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Out of all the challenges in 2011, Live Aloha In Your Neighborhood was the hardest for me. Eat Local was a close second because I was basically starving for the last week but there's something about meeting neighbors that's terrifying.
After living in my apartment for over 2 years I knew a lot about my neighbors like when they leave for work, what they like to cook for dinner, who smokes, which children cry, and they knew things about me like I have the cutest dog in the world, I work at home (or don't have job), and we grow plants on our balcony. I hear and observe so many personal things about my neighbors yet I don't know something as simple and basic as their names.
The challenge was to go 3 doors down each way to get to know your neighbors in an effort to start building stronger communities, but I couldn't summon the courage to go door to door to introduce myself after all this time. Instead, I found that the awkward elevator ride was a great opportunity to get to know my neighbors.
I had just gone to the farmers market and was carrying a carton of eggs and other produce when my neighbor popped into the elevator with me. I can't remember how the conversation started but we got into talking about eggs. To make a short story even shorter, we officially introduced ourselves and I ended up giving her a couple of the eggs I bought to try. It was so much easier to make that first effort in an elevator because it's going to be awkward either way but the elevator ride (plus the short walk to our doors) would only be a couple of minutes - just enough time for a quick, friendly introduction with no chance of any nervous rambling.
Now I just need to think of a way to talk emergency preparedness without sounding like a 2012 nut job...
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