Denver, two months in and finally breathing

This is me admitting defeat: in one hour, there is one month and three days until my birthday, and according to my countdown, there are thirteen posts left to do to make my goal from last year. That simply isn’t going to happen. Better luck next time, Leah.

I’ve survived my first two months in Denver (if we don’t count that first week that I spent scanning Craigslist and making IKEA trips before the Austrian’s graduation), and not only can I walk up an entire flight of stairs without wheezing, but I can also have a full two drinks before I reach hangover stage.

I’m adjusting well.

Without stating the obvious, moving from a city like London (~9 million) to a city like Denver (~700k) is an extraordinary change. I’m living in an apartment that’s more or less the same size as Weald Palace, directly in the downtown, and at a lower rent. I can walk (nearly) everywhere, and have a good burger place, a good beer/pingpong place, and a good wine/cocktail place, all within 15 minutes. Coming home with a Lyft is somewhere in the area of $5 instead of £15.

The most important difference, though, is the SUN. In the past two months, I’ve seen the sun more than I did in almost four years in England. I wear sunscreen daily here. I walk on the shady side of the street. I never thought I would say these words.

That, plus Denver’s location at less than an hour away from the closest of the Rockies, means that weekends are spent hiking and skiing (or ski-biking, which is a thing, apparently). Consequentially, outdoorsy injuries (read: ACL tears) are commonplace, and local surgeons can correct that particular injury with their hands bound, eyes closed, and hanging upside down from the ceiling while sipping a margarita through a straw.

As a result, and contrary to the common sense idea that injuries aren’t really a good thing, it turns out that walking around with a full-leg brace post-ACL surgery is a mark of honor. You know, like a Purple Heart, except not. No fewer than ten people have individually come up to Felix in public to ask him about his recovery, encourage him along, and share their own skied-into-a-tree/fell-down-a-mountain/tripped-over-the-cat ACL stories.

What a concept: an Old Men’s Club based on having just a touch too much fun instead of discriminatory politics. I’m going to start making t-shirts.

Maybe also because everyone out here is so crunchy, I’ve been struggling to find good pizza that doesn’t entail a 30-minute drive (the hunt was never resolved in London, but I’m holding out hope here). We all know that NYC has the best-tasting water on God’s Green Earth™, and therefore the best pizza crusts and bagels, but I have to admit that what flows out of the tap here isn’t too bad. So rationally, the only thing it could be is that the market has adjusted to hiking aficionados that are worried about eating too much cheesy goodness to drag themselves up the ~9,000 foot climb from Denver to the peak of a 14’er.

But they don’t know what they’re missing out on. As I learned today, there’s no better way to finish a nearly-vertical hike up to a 12,000 foot lake (it was gorgeous, by the way) than with a pizza made by a guy from Brooklyn. And so, as always, I continue my role as Pizza Evangelist – this time a mile high.

I couldn’t REALLY leave the UK completely behind

Wood floors! A tree! My throne! I’m a happy girl.

300 days of sunshine per year

Dating an Austrian has increased my attendance at baseball games by 400%. Who knew.

Felix climbed an entire 14’er while recovering from an ACL injury. Beat that.

Also around the corner from me: D Bar. Like a sushi bar, but dessert.

Twenty minutes my my apartment: Voodoo Doughnuts, home of the Cock’n’Balls Doughnut.

Friends are more likely to visit when they don’t need to cross an ocean, as it turns out

Most of that smoke is exactly what you think it is. When in Denver …

Moving onto nature: flowers


Lying signs. There are not two dogs.

Hungry and sunburnt, and I still don’t have hiking boots. You can take the girl out of New York …

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