Over the past few months, I’ve slowly been working my way through my entire archive of blog posts, reading them with an equal sense of nostalgia (dangerous!) and wonderment at how far I’ve come in the past three and a half years.
I went from a wide-eyed kid blown away by six inches of dirty snow on the sidewalk who frequently had moments of “oh shit, I live in the U.S. now. I made it” to writing a newspaper column, learning to drive on the other side of the street, speaking the local lingo and ultimately, finally, feeling like all of this was completely normal and not needing to write about it so much.
And that was just my time in Maine. Having spent the last 16 months or so in South Florida, the feeling of “this isn’t an adventure, it’s just real life” has definitely increased somewhat. These days, “challenges for a new immigrant” are much less frequent, and I have a lot less inspiration to write based on a feeling of wow, look at this thing that’s different to what I’m used to.
But while I was reading back over my 100,000-plus words on this very website, one completely innocuous throwaway line stuck with me, one I’d written to a reader who asked me about what I thought of Denver when I lived there briefly pre-Maine:
I’d truly love to find a job there and move back.
And you know what’s crazy? That just happened. I’m moving back to Denver.
As far as opportunities go, this one all but came out of the blue. I’d been dabbling in the job market for a few months, and had steadily ramped up my activity since the new year. I had a few prospects come and go, and a couple of them looked like they were serious possibilities, but playing the waiting game was wearing seriously thin.
Then, a couple weeks ago, I spent a long weekend in New York City with some of my good friends, and when I came back to real life I was hungover, broke and felt very far away from the people I’d originally moved to the U.S. to try and see more frequently.
Over the coming week I had one of those “I have to break out of this funk, starting right now” moments, and started making some plans to be able to get myself out of the rut in 2017. And a few days after that, an email from the Denver Post materialized in my inbox, and piqued my curiosity.
It was an incredibly quick process, which is contrary to the interview experiences I’d had in the few months prior, and within the space of a week I’d spoken to 11 members of staff on three different days, taken an editing test and agonized over whether a second cross-country move in less than 18 months was for me, regardless of the role.
Ultimately though, the kind folks at the Denver Post made me an offer I absolutely couldn’t refuse, and now here I am, in the midst of working out how to get my (admittedly minimal) pile of belongings from Palm Beach County to the Rockies. But put it this way: I’m absolutely not driving.
To put it simply, I’m pumped. I loved the short amount of time I spent in Denver back in 2013, while I was waiting to interview for my green card, and I’m excited to explore and learn the city and its surroundings from the point of view of someone who’s got a home base and an income, as opposed to the dude living out of a cheap hotel room and chewing through his savings.
I don’t know exactly how much I believe in fate, but the opportunity certainly feels like a case of things coming full circle. Just as I landed a lottery green card on my first entry, and just as I managed to secure jobs at the Kennebec Journal and Palm Beach Post on my third application at each (seriously), now it’s a chance to reestablish myself in a city that I enjoyed the first time around.
That’s not to say it’s going to be 100 percent easy to leave West Palm Beach, though. Aside from reasons I won’t bother to delve into, I can’t help but feel like I’m leaving a lot of things on the table in South Florida. I spent long enough in Maine that I had the opportunity to do a lot of things on my bucket list, and I had the means to do so, but the past year or so in West Palm has sometimes been a real uphill battle financially, due to the cost of living and other unforeseen circumstances.
So I’m sad that I wasn’t able to find a weekend to see the famous Florida Keys, or spend more time exploring Miami and more of Palm Beach County. But by the same token, I’ve been able to see other parts of the Sunshine State that I absolutely didn’t anticipate, like Yeehaw Junction, and the Yankees’ spring training home at George Steinbrenner Field in Tampa.
Obviously the promise of a slightly larger salary comes with an increased chance to live more, be it around Denver or the opportunity to take more weekend trips once my savings account has been restored to a more healthy condition and my credit card bills are paid off.
Moving to Colorado does also mean a return to a state with four seasons, so there goes my dream of never shoveling snow again. In saying that, it’ll be a different kettle of fish in Denver, a considerably larger metro area than Hallowell was. I’ve gotta think that the city has more plow trucks, and hopefully public transit means I can do less driving in the white stuff. Either way, I’m ready for cooler temperatures, less humidity and being comfortable in jeans again. It’s been a while.
I think the biggest thing, though, is that with every passing day, I get more and more excited in a really wide-eyed way. I don’t think I’ve anticipated a move this much since the very first day I took off from Australian, green card in hand, with really no idea where I’d end up. I know where I’m going now, and it’s somewhere I’ve been before, and now I’ve got a few years of experience under my belt so I don’t have to stumble through all those teething problems again.
Everything fell into place just right. It’s also taught me that life has a way of putting opportunities in front of you at the right time, and it’s up to you whether you seize them or not.
So stay tuned – my next dispatch in these pages will be from the Mile High City!