Goodbye Colorado, Hello Utah

Boy has this week been a big one. So much has been going on I haven’t had the time to write about it all. The good thing though is that now I have a lot to write about. I don’t even know where to start, because its all happened so fast. For those who don’t know, I moved to Utah this week and now I’m living on my own in the dorms. This past week has involved a lot of goodbyes to people and places and things, and even more hellos. So what I want to do is just run through my hectic week and finish off with the letters to Colorado and Utah. This is the third in my “series” of posts, and it will probably be the last for a while. But without any more delay, let’s look at my week.

I’ll start with a week ago from today, which is shocking because it doesn’t feel like a week ago. I went to church in the morning and delivered a surprise I’d been working on since March. It had occurred to me, in March, that I got a lot of things from other people without giving anything physical in return. I also knew that I was leaving them in several months and I had to get things off my chest, so I began writing goodbye letters to everyone close to me, just telling them thank you for all they’ve done for me and how much they meant to me. I figured I could probably get each of them something more useful like food or trinkets or something, but in addition to being pretty poor and kind of a scrooge, I decided I’d use my passion for words to create a gift. The letter is something that can always be looked at and kept somewhere. Words are a lot more permanent than objects and food. So I delivered these letters to everyone as a I said goodbye to them. I went out to eat lunch with some friends and gave them their letters and then didn’t see any of them after that. I drove back to my dad’s house and started packing everything from his house. As I gathered everything up and walked through the house one last time, it started to hit me. My bed was empty, no more posters or clothes, virtually all evidence there was of me living there was gone, and I drove away knowing I wouldn’t see that house for a long time. Every mile of road I drove was a mile I wouldn’t travel for months. My life felt like a tape measure. I’d spent all my life pushing it farther and farther out, and when I left, it was like the tape measure snapped back in. I finished the day with some Buffy with my mom.

Moving ahead to Monday, it was a lot of packing, and we finished Buffy. Every time I see the finale my heart breaks a little inside because of deaths and also of joy. It ended so well, but the final episode just becomes so nostalgic, knowing that your journey with these characters is over, and you reminisce about all the adventures you had and loved ones you lost along the way. Oh man, it never fails to sucker punch me right in the feels. Other than packing and Buffy, I don’t think I really did much. Packing was pretty much it. It’s not really that interesting, so I won’t bore you with those details, but lets just say that finding everything that belonged to me and deciding if I could and wanted to take it with me was both long and strenuous. But also exciting and fun. Tuesday was much of the same, except it included more shopping and anxiety over the impending move the next day. I finalized everything and went to bed.

Wednesday was moving day, and man that day started so slow. I dropped my sister off at school and said goodbye, got a little gas for the car, moved things into the car, and discovered the bike wouldn’t fit in the car. So I rode the bike to the bike store and my mom drove there, and we got a bike rack. Finally after we got some prescriptions and filled up the tank, we took a goodbye selfie and hit the road around 11:00. The drive was long, of course, being about 7 hours in total, but it was the least boring a trip has ever been. We had satellite radio so there was always music, we stopped at Little America for ice cream and gas, and I saw something pretty funny there. Some woman let her pet guinea pig or giant hamster or something run around outside for whatever reason, and it was like a little Energizer bunny. It scurried around all over and almost scampered off, but the lady blocked it with her feet and it just tried to burrow through them. It was really pretty adorable and hilarious, and I almost video taped it. Aside from that, we talked a lot and listened to the music, I only slept for like 30 minutes in the beginning of the car ride. I also began measuring the trip in the number of times I heard the same song. This part made me really happy because it’s such an awesome song, but “Shut Up and Dance” was played 6 times on the ride there, and every time it came on, you can bet I cranked the volume and partied for a few minutes. I don’t know the names of the other most popular songs, but Taylor Swift made 5 appearances, 3 “Style”s and 2 “Bad Blood”s. Not gonna worry that I just disobeyed the rules of grammar. We finally got there, ate, and shopped a little bit. But we were exhausted, so we slept pretty early.

