Writing about new adventures in Colorado is easy. In fact, the biggest challenge is keeping up with all of the new shops I visit, the people I meet, the adorable cups of tea I drink.
But these visits to cafes and cideries make up such a small part of my life here. I find it nearly impossible to articulate how difficult the cross-country move is proving to be — my feelings are complex and even contradictory. Simply put, I am perhaps the happiest and the saddest I have ever been.
It is important for me to address that side of things because, for instance, my family reads this blog. It is their most consistent way of hearing what’s new with me. Each post feels like a small lie of omission, though — to talk about a fun lunch I had but not the fact that I cried on my walk from the restaurant out of homesickness. I imagine my mom reading this and believing it has been easy for me to pack up and leave home. That thought crushes me, it is so far from the truth.
A few truths then.
First, Dan and I are doing great. Moving has been beyond taxing and I have been emotionally on-edge for weeks, but we weather it. We talk. Building our new home together has helped tremendously — we have somewhere to retreat when it gets to be too much. Dan works from home throughout the week, but encourages me to explore on my own and enjoy my time “off.” (Maybe in some other post I’ll tackle my career/soul search, but it’s prickly right now.)
I have not found my place in Fort Collins yet. (We have been here for 3 weeks and 1 day. Patience is not my strong suit. I’m trying.) I had Big Plans when I rolled into town — book clubs, writing groups, volunteer opportunities, etc — most of which have blown up or, even more frustratingly, limped away with a whimper. I spent two years preparing for this move but I suddenly feel like I’m back to square one. I wanted to make new friends right away! Find a community! Get involved! (Again… 3 weeks. Slow your roll, Erica.)
I miss home. God, I miss home. Besides family and friends — which I’m glossing over because of the lump in my throat saying I’m not ready to go there — I miss knowing my way around. As eager as I was for change and adventure, it is exhausting to be new everywhere. I used to play a stupid game with myself when I visited Coffee Emporium in Cincinnati — I told myself it was bad luck if I didn’t see someone that I knew by name. (Baristas didn’t count.) I almost never lost that game. Without fail, I recognized someone from Know Theatre or city council or 3CDC.
It has been hard for me to adjust to the exact opposite, where the odds of seeing someone I know are so infinitesimally low that I don’t bother to look.
If I know my mom, halfway through this post she headed to the Frontier website so she could come pick me up and take me home. Mom, let me tell you what I tell Dan every other day or so after weeping because I can’t get a picture frame level: I really… *sob*… want…. *sniffle*… to be here..! *snotty gulp*
Every day, this place feels more like home. And if I’m being honest (and I’m trying to be), maybe that feels like a betrayal of my “real home.” I definitely have a you’re not my real dad! attitude toward Fort Collins right now, which I’m working to shake.
It is beautiful here. The mountains are within spitting distance. There are more independent shops and breweries downtown than I’ve been able to visit yet, though I wander around daily. Dan came home scraped up and beaming after a bike ride this morning — we had Thai for lunch and I took a long walk to a new-to-me bookstore.
That’s just not the whole story.