Neighbors look out for each other, stay close

<p class="p1">Jisun Hong, her husband, Yuyong Kim, and their 3-year-old daughter, Soul, moved from Korea one year ago to a small neighborhood in south Lake Charles.</p><p class="p1">It wasn’t long before she bonded with her neighbors. Last weekend, they organized a baby shower at a local restaurant for Hong, who is pregnant with her second daughter and due on Sept. 3. </p><p class="p1">“I am thankful for them; so thankful,” Yuyong Kim said about their neighbors as Hong opened gifts wrapped in pink paper or stuffed in pink gift bags. One gift was a T-shirt for Soul that read, “I’m the big sister.”</p><p class="p1">Those in the neighborhood said they are proud to know each other so well.</p><p class="p1">“My neighbors are like family to me,” said Ana LeFort, who is from Ecuador and has lived in the neighborhood for a few years. “I was sick a while back and since I don’t have family here, it was my neighbors who took care of me. I feel so fortunate to have them.”</p><p class="p1">Jayne Anderson said there is “a feeling of community” in the neighborhood.</p><p class="p1">“We have a very nice group of people with all of us,” she said. “We just click. More importantly, we really care about each other.” </p><p class="p1">Eloise Kammerdiener said many who live in the neighborhood are widows.</p><p class="p1">“We’ve grown close over the years, and we all look out for one another,” she said. </p><p class="p1">Kammerdiener said she is grateful for the friendships she has gained over the years and enjoys spending time with Hong and her family.</p><p class="p1">“It’s just wonderful seeing this lovely couple with their child and another baby on the way,” she said. “New life is always a beautiful thing. And there’s a different culture for us to learn about too, which is another plus of them being our neighbors.”</p><p class="p1">During the baby shower, Judy Turney made sure the couple had what they needed and that all of the neighbors were comfortable. </p><p class="p1">“I think it’s so nice that we can be so connected with each other and that we all care so much about one another,” she said.</p><p class="p1">Gayle Wyckoff, who has lived in the neighborhood for 12 years, said looking out for each other “has become the norm.”</p><p class="p1">“To know your neighbors is a good thing,” she said. “With our group, we don’t know any other way but to be like this.”</p><p class="p1">Hong and her husband said baby showers aren’t common in Korea.</p><p class="p1">“I think it’s very nice that our neighbors wanted to do this for us,” she said. “It makes me happy.”</p><p class="p1">Sam and Laura Breaux, who moved into the neighborhood a few weeks ago, remarked on how friendly everyone in the neighborhood is.</p><p class="p1">“How lucky are we,” Laura Breaux asked.</p>””<p class="p1">Yuyong Kim, Jisun Hong and 3-year-old daughter Soul, front row, sit surrounded by their neighbors for their baby shower at a local restaurant.</p>Special to the American Press