In February of 2004, my husband and I took the biggest road trip of our newly married lives and drove from Mississippi to Colorado for a vacation. From our first look at the majestic Rocky Mountains and walks in the snow to the sounds of bubbling brooks and elk herds, we were captivated. We knew that life would never be the same, and we swore to make Colorado the place where we would raise a family.
It took a little longer than we had hoped given we had 3 children in the next three and a half years and were a single income family, but we never stopped hoping, praying, and working to make it happen.
We moved to Colorado Springs two years ago, and it’s an understatement to tell you it is everything I dreamed of. However, this was our first big move, and I was surprised by a few things considering all the research I did online.
The friendliest people in the world live here.
We were bombarded by introductions and gifts from our new neighbors, and we were just renters! The cashiers at the grocery store actually smile. When the drive-through guy at McDonald’s asks me how I’m doing, I feel like he really wants to know.
The schools are amazing, and you can pick the one you want.
We were beyond grateful for the choice program because we were in temporary housing when school started. Registering for school was easy, and I have been so incredibly impressed with the quality education that my children are receiving. Art includes pottery, painting, drawing, and more. Technology classes are preparing them for today’s modern world. The Physical Education program is top-notch teaching them healthy lifestyle habits.
Getting around town is actually pretty easy.
The first thing you learn is which direction is west—the mountains. I noticed that many of the streets were built on a grid system, and you’re good to go once you learn some major cross streets.
You will never be able to visit all the parks.
The hierarchy goes like this: national, state, regional, city, & pocket. Our neighborhood alone must have a dozen small playground areas. The regional parks combine play areas and picnic pavilions with hiking trails. State parks provide great camping or day use facilities. I’m constantly finding new places to take my kids, and the actual playground equipment has stuff so fun that you might find me on a zip line rather than the sidelines.
The weather is crazy.
Layers are definitely the rule here. You may need your sweatshirt in July and your tank top when there’s snow on the ground. Don’t mess around with the lightning, and don’t count out a beautiful evening outdoors after an afternoon flash flood.
I could tell you so much more like how there are dogs everywhere but no dog poop and how you are going to be asked if you’re “military” wherever you go. I could tell you how a chip bag explodes when you bring it from a sea level vacation and how you should really ask if a house has air conditioning before you sign the lease. I could also tell you that moving here has changed our lives. Our list of things to do never gets any smaller, and everyday feels like vacation. Perhaps the best part is that I don’t have to drive twenty hours for a Colorado vacation anymore—I only need to step out my front door.