This place is beginning to feel like home, but only just a little. I beamed with pride when someone asked us how to get somewhere and we sent them in right direction. And now that I have a job to drive to, I’m learning my way to the interstate and Greeley.
On the other hand, Fort Collins still feels very foreign. I appreciate the amenities such as the views, the food and the abundance of coffee shops. However, the lack of culture is something I find alarming. Fort Collins is very…..white. Almost a little too white.
We bar hopped our first weekend in FoCo, and imagine my surprise to hear some rap music. But when the bartender hardly skipped a beat and raced to change the song from Outkast to Pepper, we have a problem. WTF.
I enjoy the company of people of all color, but my life is lacking culture. And coming from South Nashville, this has been quite an adjustment.
Culture heavily influences our lives. The difference in phrases between TN and CO ranges from calling strip malls mini malls to calling bull testicles Rocky Mountain Oysters. You learn about flatlanders (people that can’t drive in the snow), 14ers (14,000 ft. mountains that people climb for fun) and the front range (the eastern slope of the Rocky Mountains).
People out here eat Green Chili like it’s going out of style. What I miss most of all besides my friends and family is Music City. Nashville has a flourishing music scene with upcoming artists making their rounds to the drones of people thirsty for new tunes. And I’m not talking about that shitty country-pop music that gives Nashville a bad name. I’m talking about that underground shit–from EDM to sludge and punk rock, Nashville has something for everyone. I don’t miss the rednecks and the evangelical right-wing Conservatives, but I do miss the music.
Now don’t get me wrong. I’ve met some great friends, and my accommodating coworkers treat me with nothing but kindness, especially the few whom originated from the South, like me. But I’d be lying if I denied how homesick I’ve felt in recent days. And my friend Jessica due with her first child any day now doesn’t help. Neither does Fleetwood Mac or my friends texting pics of their coffee with a “Miss you! Wish you were here!!” caption. I knew this day would come. I knew these feelings would find me.
My sadness arrives a little sooner than expected. I’ve heard homesickness normally kicks in about 3-4 months after you’ve moved, and it’s been about 2 1/2 months. But this marks my first weekend in God only knows how long that I’ve embraced a home-bound lifestyle. We’re not doing shit this weekend except taking it easy. And here I am, alone with my thoughts.
On an unrelated note, I took a cultural awareness assessment as part of orientation earlier this week. What the quiz revealed is I’m marginalized when it comes to gender-related social issues and religion. When asked to expand on our responses, I tried to explain, “Well I’m somewhere between Agnostic and Atheist. I don’t believe in Jesus but I’d really like to believe in a higher power, but who knows what that looks like….”, I trailed off. This is something I have struggled to define for years. And my most recent explanation to family members has sounded like, “I’m somewhere between Agnostic and Atheist, but leaning more towards Atheism”. What does that even mean?
I’m comfortable enough to admit I’m Atheist, but I believe in energy just as much as I do global warming and evolution and anything backed by science. Consequently, I’m not sure where this puts me on the Religious Richter scale ranging from super religious to not religious whatsoever. I’ve even Googled such things like, “How to Tell You’re Atheist” and “Are you Agnostic or Atheist?” out of sheer desperation.
So to settle this internal battle once and for all, I’m a self-proclaimed Humanist until I discover a more appropriate term.
Otherwise, life is good. We enjoyed our stay in Estes Park last weekend, and I’m learning more about my job each day. Now all I have to do is secure an internship for the Spring and relax before my free-time is essentially nonexistent next year.