This morning, Denver awoke to it’s first snowfall of the season.
I’ve managed to befriend mostly transplants since moving out here, and we were bemused by the beginning of winter. We come from states where this snow would mark the end of sunshine for six months. We come from states where we sadly tuck our tshirts in the back of the closet and brace for subfreezing temperatures until spring. We come from states where blizzards will continue for days, take a break, then continue to dump for another week. We come from states where if the temperature happens to rise above 32*, we cringe because we know that black ice awaits come sunset.
Denver’s first snowfall had almost entirely melted by 10am.
For transplants, winter on the Front Range is comical.
I moved out here in January, and the locals immediately sympathized. “Oh, dear, welcome. How are you handling Colorado winters?”
“Oh, you mean the winter where I can wear a sundress several times a month?”
“Oh, you mean the winter where you are all confused that the snow is still on the ground after a week?”
“Oh, you mean the winter where even after the first snowfall I can forget my coat inside?”
Yeah, I like these kinds of winters.
It’s a good thing, too, because for the first time in my life I’ve transplanted instead of traveled. I’m in the United States but won’t be going home for Christmas. A twenty-two hour round trip drive is not nearly as practical as a six hour one when I’m only able to get two days off at a time.
A part of me is very lonely thinking of this reality. My birthday falls in between Christmas and New Years, so that week of winter has always been special for me. When I was talking with my mom today and confessed I probably wouldn’t be able to afford coming home for Christmas, she told me, “It’s not like I don’t care about you, but I also don’t expect you to. You’re in a new phase of your life and living much further away. Come home when you can.”
Armed with this blessing, I’m looking forward to the season instead of dreading the loneliness. Recently, I’ve found myself falling into a group of 20-30somethings that have a family dinner every Tuesday night. It’s a low key potluck style dinner with a different theme every week. It’s a group of transplants where little effort is required to build relationships – they just happen naturally. The Tuesday Crew has flowing conversations instead of “Oh, welcome! Let me put all this focus on you and learn about every intimate detail with the entire group staring at you!” I’ve been able to slip in and out, building my awareness and excitement with every week. And every time I walk in, I walk out less exhausted.
Uprooting and beginning a new life in a new city is much more difficult than flitting from country to country and living out of hostels. Traveler relationships are a thousand times easier than transplant ones. Travelers meet on a whim and form a connection for life. Transplants go out of their way to find each other and have to make an intentional choice to meet again. But this group of transplants makes the idea of a winter on the mountains much more enjoyable – there’s a future, but there’s also the present.
The first snow has fallen, but it doesn’t signal the end of anything this year. Instead, it’s new beginnings and life within adulthood. Friendmas, anyone?