One Month In Denver
At age 25 after finishing a year long dietetic internship in April, graduating from my 3 year nutritional science masters program in May, and passing my national board exam in July, I moved across the country to my new home and my first big girl job as a Registered Dietitian to start the first week of August. It’s been a whirlwind ever since. Have I mentioned I had never been to Denver till August 2nd 2019?
I’ve never felt so unsettled in my life. I tried to think about to my college move, watching my parents and sister walk away from my dorm I remember feeling this deep pit in my stomach that had never been there before. It was like a hole where they were and I had to figure out how to deal with it. I remember quickly burying those feeling with activities. That same night my new roommates and I went to dinner and explored. I then joined a sorority, studied, and acclimated to college life. I just stuffed my feelings down because at that point I didn’t really know how to deal with them.
This move was much of the same except for the last part. I felt every feeling and I made space for those feelings. I felt the pit after dropping my mom off at Union Station, had to keep it together to drive home safely, and then let it all out… over and over again. That first week everything made me cry. Little things, and big things. I cried that I didn’t intuitively know how to set up the internet, that I got a parking ticket because I didn’t read the sign enough times, that my trader joes was unfamiliar, that I was on an uncomfortable air mattress because I didn’t order my bed in time, that my immediate family wasn’t close like they were in LA or Chicago. I just really want to normalize these feelings because I KNOW other people feel this way. The amount of people who reached out on instagram saying thank you to sharing my transition was evidence of that. People make moving to a completely new place look so damn easy on social media. It’s not easy at all. There were times I let my anxiety get the best of me where I belittled my feelings telling myself that all my college friends that had moved away did it so much better than I did and that I’m such a loser for feeling so deeply. Then my rational self came back and said that they had a hard time too but we just didn’t talk about it. Sharing hard feelings isn’t super socially accepted.
So week 1 was a lot of crying but also there were some great highs of that week. A lot scrambling to make some sense of normalcy around me. At work with Hannah I mainly sat in on her sessions and did some insurance contracting stuff. I met some people too in the ED treatment provider community so that was great. I think I had a few leads for clients this point maybe like 2. I spent time with friends that I had known from different parts of my life here. Spent my first Friday here with my cousins in the burbs. Met a friend from high school for mass and brought her to my Zumba class I tried half way through my first week, and did some bopping around with Natalie who has quickly become a close friend after meeting each other at CSULA.
I felt an immense sense of accomplishment with every “adult” thing I did. I set up automatic bill pay on my credit card, built furniture, made meals for myself, and kept putting myself out there.
Week 2 was definitly more of an “up” week. I met Amy, Karlee, and Natalie, for free yoga in Civic Center Park on Monday, took my first clients on Wednesday, and saw friends from college on Thursday and Friday. I went to my first Rockies game, and again kept putting myself out there to meet people. As I write this, I feel like I’m doing ok, like this move and this place is slowly becoming a good thing.
Week 3 has been even more of an up week. I no longer need maps to direct me from work back to my apartment or around town for the most part, I have support and friends, and I’m excited to be here. I have a routine and if you are a Type A creature of habit like me, routine is heaven.
I asked instagram what questions you had about my move here are some.
How did you stock up a new kitchen?
I bought the basics. Olive oil, salt, pepper, cinnamon, 2 dinners, 2 lunches, 2 breakfasts. I brought a lot of cookware from home. My Oma gave me 2 of her favorite pots that double as nostalgic reminders of her cooking as a kid. I took a baking pan, loaf pan, plates, bowls, coffee mugs, and skillet from home. I brought dish towels and pot holders too. The rest I bought at Target. I bought a knife set, dish drying rack, silverware, 4 wine glasses, 4 drinking glasses, and some other small items. I still don’t have a mixing bowl or big plates but I’m doing totally ok for the time being. I started with only what I needed and I’ll go from there!
How are you making friends in a new city?
This is interesting. Part of it is putting myself in new situations and chatting with new people (everyone is sooo friendly here!) and part is reaching out to old friends or getting connected with friends of friends. I found such community at my Y at home I thought that going to a similar place would maybe bring me some connections. I got a suggestion to try the Carla Maddison rec center and I immediately made a fast friend while waiting in line to enter the Zumba room. I met her cute baby and husband too. If you throw the Zumba teacher in there I met 4 new people in a matter of 20 minutes.
I also feel really lucky that instagram has brought me so many friends. This is the amazing up side to social media. The non-diet RD community here is STRONG and I felt welcomed right away. Although I didnt meet some of these ladies in person till a few weeks ago, I felt like I knew so much about them already and that made grabbing a glass of wine or asking for help moving a couch later in the week so easy. I reached out to some college friends too. I felt a little weird having not seen (besides seeing them on social media) or talked to them in literally 3+ years but we already had so much in common and had spent time together in greek life back in Chicago. From there I tagged on to their friends stuff and you get the rest. It just all starts with a hi I’m here and would love to see you or hi! I’m Connie, I just moved here! People are kind here. It’s just easier to talk to people. I had a full on wonderful conversation with a girl in my uber pool yesterday. Stuff like that just starts from putting yourself in uncomfortable situations.
Some of my other friends who have moved found Bumble BFF amazingly helpful or websites like MeetUp where you can sign up with similar interests and meet new people who are also new to a city. Church has also been a great place to sign up for small groups or met the person next to you.
I’ve already lost count of the times I walked into a group of people that all know each other and I’m the outsider. I had to throw on my best smile and positive self talk and by the end of the meeting, dinner, or whatever, I feel like I’ve made connections and feel 100% better than when I walked in. It isn’t comfortable though. It may look easy on social media but I promise you I’ve been really uncomfortable.
As Brene Brown would say courage over comofrt. You have to be vulnerable in order to make authentic connections.
Were you nervous?
UM YEAH. I don’t handle change well. Even positive change. I was scared about just about everything but underneath it all I had so much excitement for a new life chapter. It just felt really right in my gut so I went with that.
I’ll keep these updates up as I grow and evolve in Denver. Sending all of you reading this in a transition time so much love and support. You CAN do this.