9.28.2015

An Honest Post about Loneliness

We've been here a little over a month. We have routines and we've started to explore. We've had visitors, with more planned. We've had really good days and not as good days. And I've been really lonely.

Not all the time, of course. Gwen, Trav, and I have been seeing fun new things and having really great days. I met a really nice woman named Bhavna, and I think she's becoming a friend (we've done tea)! Gwen and I are enjoying all our extra time together. I FaceTime and Skype and call and write and...

Life feels so very surreal right now though. I still have moments when I wonder when this will end and we'll "go home." But no. This is home now.  That can be hard sometimes.

It feels like starting over in ways that I never thought I would in my 30s. Apartment life, all of my friends across the country and in different time zones. I don't have a job, though I'm definitely keeping busy.

The chance to remake myself a bit is nice. I'm looking up different trainings for jobs that excite me. My current feeling though, is of aimlessness and disconnection.

Even things with Gwen are struggling a bit because of it. It is a very weird place to be when the person you spend the most time with is a five year old who is used to full-day school (and a full-day with a class full of kids who can actually keep up with her), who was just uprooted and dropped 1700 miles from anyone she has ever loved (outside of her parents). She is going through her own adjustments, and it is my job to be her constant. I'm doing my best to reassure her and help her, and we have a lot of fun together. But its a long day together that we're not used to, and she lashes out where she knows that she can lash out without losing anyone... at me, and Trav.

Its not everyday, but on those bad days when she's really struggling, and I get 5 hours of backtalk, fussing, crying, whining, and vitriol... and I still have an hour or more until Trav gets home... well, lets just say its hard to feel more alone.

There are really good days too. Days where I feel like I have this down, where the chores and errands get done, blog posts get written, Gwen and I have a great time, we eat great food, and I feel strong, confident, and in control. There are days when I get to FaceTime with a girlfriend, and drop an email to another, and I feel very connected.

But this is a place for honesty, and I wouldn't be painting the full picture of my life currently if I wasn't open about this very real part of my right now. Who knows what the future holds. I've certainly learned to stop trying to guess! I know that this part will not last forever, but this is where I am right now.

9.25.2015

First Visitors

Last week, Babs and her fabulous boyfriend, Keil, came to visit us for the week and be our first guests. It was amazing. A fun distraction, and a dose of "home."


Gwen had school, so it was a low-key week. They would walk Gwen to school with me in the mornings, then head to the gym or back to the apartment. I might run errands (with or without company). Babs and I had some alone talk for talking.

There might have been a morning snuggle or two. (Gwen was more then a little obsessed with Keil!). 


Keil made us ceviche one night, which was amazing. They got me to go to the gym. Thursday night they joined me for yoga. Friday afternoon we headed to Red Rocks to hike around and show them the view.








Then all too soon it was Saturday, and it was time to head to the airport.

I can't tell you what it meant to have my girl here. There's been some loneliness lately, and it was nice to have the company during the day, not to mention the distraction for Gwen. I can't wait for our next visitors!

9.23.2015

9.21.2015

Take a Hike

One of Gwen's first requests when she saw the Rocky Mountains looming in the distance was that, "Mom, can we please hike on that?!" I was definitely not going to say no!!

So I found a great website, looked up a few options, and the first chance we got, we chose one to head out to. My first requirement was I wanted great vistas and views... plus not too trying for our first hike at high altitude.


We chose Red Rocks Park. It fit all our requirements, and it's a Colorado staple!


First we hiked up to see the amphitheater, then went on the actual trail through the park.

The views were amazing! 


The blue skies, green vegetation, and red rocks made for an amazing palate.





We went down the trail, then turned around and hiked back up. We could definitely feel the altitude on the way back up!



It was well worth the exertion though. It is gorgeous there. I can't wait to get to attend a concert or event there!


And I definitely can't wait to hike more of Colorado's gorgeous mountains!!

9.18.2015

Things About Colorado

There are so many things different here, not everything is different because it's Colorado, some things are just different because we moved. However, here are just a few of the things that I'm noticing lately:


1. Time: 
I suddenly have so much. A lot more of it is full of Gwen time (kindergarten is only half-day), which we're enjoying, but some of it is just mine. 

