Tuesday, May 31, 2011


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?

Any thoughts?


  1. Hopefully you'll have more opportunities for community once you move.

    I'm probably one of the women you would consider "middle aged"... I'm 40 and single and still praying to find my husband and have children if God allows. I don't consider myself middle aged because middle aged women have kids graduating from high school and husbands that are going through their mid-life crisis!

    Those single women like me, are also looking for community... more so because they don't have the luxury of fitting into a new mommy group, parents of grade-schoolers groups, or empty nesters.
    They have to look at church... because that is what they have in common with any other person there.

    (and I certainly hope they weren't man-bashing -- but I could see how it would sound like it from your point of view. Our generation of women was told {in our 20s} to never let on to a man that we were interested in marriage, for fear it would scare them away. Then we woke up at 30 and 35 and all the men were married.... very hard to figure out! Now, there you sit, young, married and pregnant... everything they've ever wanted.... and it's not like they can go and scout for men in your generation for marriage material.) And it's kind of frustrating to see these younger generations finding marriage so much easier than we did. (or didn't as the case may be)

    I'm just saying, try to be open and generous to those groups you feel you don't have much in common with... because their options are even more limited... and you can be as Christ to them.

  2. TRS, nope, you are definitely not one of the women I would consider to be middle-aged. I don't believe there was a woman below 55 in the group I was referring to (perhaps my idea of middle age starts a bit later than others).

    I'm sorry if I sounded harsh or struck a cord with you, but I was actually trying to be very charitable with my post. Many of the women in that particular group (although by no means all) have been openly rude toward me and especially toward my husband. I am the only one of my close friends to be married (and really, none of the others are even close), so I certainly don't have negative views of unmarried women, regardless of age. In fact, I had many good acquaintances at my old parish that were older, unmarried women whom I found myself to have much in common with. I didn't mean to disparage "single, middle-aged women" in general, just this particular group.

    I really do appreciate your comment, because upon re-reading that passage, I realize that it may have sounded unkind. It was not meant to be. Simply those particular women are incompatible in my search for community in my new home. I hope you will comment again in the future.

  3. I will tell you that I had the hardest time adjusting when I moved to Lafayette. I lived there for three years and did not really feel like I had a friend there. I will say part of it was my fault, I did not want to be rejected, so I did not put myself out there, but also, I was at a different place than the people I met. I was newly married and either had no kids or a newborn, so I didn't really fit in with the other families (or so I thought.) and I did not fit in with the college kids because well, I was older than most of them.

    I have become good friends with a few families there, but only after we moved. That makes it nice for when we go back to visit family, we have the friends to visit too. :)

    I wish that I would have found your blog sooner, I know a few young families there and could have "hooked you up".

    If you don't mind me asking, where about in NC are you moving? We have a couple of priest friends in NC and it would be neat if you were at the same parish!

  4. We are moving to Raleigh - I don't know if anyone you know is there because it seems that every time someone tells me they know someone in NC, it's in Charlotte. Although I've never met someone on a blog before that has referred to living in Lafayette (or Indiana in general, even), so maybe you are the one that knows someone there.

    It is too bad that we hadn't read about each other earlier, because I really could have used someone to talk about the area with, not to mention someone who could hook me up with friends!


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