On Thursday, though, things really got exciting. I signed up for an orientation camping trip, so I had to be at the school by 8:30. I didn’t read the packing list until the night before, so I didn’t know flip flops weren’t allowed, so that morning we drove to “Wal-Mart” to buy new shoes. I put Wal-Mart in quotes because, as it turns out, Utah has Wal-Marts that are only grocery stores. We went to two grocery store Wal-Marts before we just went to Target. We raced around from store to store and finally got shoes and made it back just as the group was getting ready to leave. We drove up to Causey Reservoir, which, for my Colorado peeps, is much larger than Horsetooth. We unloaded our stuff and got ready for a day on the water. We were taught how to paddle board, and that’s what I did for several hours, minus a lunch break and a cliff jumping break. Once we finished our lunch, we paddle boarded down to the end of the reservoir and back, and it got really windy on the way back, plus we were going upriver, so it took a lot longer and it was much harder. But I learned how to paddle board, and I had a lot of fun. I would love to paddle board more. After we finished that, we went to the camp site and set up our tents. I was one of the few people with experience pitching tents, and it helped because we got our tent all set up and got to do fun things. We tossed a frisbee around, had a Kan Jam tournament (I made it to the semi-finals with my partner, and was one of I think two people to actually score an instant win), played volleyball, and then went and sat around the fire. We ate dinner, played a campfire game, a really sucky game called “Mafia,” and some of us stuck around for “Never Have I Ever.” I won, which I guess means I had the most boring life. Either way, I eventually got tired and went to bed. The dude sleeping next to me says when he came in, at which point I was sound asleep, I reached over and put my hand on him. I guess I’m a sleep cuddler.

The next day we packed stuff up and went back to the campus. I waited close to 50 minutes for my mom, and we got freshened up for orientation. To summarize, I got lunch, met some people, toured campus, spoke with advisors, learned about degree requirements, and finally got my school I.D. There was a kind of mini “Club Rush” there and I looked around there, got some candy, talked about financial stuff, and then my mom and I went shopping in the school store and got all loaded up with Weber gear. We went back to the hotel and relaxed for a while, until I went off to the “Late Night @ Weber” event, which included volleyball, mini golf, life size Jenga, spike ball, music, a rock wall, and bubble soccer. I kind of wandered around, played mini-golf and some volleyball, but mostly wandered around until I found a dance in this building called the Institute, which is an LDS church (I think) and supposedly it has classrooms for religious studies courses. I went in and out, being too chicken to be dancing on my own, but the “Cupid Shuffle” came on and I had to jump in because there were no partners or anything, it was just a giant herd of college students dancing the same dance in lines. It was awesome. Like always. After that though, I got over myself and started dancing. It was really fun, even without a group to dance with. They had a go pro that the used a lot, and if that video is ever put online or something, there’s more than likely footage of me on it. The DJ was really good, and we had some awesome songs play. One of them was “Shut Up and Dance,” but there were a lot of other good songs. They played two more line dances, “Cha-Cha Slide” and “Boot Scootin’ Boogie,” which were also super fun. Some crazy mosh pits happened, some dance circles with crazy talented dancers, and it was pretty rowdy. But it was awesome. I joked with my friends back in Colorado when I would drive with them to Friday night youth group that I wanted to go party with the Mormons because we drove by a Mormon church. I finally got to do that, and I just have to say that it was a blast. Maybe it’s true of all college students, but dang these people were fun! When that finally ended, I went back to the field for the prize giveaway, where they launch plastic golf balls with numbers on them into the air. One landed right in front of me, and I got it. After I got my prize (discounted gear rental from the Outdoor Program), I went home for the night. It was an awesome night.

That brings us to Saturday, or move-in day. I met my roommate, who is from Korea. He’s a super nice guy, the only issue is that he speaks very little English, so talking with him is really difficult. We got everything into the room, put stuff away, and went shopping some more for the last things we needed that couldn’t be brought from Colorado. We spent a good three hours (at the LEAST) shopping, and I was just ready to keel over by the end. We got everything though, and finished moving in, so now I have everything all in place. My bed is made, my clothes put away, my desk situated, internet running, I have my own mini house, and it’s pretty awesome. I even got to hang my Buffy poster in front of a small window, so now every day I get to see Buffy and Angel’s beautiful, glowing faces right over my bed. I’m pretty happy here. However, I also had to go eat dinner, and it was my first time using the campus dining hall, which is really weird and I’m not a huge fan of it. You get seven meals a week, and they offer three meals a day. So you have to choose one meal per day to eat. But only during certain times, and in those time frames you get six “swipes,” which is the equivalent of six plates of food. But you aren’t supposed to take food back to the dormitories, and there’s no way I can eat six plates of food in one sitting. And you can’t divide swipes between meal periods. No using two swipes for lunch and five for dinner, unless you want to use 2/7 weekly meals. Anyway, I ate the food (my mom smuggled the sandwich I couldn’t eat) and I went to the “dorm party” thing, which had volleyball, Frisbee, football, inflatable jousting, inflatable bungee basketball, inflatable slip’n’slide, and music. Now, everyone else had buddied up, and I am not a super outgoing person with strangers. I feel supremely awkward going up to someone’s face and asking to join in to something. So I watched everyone else have fun for a long time.

