When I was preparing to move here, I did a lot of research on housing. Probably much more than was actually necessary, as we had no choice in where we would live. Most embassy housing here (as in most non-first world countries) consists of large houses surrounded by tall, concrete walls. In order to leave, you have to open a gate or go through a locked door. Great for keeping the children in, but not much in the way of a neighborhood.
However, we don't live in one of those houses. We actually live in [...], one of two actual neighborhoods in Azerbaijan. It has the necessary tall concrete wall around the neighborhood, but the actual houses look out on quaint little brick-paved and neatly manicured streets. It's not very big, but it is very quiet, and we've already taken the children on bike rides through it.
My favorite part about this neighborhood, however, is the neighbors. We're one of five embassy families that live in the compound, and two families with girls around Kathleen's age live right next to us. So when the doorbell rang one evening, and one friend asked if the girls would like to go on a walk, I was more than happy to shove them out the door while I finished dinner.
The family that lives across the street from is us LDS, and on Tuesday there was no school (power out in the neighborhood of the school), so all of the children from the branch gathered at our neighbors' house for a no-school party. We were having our HHE and consumables delivered that morning, so I couldn't take the children. My neighbor, however, offered to take the girls over to play with everyone else.
They left at eleven in the morning and Edwin and I had a great time unpacking (and napping, on Edwin and Joseph's part) all by ourselves. By the time the girls finally dragged home after five, exhausted from so much fun, I had the entire kitchen unpacked.
I love living in [...]. I like my house, I like the neighborhood, I like the convenient location. But most of all, I love my neighbors.