It only seems like yesterday we were driving through Illinois commenting, "Man, there are a lot of cornfields here!" but to our surprise, it's been 6 months to the day since we moved here.
The biggest concern for Peggy and I with moving was the impact it was going to have on Chloe. While in PA, it was a good several days for her to begin to understand what was involved and how things were going to be different. (A side note: if any of you plan on moving or even visiting here with small children, be careful on trying to explain to them the fact that there is less oxygen at a mile above sea level. Once you let that cat out of the bag, it might take a while for you to get your point across that people can still live and breathe at that altitude.) It pleases me to no end to report that, much to the delight and comfort of Peggy and I, she has taken the change in-stride and is off to a great start here. She's doing really well in school (AND enjoying it to boot), has developed a great group of friends in the neighborhood and at school, and has enjoyed the new experiences like skiing and Spanish classes.
So, what are our thoughts about living here? We love it here. We really do. We've made some great friends already, which has gone a long way in having us enjoy our lives out here. I know some people thought the major factor in our decision to move here was so that we could be in a cycling, skiing and hiking mecca. I won't lie... The relative ease of being able to do those things is great, for sure, and part of the reason why we love it here so much is the outdoorsy stuff we like to do – I'm biking more and have joined a team, Peg's running and hiking more, and we're skiing, biking and hiking as a family.
But it's more than that.
A lot of it has to do with the day-to-day things, like: not having to wait 3 cycles to get through a traffic light; or having kids in the neighborhood for Chloe to play with; or being able to cut the grass in 20 minutes (vs. 2 hours); or being able to walk/bike to places and not having to use a car for everything; or not having to get dressed up to go to a nice restaurant; or the ability to get in to town easily if you want to, or to get into the mountains easily if you want to.
Yes, there have been some eye-opening incidents (e.g. wildfires, mountain lions and coyotes "foraging" in town, house-rattling winds) and we suspect there will be more of them in the months and years ahead. But we've quickly come to accept them as the "new realities" of life in the West. And we do miss getting together with family and friends back East, but this blog, along with e-mail, Facebook and Skype, have helped bridge the distance.
We've been asked if we have any regrets about moving out here. After factoring in all of which I just wrote, Peggy and I can think of just one: That we didn't move out here sooner.