It wasn’t long before I moved to New York City that I fell in love with it. I was five years old and I got butterflies at the sight of the skyline at night. Papi would proudly point at it, smile really wide and say “That’s your city! The best city in the world!” My eyes twinkled like the hundreds of tiny lit windows that covered the twin towers. The city sky was starless but the city was still bright. New York City will forever be my home.
Today, I have two homes. I never thought I would say that about Colorado.
I moved to Denver without ever visiting. I flew into Denver at night and when I saw the Denver skyline, I flickered my eyelids in disbelief. My head tilted. “That’s it?” I asked. “That’s the city? Those 6 little buildings?” The answer to all of these questions was yes.
I was on the corner of 13thand Sherman Street walking to Kindness yoga for a class when I stopped to feel my emotions. Denver did not feel like home yet. I questioned why I came here. I stood there and looked around at my unfamiliar surroundings. There was a cold breeze but the heat from the sun made it feel like I could take the box of summer clothes I had put away back into my drawers. There is nothing more powerful than the sun here, not even Colorado’s winter snow. Here, I still feel warmth on the coldest days.
Behind the historic buildings in Capitol Hill and the brand new apartment buildings downtown, the Rocky Mountains sit as Denver’s backdrop. The mountains stare right at me on my way to run an errand, on my way to work, on my way to somewhere I don’t want to be. They remind me that they are there and are not going anywhere.
One of the best decisions I have ever made was choosing to live somewhere outside of New York City. When I decided to leave, there were a lot of people who said things to me like “okay, see you in a year.” People really thought I would come back fairly quickly. When I got here, I was unimpressed the first time I saw the city. I thought I would leave soon too. In the daylight, I began to explore and would find gems within the city I could connect to. I felt the sun almost everyday. I stepped on the mountains I could see from city streets. I camped, sat around fires and stared up at more stars I have ever seen in my life.
I ended up living just blocks away from 13thavenue and Sherman Street. Walking toward that corner today, I feel at home. The yoga studio that I remember searching for has become my go-to. The restaurant below the studio has become the place I take most of my loved ones the moment they land on a visit. When I walked around there almost six years ago, I thought people knew I wasn’t from there. I felt conspicuous and out of place. That vicinity today represents growth and transformation. It brings me comfort to know that change always begins to feel better, so much so, that change can begin to feel like home.