It’s been over 3 months since our arrival in Boulder, and most of my conversations with friends involve a rundown of how it’s going. I’m surprised by how at home I feel here. Maybe it reminds me of the Palo Alto of the 70’s (definitely not the dot.com version). The kids are doing well in school; Bill is enjoying teaching. His position is not without challenges and he’s working plenty hard, but still we get to see more of him. I especially appreciate having him home in the mornings, helping with the morning rush and just getting the girls out the door.
The scale of life here allows for us to bike with Maia, or sometimes even walk (about a mile) to school with her. I pick up the girls by 4 most days, and some days Lucy is home earlier than that. With Norris home I can bring Maia back from school before running up to the preschool most days, giving both girls time to hang out and just enjoy downtime. It’s really nice. Of course some of that is a function more of my not working than Boulder per se.
The hard stuff is how scattered my schedule is. The first couple of months I found myself essentially doing errands full time – running to Target, the grocery store, to a cafe, back home and out again. And cleaning, cleaning, cleaning. Even though the driving here is easy, it’s still not fun to be in the car for hours on end. With Lucy’s school a 20 minute drive away, I am still in the car over an hour a day (2 round trips), but trying to find ways to reduce my car trips. And reminding myself that things will be better next year when she is in kindergarten at the same school as Maia.
In the past month, we’ve gotten some help with the household chores and I’ve also focused in on preserving slightly larger blocks of my time – having 3 hours to sit down and work on my freelance gig, on my startup idea, on my own learning curve, or whatever I need to do. Gaps and downtime are filled by time-appropriate tasks – 20 minutes before end of school? fold a load of laundry. Early to a coffee meeting? Check on the flight costs for our trip to the Bay Area. etc. etc.
The nicest thing is that socially, we have landed in a very nice, existing eco-system of Bill’s colleagues, a number of whom are (more or less) in the same phase of life – raising school aged kids, new-ish to Boulder. I’ve joined a (faculty/spouse) book club. A large number of the faculty friends passed through the Bay Area in their academic careers, and share the liberal intellectual mindset.
I’m also getting to know the startup scene, networking and making contacts here, noodling on my idea, getting feedback and feeling energized and collegial. There are meetups, events, informal coffees, workshops… every day of the week. Folks here are pretty open minded, supportive and interested.
Being far away from family and friends, favorite haunts and landmarks is hard. But if you have to leave, I have to say Boulder is about as good a place to land as I can imagine.