It’s this time of year that makes me sad to be eventually leaving coastal Connecticut. Here we are, living right where the Revolutionary War was fought, celebrating Independence Day with that New England flair and flavor that I’ve always loved.
There are two neighborhood Facebook groups that I have joined. One for residents in Black Rock, Connecticut, where I live, and one for Mérida, where I will live. Right now, it’s hard to tell one from the other: mosquitoes are the big topic on both. Both groups are sharing recipes for homemade repellents. There are other similarities: local merchants promote their goods, people gripe about speed bumps and doggies and kitties are introduced for adoption. Where’s the best place for wings? People on both groups want to know.
The Black Rock community group started after storm Sandy, a horrible disaster that seems to have pulled our community closer. In Mérida, just the everyday challenges of adjusting to a new culture brings English-speaking expats together, to commiserate, squabble or just share their accomplishments. But I swear, when I see my neighbors in Black Rock strolling the neighborhood, or gathered for Black Rock Day, these folks could pass for Mérida expats. To me, they have the same DNA, because they’re intelligent, intellectually curious and dynamic. It’s a very special neighborhood here, and we were lucky to be able to buy here when we were so young. Twenty years later, we’re starting to notice a lot of new faces around the ‘hood. The old guard is dying off, and we’ve become the new old guard.
Our trees have grown too tall to get a glimpse of the Fairfield fireworks tonight, but luckily our neighbors will be sharing their view with us. Among are neighbors are a pair of empty-nesters almost our parents’ age. Our first week here, the wife came out with a tray of iced tea when she saw us pulling weeds in the front yard. I wonder if they know that they’ve come to feel a little like surrogate Mom and Dad. They make us feel like we’re still “the boys” who somehow managed to snag that yellow cape on the bend that lingered on the market for a year. That pretty little house with the magnolia trees and cedars, but perhaps too small for a family with kids, and a garden that was too much work. Around the corner is a surrogate sister, a dear friend who can’t seem to shake a relentless series of family disasters. Her home has been the spot we celebrate every holiday these days. Eventually, both houses will be sold and occupied by strangers, and we’ll have new neighbors, unless we sell and leave first.
On the other side of the street, a couple with a definite exit plan is on Facebook posting construction photos of their next house in Tennessee. Their Black Rock house is already on the market. They’re not shy about saying “goodbye.” But when people ask me “what’s new” I usually don’t tell them the most interesting “new” thing in our lives … the house we’re building in Mérida. We don’t like long goodbyes and we’re not able to go just yet, even though we have resolved that it’s time for farewell.