I had forgotten how diverse our neighborhood in Tampa is. My walks around the neighborhood during different times have made me more aware of the diversity of people. We have retired people, young people, students, and instructors from USF, business owners, etc. There is some crime as we are on the juxtaposition of a bad area but there is much rehabilitation of our neighborhood going on and it shows.
We have a beautiful park nearby and some houses which are definitely being rehabbed and built up. In our neighborhood, I hear Arabic speakers, Spanish, and have passed some French speakers, and maybe overhead some Cajunese dialect. I think this is healthy that we have so many different people in the area. Sometimes for a dialogue to happen randomly, it helps to have all attend the tea party together.

It is like rubbing sand paper against the wood. There is bound to be some discomfort at times between the different nationalities, ages, and groups but that may be necessary for some good old-fashioned growth to take place. We have lived here for over 10 years, so I have a sense of familiarity with the neighborhood and the people who help give some perspective on the lives of those in our area. When you are familiar with some of the people and the stories, you fit in and you even begin to sense who may not fit in as my neighbor, or so the detective, a nearby neighbor, tells me, as she watches out for our block.

You kind of like a neighborhood where the same day of the super bowl, you see Eastern European men playing bocce ball in the park nearby. On the same street, you pass parties for the super bowl. I am sure if I were invited to a dinner in the immediate area, I could have my choice of Arabic, Indian, Polish, Midwestern, Southern, soul food, vegetarian, etc. There is no shortage of diversity in this working class neighborhood. But if you hope to meet all the inhabitants, many leave early for work and go to bed early too. I used to see their cars leaving the driveway in the early morning as we drove to our bakery. Now that our bakery is closed, I sleep in and it is a lovely thing. My walks are later and I am learning my neighborhood’s new schedule as those who own their own business come and go, or those who work split shifts leave later. Meanwhile, I stay busy too but I feel happier, at least my body is much more content with getting more sleep.