Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Nicholas Moore On Realizing Where You Want To Be

            My time out in Denver has been everything I hoped it would be and then some. Everyone is going to tell you about how the culture is so different here in Colorado than the Midwest, but to me I think it is the best of both of worlds.
            Here in Denver the pace of life is fast because it has to be, it is a city after all. But where Denver separates itself from other big cities is its friendly attitude and atmosphere. Growing up near Chicago, I was able to experience the city life and culture whenever I really wanted to. I would often times take the train in to the city with my friends or family and just walk around the city and visit museums or shops. The city was always an enjoyable place for me because I loved to escape the occasional boredom that came with growing up in a smaller town. The one thing I didn’t like about Chicago was the general attitude of everyone for themselves and the lack of compassion for some communities. Here in Denver people are always generally pretty nice to one another and the amount of dedication and care for the community I have seen from so many people I have come into contact with here in Denver. I have actually been fortunate enough to be involved with the community while here in Denver. It feels great to be able to feel like you are making an impact for the city and everyone who lives in it.
            While living in Denver I have realized the need to stay active and appreciate the outdoors is far greater than that of the people in the Midwest. I think I have spent more time at the park or hiking than I spent in my apartment the whole semester. On any given sunny day above 50 degrees you can go to the park just a few blocks away from the apartments and see the entire park covered in Denver residents enjoying the great day. In my opinion, this atmosphere is just something you unfortunately do not get to experience in the Midwest.
            Sometimes though, I feel it is important to just look past how two places differ from each other like the Midwest and states like Colorado in the Rocky Mountain Area and think about where it is you yourself fit in and how you want to live your life. Every region has something for everybody, but for me, I feel like the Denver lifestyle is something that I strongly relate with. In the end, coming out in Denver has confirmed two things for me: My love for the city of Denver will continue to grow every day I spend here and this will certainly not be my last time out West.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Alyssa Hewitt and the People of Denver

            I probably was considered a city newbie when I first came to Denver. Having lived my entire life in the suburbs outside of Des Moines, Iowa, I had only experienced a city in brief visits. Mostly, I knew cities as places where a lot of people lived and where there were big, tall buildings and higher rates of crime. That all changed when I came to live in Denver, and what changed my perspective was the people of the city.
            When you think of people who live in a city, what comes to mind first? For me, it was businessmen and women and hopeful college grads. Then I actually started walking around in Denver, and I started noticing that there were all sorts of people here, from the homeless person on the corner to the single mom in the grocery store to, yes, even a CEO or two in fancy cars. That opened my eyes. A city, I realized, was not about what you see from the outside. It’s not about the skyscrapers and traffic jams and city parks, it’s about the people. The people are the heart and soul of a city, and I found that Denver has some pretty special ones.
            We have met with a lot of cool people and organizations in our classes out here that are really making a difference in the community. We have been to an indoor farm that sits in the middle of a food desert, selling all natural produce at little cost to families below the poverty line. We have heard from a former homeless man now dedicated to helping those who were in his same situation. We have learned of advocacy groups fighting to get more affordable housing and those who are fighting to make the city more sustainable. These are the people that have inspired me.
            Picturing a city now, I see business people who are in the business of helping other people, the people who dedicate their lives to non-profits and advocacy work just because they know it is the right thing to do. If anyone ever knew that one kid from high school that was really passionate about a certain topic in all the class debates, but that you lost touch with after graduation, I think I know where they went. They went to a city, where they don’t see the crowded streets as an annoyance so much as a resource for making a difference.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Olivia Jansen Talks Healthy Habits in Denver

Since coming to Colorado, I’ve realized the culture here is very different. And no, I’m not talking about legal marijuana. I’m talking about the active lifestyle that most people living here choose to have. Not saying people in Iowa aren’t active or healthy, but people here seem to take it to another level.

On my first hike, I felt like I was getting a good workout just walking up the trail. I was amazed to find that people were running past us! And this wasn’t a flat trail. There were rocks, uneven ground and even some ice, but everyone just flew past us like it was nothing. When I visited Red Rocks with my family this past weekend, I was again surprised to see so many people working out on the steps. I knew people ran them but some people were doing squat jumps all the way up and even doing handstand pushups from the top step to the bottom.

And the parks here are always packed on a nice day. There’s people playing volleyball, tossing a Frisbee and the occasional group of people doing partner-yoga. It’s something that I don’t think is very common where I come from. On a nice day, I can’t say I’ve heard a lot of people suggest taking a trip to the park. But there’s two parts of a healthy lifestyle and a lot of people here seem to be dedicated to their nutrition too. There’s so many organic grocery stores here! Of course they’re in the Midwest too, but here there seem to be more concentrated in certain areas. Even in the normal grocery stores, each aisle has an organic section and they often have a healthy living section, with things like protein and quinoa.

Being surrounded by such dedicated people is kind of inspiring and makes you want to start living a little healthier, at least in my case. So no, it’s not the most obvious culture difference that people associate with Colorado. But I think it’s an equally important quality that makes the state of Colorado unique.