Now that I'm pregnant, I've been thinking a lot about community. No matter how hard we tried, we haven't been able to be part of a community here. We've only lived here ten months (well, I've only lived here ten months, my husband's been here three years) and I understand that it takes a while to become part of the community, but I've found many of our entry points closed.
We live in an area that is mostly college students, and while most of the people that live in our apartment complex are graduate students, many married and with children, they are mostly foreign students. I think most of them want to move back to their home country and don't make it a priority to build a community here, or if they do it's with others from their culture. When my husband and I go on walks around the complex, our "hellos" are not returned. It makes me very lonely coming from a place where everyone was friendly and those in the neighborhood knew each other. Granted, I didn't come from a small town where "everyone knows everyone" but I did often run into old schoolmates (or their parents) at the grocery store and I certainly recognized the neighbors and would say hello to them on a regular basis.
My husband and I have also tried to get involved in our church, going to the simple soup suppers during Lent, teaching Sunday school, and attending the "Catholicism 101" class that the priest offered last fall. Almost all in attendance were single middle aged (or older) women. While they were kind, I really have very little in common with them (and the man bashing that sometimes occurred when these women got together made my husband very uncomfortable - and me too, quite frankly). There are young couples, with and without children, that attend church on Sundays, but they are never at other church events.
I think the city we live in is part of the problem, it seems that most people here have either lived here all their lives or are college students. Grad students don't fit into that picture very well, and especially not the wives of grad students. While my husband knows many other grad students, they don't tend to be too sociable - they are too busy. And when I do attend their events, I'm always the lone spouse (although many of the men are married, interestingly not the women though). It seems that the other spouses have found social outlets elsewhere (probably jobs) while my job involves interaction with teens and not many adults.
I'm don't mean to complain, mostly I'm just reflecting on what the situation is here so I can try to do something different when we move to North Carolina this summer. Community was such a big part of my childhood - playing with neighborhood children, going to church events and neighborhood barbecues. And I think it was a very positive part of my childhood, something I want my children to remember. My mom still exchanges Christmas cards with her childhood neighbors - will my children have that same opportunity or is the word just different now, not so personal, more plugged in to the internet than connected to the neighborhood?