A month ago we took a trip to Colorado over Dan's birthday. It was our first time back since we moved to California two years ago and we were excited to visit our friends and see our old stomping grounds. Having gotten home from India five days before, I had just enough time to recover from jet lag, spend a day in the emergency room (it wasn't Malaria, it was still crazy expensive), and do laundry before packing again for the snow. My bag for one week in Colorado weighed more than my bag coming home from India, but the flight was approximately 28 hours shorter, so it evened out.
We landed, picked up our rental car, and then sat in the familiar traffic on I-70 (or "THE" 70 because I'm from California and that's what freeways are called) heading into Denver. We drove through our old neighborhood and past our old house. We circled the block slowly three times but didn't get out of the car. To be honest, it looked like just a house.
My relationship with our first home was complicated. We bought our condo just six months into our marriage; we were young (22 and 27) and it was way over our budget. We instantly fell in love with the home's Victorian charm and it was the most unique of the properties we had previewed in Denver. We believed we could make small improvements to boost its resale value and ultimately be happy there for a few years as we finished school (undergrad for me, graduate for Dan). Unfortunately opposite school schedules, a 2-hour commute, and a loathsome lack of natural light, not to mention endless projects and repairs, made our condo feel more hollow than homey.
To be fair, the house, and my husband, were patient and forgiving as I constantly shifted through decorating phases. I battled with throw pillows and area rugs, furniture and picture frames, trying to DIY and buy the perfect space. Truthfully, the house never felt finished or as put-together as it did the day it went on the market. In some ways, I think I was trying to compensate for so much of what was missing in our lives: peace, contentment, security, familiarity. Home decorations were something I could control. Ultimately it just equaled a lot of reckless spending and too many trips to Goodwill when we moved.
In the end, that house saw us through some of the best and worst times of our relationship and when we closed the door for the final time and drove away, I never looked back. It really was the perfect time for us to move on and driving by the house again seemed to confirm this. Sure, it was fun to see that the grass we planted was still alive, the gutters and light fixtures we installed outside still functioned, and the place hadn't crumbled to the ground thanks, at least in part, to the foundation repair work we invested in. I hope that whoever calls it home now is happy there and walks to the nearby parks and restaurants and farmer's market as we once did. I hope they love the home, and its quirks, and that it will fill them with joyful memories. And when they move on, I hope someone else brings new life into its old walls.
Obviously, seeing our old house was not why we went back to Colorado. We had a week full of time with friends, skiing, eating, drinking, and relaxing planned. It was just a two-hour flight, and yet a whole lifetime away, but Colorado was still there, pretty much just as we left it and it was fabulous. We hit all of our favorite spots. Some of our friends have since moved out of state (two here, two here, some in California, Florida, Arizona, and beyond), but we enjoyed some awesome quality time with a few of our favorite humans (and their new babies!) on earth. Two years does not seem like that long until you meet toddlers who can talk, that were born after you moved. We'll try to come back before they're all in high school.
Sean, Melissa, Jack, Jeff, Katie, Kristin, Ryan, Nora, Kim, Taylor, Avery, Justin, Stevie, Ellie, Grace, Heather, Kyle, Saberi, Indira, Kiri... you guys rule. You are what we love, and miss, most about Colorado and you are what make it still feel like home in many ways. Thanks for letting us crash your living rooms and lunches. Now everyone come to California, k?
a wild fries drive-by.
So many memories from this place, not that I can remember any of them...
shuffle board champions.
Birthday dinner at our favorite restaurant on the planet.
Ski day! First time in 20 years and I didn't
die fall! It's not the worst thing.
Chile relleno-induced happiness. After a brief shortage scare, not one but TWO managers tracked down the last of the rellenos (no, I didn't ask where. or how.) and there were tears.
Birthday pool party at Wynkoop Brewery, old stomping grounds.
Chewy, the most badass dog ever gave us a tour around his property line.
So I take a lot of pictures of our friend's pets. But come on! This is Olaf. I love him.
Oh Pinche Tacos. Words cannot describe the deep deep love we have for you.
Hi Coor's field and Mile High Stadium!
See ya next time, Colorado!