I had never really gotten the chance to know the Anderson family very well, and it was really awesome to get to spend some time with them. (I think Megan will be a photographer when she grows up--she kept setting up these shots she wanted me to take of Kaitlyn--with her, assorted stuffed animals, etc. SO ADORABLE!)
As many of you know, part of the impetus for our trip to Colorado was to see if it's somewhere we'd like to live someday. Santa Maria has always been a temporary home for us--we lived in Santa Barbara for a year when we first got married (where Kevin works), but moved up here so we could buy a decent-sized home while I finished up school in SLO. God had other plans for me on the school front, and we've always been wondering where we'd go from here, knowing that we wanted to leave before Anna would start kindergarten.
So just to educate ourselves, we spent some time with a realtor checking out Denver-area neighborhoods, towns, and homes. We saw houses in Highlands Ranch, Littleton, Parker, Lakewood, and Denver. (Ever since our trip I've been whining about how I didn't get to visit Boulder, but we ran out of time.)
We were really impressed with Colorado--it was so beautiful! Overall Highlands Ranch was our favorite suburb that we saw by far--great homes, lots of trails, awesome rec centers, and Cold Stone Ice Cream. :) Parker was pretty, and more affordable, but farther from the city than we'd like. (The Ken Caryl area was gorgeous too, but again, a little remote for us.) We passed through Colorado Springs at one point, and it was so pretty, but we're really interested in the Denver area.
We've been tossing around ideas of places to move for years. (Ruled out California relatively early on.) We considered Portland, Seattle, Denver, and the East Coast. Sadly we ruled out the entire Pacific Northwest because the thought of nine straight months of clouds and rain did not appeal to us Californians. (Bummer, because the Seattle area would be ideal for several reasons, but I'm afraid the weather is a deal killer for us.) I've always dreamed of living on the East Coast, but we're not too familiar with it and it's really far away, so hard to really look into it, plus with traffic there's the potential for a long commute, and it's less affordable. That leaves Denver, which has some major advantages for us. I guess our list of things we'd love to find in a place, for anyone who's curious enough to still be reading, is (not really in order):
- no commute for kevin
- proximity to good schools
- big city/close to a big city
- racially diverse
- large Ethiopian population (restaurants, churches, cultural opportunities)
- tolerant/relatively liberal (basically just not ultra-conservative)
- lots of stuff for us to do
- somewhere we can use our gifts/passions to serve the Lord
- seasons (no, we're not scared off by the snow)
It's really crazy how our values/priorities have evolved and changed over the past four years or so (that's a blog in and of itself I guess). We can't know what God has for our future but it was nice to visit a place and see that it could probably work for us. We also felt really excited about the prospect of living near family and having our kids near two sets of cousins!
Anyhow, we're remaining open to what God has for us. All of that to say our exploratory trip was successful, Colorado was beautiful, we had a blast with Woody, Tanya and family, and Mike, Rachel and family, and at some point in the next few years we'll probably move somewhere. :)