One morning after I walked Gwen to school, it was so lovely out that I decided I couldn't just stay inside. I made a mug of hot chocolate, and sat on my balcony. I could feel fall hovering in the morning air. 

(We don't have furniture out there yet, so Daisy graciously lent me her dog bed...) 

Its not all sitting around enjoy a crisp morning... there are about a million things I'm still trying to get done/figure out, but suddenly there is time for that.

2. A slower pace: 
Our days before felt like sprints that became marathons halfway through. We got up, we ran to get ready, we left for work and school, we go go go'ed all day, then came home where we immediately jumped into the evening routine. Repeat.


These days we don't even have to set the alarm. Daisy wakes Trav, he takes her for a walk, comes back and gets ready. Gwen wakes us around 7a.m.; I help her get dressed and get her something to eat. I eat something myself and throw on some clothes. Trav leaves for work. Gwen and I relax and play. At 8:15ish we leave and enjoy a nice walk to the school. Gwen goes in with her class and I walk home. I do some yoga, unpack some boxes, take a shower, and run some errands. At 11:20ish I head out to walk to the school to pick Gwen up. We walk home, eat lunch, play for a bit, do some homework, then play some more. We run errands together. When we both need a break, she watches something on the Kindle. Repeat until dinnertime around 6ish (give or take if Trav's running late). Bath or a little more playtime, then we get Gwen ready, I read her some Harry Potter (we're on book 2 now), and then she's off to bed.

There is so much room in that schedule for give and take. There is so much room for relaxation and play. Its lovely.

3. Loneliness: 
I'm not going to lie... I am a bit lonely right now. 

Trav goes to work and spends the day with people. Gwen goes to school where she is making new friends. I'm home. Missing people.

Making new friends as an adult is difficult anyway, and since so much of the past few weeks has been spend getting us settled, unpacked, and used to our new (amazing) schedule... well, I've felt a little stuck. 

I'm hoping for the best though, now that I'm getting back into yoga classes.

4. The Sun, oh boy, the Sun: 
Lord Almighty, the sun here is intense. 


We are closer, the air is thinner, and we are still getting used to all that. I've gotten much tanner over the past few weeks! 

5. New Place, New Routines: 
It is so very much easier to form new good habits, when you are in a completely new environment, especially when all routines are changing. Since I'm not currently working and because Gwen is in Kindergarten, I've been able to build on things I had been trying to make into habits, like a home yoga practice. Since we started fresh food-wise, I've been able to clean up my diet a lot. Since Gwen and I walk to school everyday, she's getting in a half mile and I'm getting in a mile each day. 

In things that weren't previously on my radar, a little something my brother said in passing the other weekend, has become a wonderful evening routine for me. Now I stop using the computer or my phone after 9. I brew a cup of tea and read my book for the last hour or so before bed. Its been a great way to get in some reading and unwind at the end of the day. 

6. The Mountains: 
They are an ever looming presence. Not in a bad way, you'll come over a rise and boom, The Rockies! 


They are gorgeous and we can wait to spend time on them.

Gwen and I are a bit obsessed with them right now. Which is good, because this is our view everyday! 



We have so much more to discover!

9.16.2015

9.14.2015

yoga with a mountain view

Gwen has done 10 days of school (counting today). Trav 2 weeks of work. The boxes are mostly unpacked. We are getting organized and adjusted. We've purchased some small things to make our space work (second largest Ikea in the country - 10 minutes away!).

I've even done my first Colorado yoga class! 

I was more nervous for that class then I think I'd been for a normal yoga class since my very first. Its hard to go do something you love in a completely new place, wondering how you're going to "stack up." Wondering how it will compare. Well, class was great. I still miss my old school in PA, but I found one that is hard enough to push me (especially as I'm still adjusting to the air up here!), though not so hard that I don't feel good doing it. Better yet, the school has a more advanced class option as well. So if I feel like this class isn't enough anymore after a few months, I can move up.

Maybe the best part of all of that... the mountain view, sun setting behind it, as I start my practice.

There is so much to adjust to here. So much new and different (more on that later). But on my mat, things feel the same.

