Friday, July 26, 2013

All hail, IKEA!

The primary view from our hotel window.
This is my third trip to Denver, but this is the first time I've been here knowing, "This is my new home." You look at things differently when you realize they are about to be part of your life. I'm not overly thrilled with what I've seen so far:

David and I are staying in Centennial, a suburb of Denver that is minutes from his office. It's sprawling like Cool Springs but expensive like Green Hills (for my Nashville folks). I'm within walking distance of Nordstrom, Tiffany's, and the American Girl Store (which David keeps pointing out to me for some unknown reason). The parking lots are filled with Audis, BMWs, and Lexuses. This is pretty close to my frequent suburban nightmare.

I am going to have to be intentional about my life up here. If I want the active, urban lifestyle I envisioned when David first mentioned our move, I now see there are some important decisions for David and me to make as we get settled:

  1. Live near mass transit. We are selling our two cars and buying one new car with all-wheel drive. This means David will take the car to work every day, and I'll be walking or biking everywhere. If I want to go into Denver proper--and I will need to escape suburbia frequently--then we must be within walking distance of a Light Rail station.
  2. Learn to ride a bike. Yes, my daddy taught me how to do that; but bike-riding in a city is different. I am not fast enough or confident enough to ride on streets, and it's illegal to ride on sidewalks. I've never even owned a helmet. I'll stick to my "peds" for now, but without a car, a bike must be in my future.
  3. Downsize to upgrade. Have I mentioned housing costs out here? We're going from a 3-bedroom home with a 1/2-acre yard in Tennessee to hopefully a 2-bedroom apartment in a Denver suburb. (Oh, and for the definition of irony, check out this recent post!) If we live close to transit stations, then our rent will be 30% higher and our home 30% smaller than in TN. Ouch.
  4. Get involved in a church. I like my quiet time, but when David is away, I get way too much of it. I work alone in a completely silent room all day, trading the occasional email with colleagues who are now 1,000+ miles away. I know no one in this new city, and I have no network through which to make acquaintances. No better place to find a network than the church. Thankfully we have 1 good lead on a church in Littleton.
  5. Don't get too involved in a church. I tend to "go all in" when it comes to social and service activities, to my physical and mental detriment. My blogs probably reflect my difficulty with the word no.
  6. If I smush my face against the window and look west,
    I can just barely see the Rocky Mountains in the distance.
     It may be the Mile-High city, but Denver is actually a
    desert in a valley.
  7. Explore the mountains on weekends. We are 2+ hours from the Rocky Mountains, but that shouldn't keep us from hiking in the summers and skiing in the winters (if finances allow). Colorado is arguably the healthiest state in the nation, and if we want to survive in this thin air, we must be more active and oxygenate our blood!

Please wish us luck, send up your prayers, and give me any helpful suggestions in the comments section below. I need all the good advice I can get.

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