Wow. I can’t believe I’ve lived here for over a year and a half now.
When I started to tell my friends and family that Denver was the plan after graduation, it wasn’t really much of a surprise. We had been coming here for the past three years before we moved and just loved the mountains and the people and the city so much, that it seemed like the next best step. There was an internship at a magazine I wanted to work at here, plus T wanted to get into the cannabis industry.
Denver, or Colorado, in general is not what I imagined it to be but it couldn’t be any less perfect. (Colorado natives are probably like “noooo, don’t tell anyone that!!!”) Since the pot boom of 2014, thousands have swarmed and nested into the Front Range (the stretch of land between Fort Collins to Colorado Springs, just before you ascend into the mountains) and property prices have quadrupled. What I pay to live here is twice the price I would have paid for in Columbia, but I am actually doing quite well as a server. Granted, I get paid $6 an hour to serve (where in Missouri, it’s a heartbreaking $3), and there’s a larger demographic of people who can afford to eat out and overtip here.
The neighborhood I live in, Jefferson Park, is located north of the Bronco’s football field. It’s one of the most expensive neighborhoods to live in in Denver because of its proximity to the city and it’s just shy south of currently one of the hottest neighborhoods in Denver, the Highlands. I have an amazing view of the city, and if I head just a few blocks west, I can already see the mountains. There’s constant construction of the most modern houses I’ve ever seen, and they all start at, at the very least, $500,000. The average age of Denver residents is around 35, so while that down payment seems intimidating to a post-grad who has to pay off her school and wedding, you have to keep in mind there’s a lot of very intelligent professionals who live here and make this city great.
When I first moved here, I thought the people were absolutely rude. They didn’t smile at you, didn’t make eye contact, I felt like they just knew I was a foreigner and wanted me to go away. But I had to rationalize that I came from the Midwest where hospitality is a thing and people are as kind as can be (to your face at least), that I shouldn’t expect the same in the West. I do love Coloradans though. Even though some (okay, a lot) I have met are self-righteous, they are caring, warm, confident, outspoken, and honest.
But back to the point. How’s Denver? I love living 20 minutes away from the mountains. I love getting lost in them and hiking and napping by rivers and feeling so small when I look up at them. And when I climb to the top, I feel closer to God. In a way, they are pretty godlike in all its magnitude and glory. I also love living right by Federal Boulevard, which has the longest strip of taco trucks I have ever seen in my entire life. There’s almost one on every corner. If you keep heading south on Federal, you’ll hit Little Saigon, where there’s all the pho and boba tea I could ever want. I don’t really go to mainstream downtown very often but when I do, RiNo (River North) is a short eight minutes away and hosts some of the best street art, breweries, and food (hey, Denver Central Market and Zeppelin Station!) in the city. Eating here is an adventure all on its own, though it can be an expensive hobby. I’ll eventually find a restaurant that doesn’t charge $10 a cocktail.
The only reason I would move is to become an editor at a publication. I’m still chasing my journalism dreams, and for some reason, cannot find the kind of job I want here. I really want to be an editor at a magazine for as long as print journalism is alive but can see myself working for a digital publication, too. Unfortunately, those jobs are typically located on the coast or at another major metropolitan, so moving is in the cards for me, no matter how much I love Denver. I also have a goal to become a full-time freelance writer by the end of the year, so my serving job is the perfect way to support me while I get started. Currently, I’ve applied for jobs that suit my interests, but while I wait, I can do it while having fun in the Mile High, too.