We aren't completely settled in yet, but we are getting there.

9.11.2015

cross-country

Our cross-country journey was both faster and easier, and more frustrating then we initially imagined. We anticipated taking about 3.5 to 4 days to complete the trip. We ended up doing it in 2.5. 

We left on Wednesday, the 26, after spending the morning doing the last of the packing and cleaning. And giving our house one last look over. 

We started off going slightly North, but quickly cut West and slightly South where we hopped onto I-70, where we would remind for the majority of our trip (approx 1710 of the 1729 miles!)!

Our route took us across much of Pennsylvania, where we stopped for lunch near the Blue Mountain area, before cutting through the northern section of West Virginia. I have to say, WV was beautiful. Mountainous and wonderfully wooded. 

After that we headed into very southern Ohio.


We spend the whole afternoon traveling across the state before stopping for some dinner at a pizza joint off the highway. 


I have to say that the drive in the evenings, after our dinner stop, were some of my favorite parts. This country of ours is gorgeous when viewed by sunset...



We got into Indiana that evening, then found a place to stop.


The hotel that night was... well, frankly a bit gross. We waited too long to search for hotels, and there weren't a ton of pet friendly ones right by the highway, so we ended up in a motel that where we slept on top of the covers. Eep. 

Day two (the 27th):
We got an early start (no need to hang out in the motel too long!), and headed out. 

We passed by some pretty farmlands, and quickly found ourselves in our 5th state, Illinois: 


Here is where we made our first "just for fun" stop... we weren't in West Virginia long enough to really make a stop, and we've both spent considerable time in Ohio, so we didn't stop there. But how could we pass up the World's Largest Wind Chime...  :-)



And across the street, still under construction...


After that it was back on the road, and off to Missouri. This was my second new state (W.V. being the first).


My one disappointment about this trip, was not stopping to see the Gateway Arch in St. Louis... but it was lunchtime on a weekday and the arch is right downtown.



After that we stopped for lunch, where we got the word from our movers that our "week to 10 days, possibly 14 days" window was now... 4 days. Great, except... that was the day before we thought we'd arrive!

So our giant wind chime was the last of our just for fun stops.  ::sigh::


We still enjoyed the views greatly as we went along. Though I did wish we got to see more.

That said, I will note that up until we hit Kansas (my 3rd new state!), I did find the drive to be rather similar to Pennsylvania. Beautiful for sure! Little differences here and there, but just very similar.

That changed when we hit Kansas.



I had been warned by a few people that Kansas was long, and frankly, boring. Maybe it was my desire for something new, or the place we entered Kansas (the Flint Hills), but I found Kansas to be lovely!




The hills were lovely, the plains everything I hoped the middle of the country would be, and Gwen was absolutely enthralled with the wind farms.


Frankly, I was too. Maybe it was the fact that they were back-lit by the sunset, or that the wind farm there is so incredibly massive (link), but it was captivating.



We traveled until late again (getting to watch an amazing thunderstorm over the plains as we did), but had much more luck that evening with finding a pet-friendly hotel that we felt comfortable sleeping in the sheets. I fell asleep really enjoying Kansas and hoping that we might see signs for somewhere fun to stop just for a moment the next day.

Day 3 (the 28th): 
This... for 200 miles. 


Pretty, but... yeah, I got what people were talking about. I got bored. Gwen got bored. We all got bored.

[I do want to note here that Gwen did amazing. Absolutely amazing. We put a big box of toys next to her, and a box of drawing supplies with paper. In the afternoon she would watch a movie on the Kindle. Sometimes she'd request certain music. She had a few moments of antsyness, but she did absolutely phenomenally! I was so impressed.]



Gwen stole my phone for a while to take pictures (with hundreds of miles to go on the same road, my GPS was a low priority).


Finally mid-morning, we saw this very welcome sign.


We also saw more wind farms...



Much to my dismay Southeastern Colorado remained very... Kansas-like. 

But slowly we started to rise, up and up and up... until we were 5860 feet above Philadelphia's level (and 4800 feet above Kansas). Suddenly the Rockies were in front of us, and we were... home.