An ode to neighbourhoods


Mt Eden viewed from One Tree Hill

Image via Wikipedia


Not too long ago, a story broke about a power outage in my area. I’ve lived here since March. Yet, I had no idea where the street in question was. I consulted Google Maps; turned out the affected road was just around the corner from my house.

That’s in stark contrast to my old neighbourhood; I lived in the same area, or the same cluster of suburbs, for over 10 years. From White Swan Rd to the Titirangi Rd end of New Lynn and from New Windsor in the north to the bottom of Lynfield, I bet I could name and locate (or at least recognise) most of the streets off the top of my head. After all, I’ve walked or driven down most of them at some point back in the day.

I really took that for granted. When you grow up somewhere, it becomes your playground. I was lucky to grow up in a safe, quiet area, with half-decent schools, near a (unswimmable) beach, with lots of parks and bush walks. It may not be as handy as where I live now, but it’s a hell of a lot more affordable. I could NEVER afford to buy a house in Mt Eden, let alone Epsom. And even given the choice, I’m not sure I’d want to. It’s a little bit too posh for me; I would never feel quite as home as I would in my old down-to-earth, staunchly middle-class ‘hood.

How well do you know your neighbourhood? Would you ever return to the area where you grew up?

5 thoughts on “An ode to neighbourhoods

  • Reply gem October 16, 2010 at 05:07

    It is amazing how little I know my current neighborhood. I’ve lived here for almost a year and a half and just last week learned that there is a liquor store two blocks away. (I’d been complaining about how there wasn’t one and my roommate was like “False…”) See, I view my neighborhood as uber-urban and low-class, so I assume that it has nothing to offer me and I travel to other neighborhoods I know better and trust. But my neighborhood apparently has everything I need too! I discovered a breakfast place down the road, a coffee shop literally one block away, two bars I didn’t know existed, a pizza place with fantastic pizza… so many things I didn’t know about! And I found out my grocery store sells quinoa! I always just assume things don’t exist here and then blamo, 2 different brands of quinoa in my face.

    And yes, I can probably name every street in my childhood neighborhood. But that’s because they’re all tree names. It’s so hard to compare that one and this one though because this is NYC and that was suburbia. (I lived behind a mall, so cliche!) My mom still lives in the same house I was born into and I go back every year and there’s little things that are different, but if she ever moves I’m going to be beyond sad. It’s really comforting to know a place that thoroughly…

  • Reply Kara October 16, 2010 at 06:21

    I like to think that I know my neighbourhood pretty well! I suppose I’m kind of a know-it-all that way, but at least I’m good at giving people directions!

    I too could probably name every street in the town where I grew up, and name at least three people who live on that street. Gotta love small towns! I like visiting my hometown, but I don’t particularly want to move back.

  • Reply aloysa October 16, 2010 at 10:47

    I would NEVER return a neighborhood where I grew up… or to that country. Last time I was there was five years ago, spent a week and could not wait to get out. It is sad but that’s how it is.

  • Reply Everyday Tips October 16, 2010 at 12:01

    When I was little, I loved the neighborhood I grew up. It had parks all over the place, and my friends all lived so close by. What I didn’t realize at the time is that our neighborhood was poor. It wasn’t until I was older and saw how other people lived, and I was more aware of the crime in my area that I realized my neighborhood wasn’t so great. So now, I would never want to return to where I grew up.

    I love my current house, but I hate my neighborhood. Nobody really socializes and everyone just keeps to themselves. It is incredibly safe and has wonderful parks though. I know what you mean though about not wanting to live where it is too ‘posh’. I wouldn’t fit in there at all!

  • Reply Maggie October 16, 2010 at 17:37

    West Auckland ftw… and people think that West is full of gangs and is unsafe…… (i.e my bf -_-)

    I do agree with you. I grew up in Henderson and it’s been close to schools and been safe and all that. It’s a really nice place to grow up, come to think of it. Although, when it comes to uni, it is far away from places and for socialisation >.<

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