Story time: When I was very young, I had neighbors that were very close in age to my sister and I. We would play with them all year round- climbing up and over the snow banks, helping them celebrate birthdays and rippin’ up and down the streets on my sister’s brake-less bicycle in the summer. I have a lot of great, early memories that include those two girls. But they didn’t stay in Upstate New York for long. I remember staying in touch with that family each Christmas when they’d send school photographs and a long letter, updating us on their adventures and achievements.
And then came Facebook. We now got to see each other on a “daily” basis and it became easier for me to see who these two young girls had blossomed into. In 2009 when I took my trip across the country, I stopped to stay with them for a night to catch up (and eat a big meal, shower, and sleep in a bed!). Even though I had seen photographs of them online, I couldn’t believe I was eating dinner with Morgan, who had a boyfriend! I mean, I knew she was 17 at the time, but I couldn’t believe it! It was my first time seeing her since she was a toddler and it blew my mind how fast time has flown.
Fast forward to this past December. I had posted a photograph on Instagram of my favorite bar of soap. Sharon, the oldest of the two sisters (the little girl in the middle of my sister and I in the picture above), messaged me saying that she would love a bar and that we should send each other goods from our hometowns. I immediately thought “YES!” After privately messaging each other and setting the guidelines [$20 each month, food allergies/restrictions, when to mail the box] the Neigh-buh Box was established!
Neigh-buh: a person living physically next door or close to heart aka a Horinka.
January was our first month and I must admit, I totally forgot to take a photograph of what Sharon sent me. But this month I’m prepared and can share with you this new monthly series! What may you ask is a Neigh-buh Box? A Neigh-buh Box is filled with goodies made from (or available in) our hometowns and includes a little note. Basically it’s my way of sharing tiny samples of why Troy, New York kicks-butt and she gets to send me the best from Charlotte, North Carolina. And let me tell you, so far, so good!
For the month of February, she sent me the following items: an assortment of tea to enjoy after my long hikes (or at my desk), a locally made bobby pin with a recycled button (I typically wear at least one bobby a day), a card made of recycled paper with the sales helping women in need, and a button that I fell in love with the moment I opened up the box. It says, “yes we can!” and you know what ladies, yes we can!
What I sent her in February (photograph from Sharon’s Instagram): one of the handmade Kitty + Lee washcloths, a bar of soap from T+J Soaps on River Street, a bar of Mast Brothers chocolate- made in Brooklyn, sold at The Grocery, and a couple of my dip-dyed note cards. I was going for a “Spa Sunday” theme. I love seeing her post photographs and (I’m assuming) feel as excited as I am to receive mail each month. It sure is an interesting way to get to know her a little better, and where she lives. If you’d like to follow along, search #neighbuhbox on Instagram for more photographs.
Do you have a pen pal or someone in your life that you’d love to exchange goods with? Reach out to them! I’m pretty sure they’d be just as excited as you! It doesn’t even have to be purchased items- you can exchange clothes, baby goods, or even advice. Snail mail and having another person to talk to is pretty much the best thing ever.