Today marks mine and Boulder’s one year anniversary.
We’ve had a rocky relationship filled with hiking, climbing, rafting, and Quinzhees, and look forward to another year in love (even if it is one-sided). Reflecting on the past 365 days, here are six ways I’ve changed since moving to the Centennial State.
1. I now consider myself a foodie-in-training.
Never before have I thought of combining flavors in the way I do now, I feel like Ratatouille. The menus here revolutionize the way I look at beets and I’ve been introduced to the likes of Buffalo meat, Kombucha, and kale chips. Menus inspire techniques that go far beyond my old repertoire of satay, bake, or toast. I picked up one of my favorite culinary revelations from one of Boulder’s newest Pearl Street eateries, Zeal: using grated cauliflower in place of grain. A girl who likes her stir fry, cauliflower adds a crunchy satisfaction unlike anything rice could ever do.
2. I’m a total beer snob.
I’m sorry, you don’t have craft IPA? Your tap list doesn’t include Avery, Upslope, twenty other beers I’m vaguely familiar with, and at least 10 that are exclusive to your bar? And you don’t have a hopper in the back to dispense your jalapeño or coconut microbrews? At 22 I act as though I’ve been developing my beer palate since birth and consider Hazel’s Beverage World a must-stop for all my guests. Why have PBR when you can go to Mountain Sun and taste the entire beer list before selecting oh-so-carefully which one you’d like a full pint of?
3. My perception of ‘business attire’ has been completely skewed.
Months ago, I thought I’d hit up the Big Apple for grad school; but until a yoga top under a Goodwill flannel is appropriate dress for Wall Street, I think I’ll stick to the mountains. When I got my first big-girl-office-job, I spent $300 on business clothes from White House Black Market, only to return them (and spend the money on skis) after looking like a complete fool wearing dress pants and a subtle heel to my first day on the job.
4. I’ve developed the mentality that you’re supposed to be tired on Mondays.
Sunday is not a day to sleep ’til eleven and watch Netflix until 4pm, it’s a day to crawl out of your tent at the crack of dawn and carpe diem. Whether that be hiking a 14er or backcountry skiing is peoples’ choice, as long as it requires polar fleece and a Nalgene.
5. I’m, like, 500% more active.
On that note, being bored in Boulder is something I have yet to encounter. Besides being a foodie’s paradise and hotbed for free entertainment, the city’s 300 miles of hiking and biking trails and 45,000 acres of open space means hell will freeze over before you run out of things to do. Rock climbing in Boulder Canyon or hiking Bear Peak, you’re quite literally never with out something (or six things) to do.
6. I don’t have any money.
Aside from being extremely active, I’m also flat broke and have acquired 500% more stuff since moving to Boulder. I call my new stuff “gear” to legitimize the number of paychecks I’ve signed over to REI. My climbing gym membership automatically withdraws $80 from my sad bank account each month, and I’ve purchased three different types of helmets since my arrival. If it’s local, organic, or cage free, I’m willing to drop an extra couple bucks on it for environmental and personal health (see #6), making my tri-weekly visits to Sprouts cost a bit more than the Ramen and caged chicken eggs of bygone days. Oh, and I can legally buy beer now (see #2). In defense of Boulder’s not-so-cheap rent, it’s for good reason. High taxes protect and maintain those trails and open space and allow us to thrive under 300 days of sunshine each year.
6. I’m hyper-conscious of the impact I have on the environment.
I have never seen litter in Boulder. I’m sure it’s there, but I’m also sure some caring citizen is just seconds behind its fall, waiting to scoop it up and deposit it in the nearest compost bin. There’s a huge push here for environmental responsibility, so much so that it’s grounds for ostracization if your neighbor doesn’t reduce, reuse, and recycle. I’ve always been conscious of litter but it wasn’t until moving to Boulder that I began to hang onto my apple core until I find a compost bin (which is never too far).
Check out the Boulder Relocation Guide for everything foodie, beer snob, outdoorsy, and green in Boulder.