One of the things I looked forward to most about settling in one place for the entire summer was being able to provide some consistency of scenery, people, and activities. We have been so secluded on our adventure, and finally feeling familiar somewhere was a nice feeling.
We started the summer by immediately visiting the library. I had researched the library prior to our arrival, so I knew there was an active story time and that they would be doing a summer reading program. On our first visit, we were introduced to the librarians, given all the information for the summer activities, and left with an application for a library card (because Will was volunteering at the state park, we were able to get a card for free, which required a letter from the park; library cards are typically available to nonresidents for a nominal fee, but we have been lucky to be in some very generous communities).
When we returned the following Tuesday for story time, we were greeted by name and welcomed with open arms. This was the first time outside of Pittsburgh that we have felt that kind of community and it felt good.
While at the library, I also learned about swimming lessons at the community pool and quickly signed Bird up for the Parent-Tot class just to get her feet wet (so to speak).
Again, stepping into the pool on the second day of class, we felt that welcoming feeling from the instructor, the lifeguards, and the other parents and tots we met the day before. Bird truly loved every second of our swim lesson together, and we were able to get her into the pre-level 1 class immediately following. Going to the pool became a daily routine for 3 weeks, and we were all a little sad to see that time come to an end (partially for the people, but mostly for the progress Bird was making in the pool). However, we made it back a few more times before the pool closed for the season and felt that embrace through our last visit.
Putting effort into growing our community in Colorado was a double-edged sword. It was such a warm feeling walking into places and seeing familiar faces, but even with a 3-month stay, we still knew it was temporary. We knew this was not where we were going to put down permanent roots. And because of that, we were all guarded in just how comfortable we got.
We loved getting to know the community, having favorite restaurants that we went to on a regular basis, and knowing the routes well enough to not need GPS. It certainly highlighted our desire to find that place to call home and that void that we were all feeling, and it has fueled our fire to think hard about where we are going and how this adventure is impacting our sense of community.
We did not make life-long friends in Colorado, but we did get to really experience that feeling of community, and that is something I will forever be grateful for.