Moving Forward / by Kenneth Buff

I've wanted to create a post about my recent move to Colorado for a while, but I wanted to wait until the moment felt right, until I felt fully moved in. But the longer I'm here the more I think I'm not going to feel fully moved in, maybe not until I've already moved on to my next destination and I'm looking back on it through the rose colored lens of the past. I've realized this by my constant comparisons of my new home to my old. There's a lot that's the same here. I still go to coffee shops to write, I still work in the school systems, I still eat sushi and gelato every chance I get, I still have a balcony in my apartment. Those things are the same, along with many others, but they're also different. Sometimes in the simplest of ways, but when you call a place home for 9 years, it's the simple things that make it yours. It's the way people smile at you and greet you by name at familiar places, the way your students celebrate when they've improved at a skill you've worked with them on for weeks, the way your friends hand stings against yours as you high-five that it's finally Friday, and you get to dig into that chocolate chip scone you've been waiting for.

I keep reminding myself that the life I created  in Oklahoma wasn't waiting for me when I first moved there back in 2006. It took time, and I saw many different versions of my life pass me by over those 9 years as friends moved away and new ones were met, and bonds with those who stayed strengthened. I gained new hobbies, found new stomping grounds, and over all grew into the adult I've come to be. It's a little hard to let those things go. Well, you can't let them go, memories I mean, but it's hard to to admit that those moments are now in the past and it's time for new moments in a new place. A place where I don't yet know anyone I can call up any time for a cup of coffee or a late night movie.

Now, with those things aside, it is also exciting to have a new place to explore. New streets to travel down, some of which lead to snow covered mountains. In some ways it's a different world here, in others it's quite the same.

I think I'd like to end this post with a list of things I've found a little strange since pulling my roots from the quaking red dirt of Oklahoma.

  1. The obsession with recycling and conserving energy. I say this as a liberal. A liberal who would prefer to eat with the lights on while in the break room, and not teach with the lights off in his classroom (strange ideas around here).
  2. The confusion waiters seem to suffer when asked if they can split the check. Their response is usually "down the middle or by item?" When the waiter returns they bring one black rectangle holding the ticket and only one pen.
  3. The little paper lists of sushi your handed at a sushi restaraunt along with the menu (in Oklahoma the sushi is simply on the menu).
  4. People actually yield for pedestrians in crosswalks.
  5. They're are pedestrians in crosswalks.
  6. The expression "you're all set" is the preferred one here by waiters and sales clerks. 
  7. There aren't gas stations on every corner, but most people still drive cars despite the City of Boulder's refusal to admit this.
  8. No one seems to know how to make a vanilla chai that tastes good. And something called "bhakti chai" is the standard...don't bother trying it.
  9. This one's for all you Okies: sweet tea, not a thing here. (I prefer water myself, but many an Okie would wither up and die out here in the Rockies without their favorite beverage).
  10. Good barbecue takes more effort to find. 
  11. Beer doesn't have a stigma here (weird that it does in Oklahoma despite everyone drinking it). The Left Hand Brewery (a local brewery here in Longmont) has a partnership with a bank in town that is advertised on their walls openly, and the brewery (along with many others) is present at festivals and events in town, and is not roped off from the rest of the festival as it would be in Oklahoma.
  12. Recycling is everywhere.
  13. There's a distaste for shoes by some subgroups of Coloradans.
  14. Everyone seems to have a tattoo. Teachers can teach and have sleeve tattoos here without anyone gossiping about the state of their well being in the break room.