Thursday, March 05, 2009

Aloha, Denver

Yesterday Jason and I were in the car, driving back from dropping Zeke off at school. We were stopped at a light, and an older lady was crossing in the crosswalk. She looked at us and smiled and said "Welcome to Colorado" (she must have seen the California plates on our rental car).

And that's pretty much what it's been like to be in Denver so far.

We're living in this incredibly cool intown neighborhood, about a 10 minute drive to downtown, with an elementary school across the street, funky little shops and restaurants around the corner (including a wonderful yarn shop -- all the more reason to get back into some serious knitting -- and an ice cream store that has become a daily stop for us), and super nice neighbors. We'll be walking down the street and people will stop and chat us up. Jason said at one point, "will someone just be a prick to me, already? Am I going to have to be the neighborhood asshole, just so there is one?"

This is the kind of aloha spirit we expected from people in Hawaii, but never really found.

And while Jason definitely misses the surf, and had a hard time his first Sunday here (Sundays were his regular surf days with his buddies), on Monday he went snowboarding at a great mountain about 45 minutes away, and came back feeling rejuvenated and excited about living near the mountains.

In so many ways, this moving is looking to be a good one for us:
  • We live about a 5 minute drive from a Super Target, which happens to be the highest grossing Target in the country. And in addition to having the expectedTarget-y goodness oozing from its brick walls, it's got a full grocery store, so we can do all of our shopping there, and for unbelievable prices. The first time we went, on the second or third day we were here, we filled up a grocery cart. In Hawaii, the bill would have been $300, easy. In Colorado, the total was $113. We practically wept with joy. And really, the cost of everything is similarly reduced -- gas, rent, utilities. It's such a pleasure to not feel constantly ripped off.
  • The horrendous traffic in Hawaii was a constant source of stress and aggravation for us. When Jason worked on jobs in Honolulu, it used to take him 2 hours to drive the 25 miles between our house and work. It would take me 40 minutes of sitting in bumper-to-bumper crap to take Zeke 4 miles up the road to his school. Now, we can get downtown in the heart of rush hour traffic in about 10 minutes, making green lights all the way, and never sitting in any of the stand-still shit that makes my blood pressure rise just thinking about it.
  • There are so many choices. For everything. All different kinds of ethnic foods. A million different retail establishments. In Hawaii, if we wanted to go out to eat, we'd be spending at least $100 for just the two of us, and that was at someplace like Chili's or Outback. Here, there are diners and cafes and little neighborhood bistros, all reasonably priced, that make having a social life an economic possibility again.
  • My parents came to visit last week. Instead of having to travel for 13 hours and deal with the jet lag that comes from a 6 hour time difference, they hopped on a 3 hour flight and didn't suffer significant exhaustion as a result. Next month my brother's band has a gig in New York City. If my work schedule permits, flying in for the weekend to see it is an actual possibility. It's just so damned nice to be closer to everyone I care about.
  • Everyone here looks so healthy. In Hawaii, we got so used to seeing so many morbidly obese people everywhere we went -- entire families where no one was under 250 pounds, including the kids, bellying up to the buffet line for more barbecue and spam and sugary sodas. Here they all look like they stepped out of an REI/North Face/LL Bean/Land's End catalog, with their ski racks on their cars and trailers on their bikes so they can tote their kids around while they do their errands.
  • It's such a pleasure to have friends here. We became friendly with our neighbors in Hawaii, but only really felt truly simpatico with one or two select couples. Here I've got my cousins and friends from college and friends from high school and friends from Atlanta, not to mention Kathleen and Rich. Zeke will be able to grow up with their kids (they came over last night for a pizza party, and ran around so wildly that after they went home, Zeke was practically begging to go night-night), and with his cousins, and with the children of our other friends. And they're all smart and literate and politically astute and fun to hang out with.
There are definitely things we miss about Hawaii. It is a beautiful place, and it was fun to be so close to the beach and to be able to surf all the time and to just have the experience of living in a tropical paradise. I loved being able to do things like drop Zeke at school and head up to the North Shore to watch the Pipeline Masters. But it's not a bad substitute when tomorrow, we're going to drop Zeke at school and drive a mere 45 minutes to go skiing.

11 comments:

  1. Congrats! I am so happy to hear this! I've been checking obsessively to see if you'd updated..I'm thrilled to read good news of your idyllic new life.

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  2. Thanks, Suz! We're really excited to be here. Everything just seems so much more manageable.

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  3. Yay! I'm glad you're in Denver and I'm glad to hear you sounding so happy!

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  4. Welcome to your new home! So glad the move went well and you're getting setttled and enjoying a new neighborhood!

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  5. So the gear worked out ok ?

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  6. Alli Skelton9:22 PM

    Wendy - Hawaii misses you! We're so glad to hear that all is going well but selfishly miss your sharp humor and ridiculously good-looking son :)

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  7. OK, I just gave an audible "YI!" at the mere mention that you MIGHT come to NYC. The idea of finally meeting you in person is too exciting. Let me know if it's happening!

    Now I'm gonna sit here and fantasize about your Super Target. Welcome back to the mainland.

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  8. Lisa -- Thanks! We're pretty excited, too.

    HKW -- Many thanks. We're loving the neighborhood, and things are feeling really comfortable.

    Josh -- gear worked out great. J found some great boots deeply discounted at REI, so his kit is complete. We're heading up the mountains today for some skiing/snowboarding with Rich & Kathleen.

    Alli -- we miss you too! I'll post some pics of Zeke. He's gotten even more ridiculously good-looking.

    Anne -- the trip to NYC is definitely looking like a strong possibility. Jason is pushing hard for me to go and have a weekend of fun, so as soon as I start work and know what my schedule's like, I should be able to make a plan. I definitely want to get together, and obviously you and Fred are welcome to come to the show. www.theflyingchange.com

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  9. Oh wendy! It sounds fantastic! I am so glad you guys are settling in well and having a great time in the transition! And I LOVE that you may hook up with Anne! Seriously, it's one of my favorite bestest things when two of my great peoples really know each other! I MISS YOU!

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  10. This is wonderful news! You just never know how a big move like that will turn out, but this sounds like a great thing. I'm so glad for you and your family!

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  11. Anonymous9:06 AM

    Welcome back stateside, crew!

    Sherice

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