I arrived in THE Mountain Town in the latter part of January 2009 after having left Utopiaville, CO a few days before. There had been many times in my life when I had arrived in a new town, site unseen, knowing nobody, and excited about what was to come. But this time was different. I was making this move because I finally got a "real" job. One that not only used my two degrees, but also didn't end when the season changed. And as much as I tried to resist this blind dive into the real world, it was a necessary move. After all I had just turned 31 only a few weeks before and it was time for the world's longest SpringSummerHoliday Break to end. I could hear my parents' sighs of relief 2000 miles away.
Despite my apprehension, I was excited about this new chapter in my life. Everyone told me "you are going to LOVE THE Mountain Town! It is just like Colorado! It's amazing, the best place in the whole world! You are sooooooo lucky!" So I packed up my Subaru Forester (a required car if you live in Colorado), put my cat Piglet in his carrier, placed him in the passenger seat and naively set out for my new life.
Then I drove into The Mountain Town, and all that excitement gushed out of me like a deflating balloon. The first thing I saw besides The Mountain (there is only one), was the dog food factory. The surrounding hillsides had been gouged, the material removed for road construction and landscaping, leaving behind abstract mounds that only a pretentious New York art collector could love, if they were on crack.
I quickly made my way to my new apartment, surely it could only get better.
I was wrong. My apartment which I had rented site unseen, was not in the nicest part of town, a relative statement to say the least. Upon entry I noticed a pond of water which had settled into a depression in front of the refrigerator. I called the leasing office was told "it wasn't like that the last time maintenance was in the apartment and besides, our maintenance guy is on vacation and there is nobody else available to fix the problem". I crawled up in my sleeping bag (my furniture had not yet arrived) and bawled, and bawled, and bawled, for about a week. I was alone, in an ugly town, in a crappy apartment, with no friends and only my cat to comfort me. Maybe this wasn't such a great idea. Maybe I should have stayed in Utopiaville, CO and worked seasonal jobs for the rest of my life. I mean really, who needs savings and a retirement fund?
For the first time in my life, I called my parents crying, telling them how unhappy I was and that I just didn't want to be there. My parents were in Australia, and while they tried to sound concerned as they insisted it would get better, I got the feeling they were the ones concerned, concerned that I may back out of this new grownup lifestyle and return to SpringSummerHoliday Break land. Then, as I heard a didjeridu and cheering in the background, my mom quickly exclaimed "Don't worry sweetheart you'll get through this you always do we have to go they are about to put the shrimp on the barbie!" Thanks Mom and Dad, by the way your Australian accents sound more Long Island than Crocodile Dundee.
Within a week I had broken my lease and by the end of the month had moved into a new, much nicer apartment. I still didn't know many people in town, but at least I didn't need a snorkel to access my 'fridge. Baby steps.