A few months ago we moved house.

The house we moved out of was a wonderfully private space, with many rooms and an abundant 'green' space outside. The place we now call home is compact, with six light bulbs, five neighbours, fifteen stairs and an abundance of concrete.

In our previous place I had never met my neighbour, but heard her dog barking over the fence all the time. I would walk and often be the only pedestrian out and about. The noises filtering through our windows was the traffic, and the sounds of our chickens and lonely dogs barking.

In our new place we live in an entire street of flats. The amount of people living in such a small street reminds me of the densely populated spaces I've walked through in New Delhi, Bangkok or Nairobi.  Sometimes I feel like I moved lands, simply by moving house.  I walk outside and I am met by my immediate neighbours, those over the fence and across the road. There are eyes everywhere, and I often find people just idle watching other peoples pass them by.

In this space, doors are open and life is public. People are loud: when they shut their car door and zoom off down the street, when they listen to the races loudly on the radio in their lounge room, when they fight and scream in the street. There are no dogs barking, no abundance of green spaces, not much space for us all to call our own, but there is interaction - our neighbour leaves his veggie scraps to be added to our worm farm, the man over the fence greets me from his laundry door, the smell of my neighbours cooking finds my through the windows, and when my neighbour greets me in Arabic as we pass by on the stairs.

And I feel like I belong to a community. A chaos of cultures; the complexity of the rich coming together with the poor; private issues spilling out in public spaces; communication and questions. I am confronted by ugly conflict, by drug taking, by dysfunctional families, by social isolation and loneliness. I wonder about people I see through my window, and I try and imagine their lives. I feel like I left a house that was big and isolated, and have a home now where someone always sees my comings and goings. They notice my growing belly and see our flourishing urban garden. I think about my cooking smells, my loud music, about when is too early to run the washing machine, the way I speak, the importance of the 'shared' space outdoors.

I feel content, like here I belong to a roughly woven quilt of community. This is what I have found and loved when travelling in far away places, and I am thankful that in the Inner West of Melbourne I have taken the step to move into a space that both fascinates and confronts me. I weep for those whose struggles are so obvious and ugly, and I pray for those who are alone and unwell, I love the kindness and welcome the hellos and celebrate that we can reflect a glimpse of Jesus in our local neighbourhood.