The thing that made me most interested in writing this blog is about the people that I have been meeting in my neighborhood. There is a song on Sesame Street about people in your neighborhood and I have included a link for your enjoyment if you are not familiar with the song or want to walk down memory lane like me.
Anyways, in 2010, the racial makeup of the city of Troy, MI was 74.1% White, 4.0% African American, 0.2% Native American, 19.1% Asian, 0.6% from other races, and 2.0% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.1% of the population. This seemed pretty normal to me until I saw the Asian percentage. We connected with a real estate agent in the area and she suggested we look at Somerset Apartments because they were family friendly and affordable. She did mention that the population is heavily Asian and so some people complain about the smell of the cooking (garlic, spices, etc). We lived next to a family from India in Greenwood, IN when we were first married and we never minded the smell so we weren’t worried. We also love to cook so it would be terrible if we got to try some of our neighbor’s cooking. First day we lived here, I met the neighbor across the hall from us. She and her family are from Albania and she speaks very little English. We had a confusing first conversation about where I was from because I told her I was from Indiana which sounds a lot like Indian. We finally managed to communicate that I am American. We also had a confusing conversation about laundry which she calls “wash”. We manage to get by with sign language and smiles and less verbal conversation. I enjoy her smile and how sweet she is to my kids. We have a an Indian family, the Albanian family, and us (the “Americans”) living on the second floor. I met another neighbor downstairs that speaks little English but I have not asked her where she is from yet. Everyone enjoys meeting our kids so they are good conversation starter.
I had a frustrating experience with our laundry downstairs. We only have one washer and dryer for 8 units but most of the people are not home during the day, I don’t think. We caught up on all of our laundry at a laundromat before Scott went back to work. Now, I am trying to keep with it. I took a load of laundry down one day last week around 2 pm and went to take it out of the washer 30 minutes later and another family’s clothes were still in the dryer. I kept going down every half hour and no one came to get the clothes. I finally left a note asking for that person to knock on our door or call us once the dryer was available. Around 6 pm, our neighbor across the hall knocks on our door and apologizes. It was frustrating but at least he apologized.
On another multicultural note, last Wednesday I took Elizabeth to her first story hour at the Troy Public Library. During the story hour, they had a theme of cats and so they read stories and sang songs about cats. It was quite noisy in the room with so many parents and children packed in one room. The most interesting thing was that I heard a few different languages being spoken by the parents in the room.
I suppose I have grown up mostly in a community of people who grew up in America. I had a few friends in high school who immigrated from Russia and a friend from Puerto Rico and Mexico. I am enjoying being surrounded by people from other cultures but it is going to take some time to understand each other!