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Maybe it’s the cleaning products in the kitchen, or the onions I just cut up for my last Crock Pot Black Bean Chili in my apartment, but I’m feeling a little teary tonight.

Last night I put out a request for help packing up the moving truck on Saturday morning. Within a few hours, I had four young men who live in my building volunteer to help me, and an all-day cat-sitter for the boyz – one of their favorite “Aunties”, just upstairs.

I made my final run as a University District, Seattle resident to Trader Joe’s tonight. As I left I felt like giving a huge “Thank you!” I have often said that despite the noise, I love my neighborhood due to the conveniences it offers: Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, run of the mill groceries, drug stores, five movie theaters, Scarecrow Video i.e. the best video rental store you’ll ever walk into, a Goodwill you could dress fashion models in, the Y, two used book stores, an awesome art store, cafes and any ethnic, vegetarian, vegan, gluten free, dairy free food you might think of, all within walking distance! By “within walking distance” I mean just blocks away. I guess I don’t usually think of the fact that if it weren’t for the folks who work at these places I frequent, I wouldn’t have enjoyed my nine years in this neighborhood nearly as much as I have. While it’d be easy to chalk up my sudden burst of sappiness to the onions, I do feel genuinely thankful.

I also saw Jim, the homeless man who wears a plastic bag on his head. Despite the ban on plastic bags last year, he has managed to keep up his wardrobe. I wondered what it will be like to not see him walking around, or hanging out in the laundromat. I’ll even miss the bankers who used to drive me nuts with their overly interested and excited questions about my day, but who ended up my Facebook friends when they moved on to different branches.

I moved here nine years ago on purpose, to live near the kids I was working with – kids who couch-surfed or lived on the streets or in the parks of this neighborhood. I still see some of their faces, a bit more mature, on the Ave. They are getting by, singing songs on the sidewalk with their friends and their dog and cat. I imagine they stay in part for the reasons I’ve stayed… there is a community here, people they know, who know them. People who help out when they ask for it.

As I sit here overlooking the fire station, wrong way traffic on a one-way street and the occasional drunken screams of break-ups, I know the annoyances will fade and I’ll miss the community I’ve formed – and which has formed me – here in my abode. The treasures will remain in my heart as I begin to form a new community just an hour and a half down the highway.

Ok, back to the onions…

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