Archive for August, 2011

Words: Colorado

Eastern: fields, bare towns, flat…actually what I expected of Kansas

Carnivorous flies (they’re harder to kill than mosquitos, they bite through your clothes, AND they follow your bike!)

Then, BAM Rockies!

Altitude elevation (noticed mostly from biking and beer)

Denver: parks, friendly people, great bike paths

Northern: rolling hills, more fields, big elevation jump to Wyoming (up to 8,000 ft!)


Written on Wed, 8/3/2011

At a bench behind a museum in Medicine Bow, WY

One year ago today, I said goodbye to my Japanese students. I was actually reminded of my time in Japan recently at a CouchSurfing host’s tiny apartment. Smacking my forehead into her small doorways felt oddly familiar…

More on that later. It’s a super windy day in Wyoming, so much so that the 30 foot pines are swaying and the windmills look like they’re about to fly off. Fortunately, I found refuge behind the Medicine Bow Museum, and I might as well take this time to tell you about my trip to Denver.

It’s amazing that in just a single semester a friendship can form, but that’s exactly what happened with Aaron and me. We were in Computer Science 201; I, unfortunately, was required to take it for my major, while Aaron, an architecture major, mind-bogglingly took it for fun. In all of our group work, he pretty much saved my grade by constantly correcting my poorly written code. We kept up sporadically after college, and when I found that he was living in Denver, I asked if I could visit on my trip.

“Of course, dude. I’m pumped!”

Leaving behind the barrens of eastern Colorado, I followed my printed Google directions to his house. As I weaved through residential streets, I noticed the neighborhood was becoming quite nice. Like $1,000,000+ houses nice. Whoa, Aaron, making the big bucks in grad school, eh? His house, though not like some of the castles I had passed, was definitely big enough for the five people who live there.

“Yeah, I found it on Craigslist. Turns out this old lady owns the house but lives in a retirement home. Her son doesn’t want to take care of it, so he put it up for cheap rent on the site, and we snagged it.”

Aaron moved to Denver last summer to attend architecture grad school, and friends from the UVA ski team joined him to, well, you know.

I was greeted at the door with a Mickey’s 40 liter malt liquor bottle, and that was pretty much the theme for the next three days – eat, drink, sleep, be merry. They are definitely a carnivorous bunch – Night 1: Grilled chicken and corn, Night 2: Breakfast burritos with chorizo sausage, eggs, and bell peppers, Night 3: Steaks with sweet potato fries. They also have a frozen meat locker…

In my three days here, I was able to take in Denver’s beauty, both in landscape and people. Everyone I met and saw in Denver, Aaron and his roommates especially, seemed to…really enjoy life. They actually make eye contact with you and smile on the street, they notice and comment on the amazing weather, they get excited about an upcoming concert, weekend excursion, and of course, winter. I could definitely see myself here for a period of time, honing my ski and boarding skills I picked up in the mountains of northern Japan.

Thanks Aaron, Kristen, Mike, Sam, and Will for delicious food, intense Pictionary, and awesome chairs!

Aaron also put me in touch with his mom, who was kind enough to host me in Windsor!

Thanks Kathy for a wonderful dinner (deeeelicious crumble muffins!), a warm bed, and sandwiches to go!