterday, Bede dug a spot for my blueberry and red raspberry bushes. Today, I weeded extensively in the back yard (North) and the West side of our house, planted some new shade and part-shade plants, and dug out a lot of broken glass. Our neighborhood has experienced a lot of crime over the past decades and is in recovery mode now. Our neighbors who have lived here for several generations are concerned about gentrification. I don't want gentrification, but I do want beautification. I pick up a lot of discarded bottles, cans and candy-wrappers on our street. Every time I dig in the yard, I gather large glass shards that have worked its way up from the soil. I feel committed to staying in this neighborhood-- I did plant rhubarb after all-- but there are times when I'm wistful for a setting with fewer issues.
We live in a multicultural neighborhood, and that's the kind of setting in which I want my daughter to grow up. Still, our neighborhood is considered to be "in transition." Many of us have had things stolen from yards, cars broken into, or houses robbed. Some of us have had to deal with other crimes, too. Bede, Lucia and I can take walks in the evening and feel reasonably secure about our safety (as much as anyone can), but Lucia is not allowed to play alone in the front-yard. At one point, some of our neighbors had children, but they've all moved away.
Why do we stay?
1) We bought our house during the 3 seconds that it was a buyer's market in Seattle. At this point, we could easily sell our quirky little house, but we wouldn't be able to afford anything else in the city.
2) We can walk to the library, grocery stores, coffee-shops and other small businesses. We live on a street that has a direct bus-line to Downtown, and most of the time, we need only one car.
4) There is a plethora of Ethiopian restaurants in the area. I grew up in the Washington D.C. Metropolitan area and Ethiopian food was a staple in our family.
5) It takes five years just begin to get settled into one place.