It Takes Two MonthsBy: Emma Klues
Sometimes when I meet other people who are, like myself, not from St. Louis, they express that they have felt challenged to feel at home here. For me, it could not be more the opposite. After 5 years of city living, I feel a stronger sense of homeness, ownership, pride and celebration than I ever did in my hometown, which I loved and was also where I went to college. I also tell those people they possibly aren’t looking in the right places. And after two months of living on the 4000 block of Shenandoah, I can tell you Shaw is one of the right places.
I moved from 1.1 miles away, 1 of which was Tower Grove Park. And while I was sad to leave the proximity to Local Harvest, Tin Can and the rest of the Morgan Ford strip, I was thrilled to be buying an amazing house still very close to the park, Garden and the culinary feasts of South Grand. And while Shaw has fewer businesses (but we are getting there), it has a culture that I hadn’t realized I’d been missing.
We moved the first weekend in March. By the end of the day, I was in good with the neighbor kids and all of my friends were muttering jealous remarks under their breath because their block captain hadn’t brought them a folder of info and cooler of beer when they last moved. (Jealous mutterings evolved into accolades for Shaw for the next few weeks.) Within two weeks, we had met some neighbors, went to a SNIA event for young professionals (where we met more friendly people, conveniently changed our addresses for voter registration, joined SNIA and had a delicious hard cider at Thurman’s). Another few weeks brought signing up for the shawtalk email group, turning in dog park registration, neighbors evolving into Facebook friends, attending fish fries and meeting more people, and discovering the gems Shaw has to offer (If you have yet to eat at Sasha’s or SweetArt, stop depriving yourself.)
Then came one of the quarterly neighborhood meetings, showcasing a diversity of passions for a neighborhood that I barely knew were options. The dedication to striving for improvements mixed with the celebrations of progress were refreshing. When the April SNIA young professionals happy hour rolled around, I found myself encouraging friends who had lived in Shaw for years to get involved. Then I found myself in a Shaw Nuff shirt from one of my favorite local businesses, STL-Style. And when my slacker self forgot to invite neighbors to our housewarming until the day of and slipped notes in mailboxes at 8am and eight of them came (only one of which we had met) and some brought gifts, I realized I had a good thing going.
And now I find myself writing because I am that excited to be here. Thus with some degree of confidence, I can say it takes two months to feel established here. And if you have been here longer and don’t yet feel at home, let’s talk. I have some people I want you to meet.
*Emma Klues lives with her husband Kyle and mutt Jackson on the 4000 block of Shenandoah. She is a Project Manager at Elasticity, Donations Coordinator at The Cup, and volunteers with Camp Ondessonk and as a foster parent for the Humane Society of Missouri.