Eventually, I got up to go put some stuff in my room, and I walked near the Frisbee players, and one of them asked if I wanted to join. I told him, “In a minute,” because I wanted to charge my phone in my room. I came back out and joined in, and we tossed a Frisbee around for hours. It was pretty fun. We eventually had a challenge that you had to catch and throw a Frisbee while jumping. I got kinda good at it. But that was actually a lot of fun. It got dark and we kept going. Some people left, but three of us stayed. One of the people who left came back for a bit, and for a few minutes we got one more person, but she left and it was just four of us. We played the entire time the other games were dissipating and while the inflatables were being taken down. We got tired and one of the people asked if we wanted to play tomorrow (today now) and we all said sure, and we’re trying to get an Ultimate Frisbee club added. So we planned on meeting today for some Frisbee, and the guy left. That left just three of us, and we got to talking. A lot of it. Turns out we get along pretty well, and we talked for a solid three-ish hours, some of it outside in the dark, watching lightning, looking at the moon, and some of it was inside sitting in some chairs. One of them is from Alaska, and the other is from California, so we talked a lot about where we were from, and the California dude and I teased the Alaskan girl about all her weird sports. As it turns out, there are “Alaskan only” sports that she competed in that were really strange, and she also skinned a cat in class to look at its muscular structure. She was just from a strange culture and we played with her a little bit, but I’m gonna talk to her later and make sure we weren’t being too mean.

Anyway, I made some friends. It had been my fear that I wouldn’t ever meet anyone to hang out with, and I thought at the start of both events (Late Night and dorm party) that I would be forever alone, but luckily that is not the case anymore. I found a few really cool people who I enjoy being around and I think we’ll be good friends. That just makes me ecstatic. I couldn’t really sleep last night as a result of it, and just thinking about how I was sleeping in my dorm room on my own, living independently. So we talked for a long time, and eventually it got super late and we dispersed. California and I walked Alaska back to her residence hall to make sure she could get in, and then we walked back to our residence hall. We live like 20 feet from each other. He gave me a quick tour of his single room (no roommate), and I showed him mine briefly, but my roommate was asleep so it wasn’t a guided tour like he gave me. Anyway, we said goodnight and went our separate ways. Like I said, I could barely sleep. I had to wake up at 6:30 to meet my mom for breakfast one final time before she went back to Colorado. She also dragged me to different spots to take my picture. So about an hour ago, maybe an hour and a half, I said goodbye to my mom for the last time. I’m officially living on my own, in college, with some really cool people all around me. I’m super excited.

Colorado, you are the best. I love you so much. You took care of me for 18 years and prepared me for the real world. Almost my entire life I spent with you, and you’re all that I know. You saw me when I was born, and you saw me off to college. My family and friends are still with you, and I wouldn’t want them with anyone else. You’ll always be my home state, and you’ll always occupy a special place in my heart. You’ve been with me through my struggles and through my triumphs, and every nook and cranny. I have nothing but the utmost love and respect for you, but I cannot stay with you. I have to go and follow my heart, which for now belongs to Utah. I have to leave and experience independence, and grow more into my own person. It’s a painful decision to leave you behind, and I’ll of course be back to visit, but for now I have to go. I wish you the very best, and I thank you for everything you’ve given to me. Because of you, I’m ready to face the world. Goodbye, Colorado.

Utah, you own my heart now. I haven’t known you for the longest of times, but I feel something here that I can’t deny. I knew the second I saw you I had to be here. You give me such passion and love for those around me, whether they’re still in Colorado or not. You will grow me into a fully functional adult and productive member of society. You will expand my horizons and introduce me to new experiences and new people that will make my life amazing. I’m not used to being on my own yet, but I have no doubt that you will support me through this. From the time we’ve had together already, I can tell this you’ll be a fantastic addition to my life. I love you already, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for us. It is with great pleasure that I say, “Hello, Utah, I’m Jacob. Show me what you’ve got.”

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