A year ago today…

21 Mar

I was doing this…

…drinking a glass of bubbly in the Heathrow lounge, just about to board a flight to Washington DC en route to Denver-comma-Colorado. I am now sitting in Denver International Airport eating a burger king… yeah not quite as classy, how the mighty have fallen etc etc. Still, it is a very neat situation, flying back to the UK for a 10 day holiday on the exact same day I packed my bags for America.

Anyway, I’ve been putting off this post for some time; the somehow obligatory ‘what I have learnt so far a year in’ post, where I flounder at trying to sum-up a year’s worth of experience into a  few paragraphs. I realise that one of the points of creating a blog is so that others may read what you write, and mammoth self-involved posts aside, this still makes me a little uncomfortable… A long list of all-the-stuff-I-did sounds pretty bloody tedious… a little like being forced to look through someone’s holiday snaps, or being told the plot of a film you have no desire to see. At the same time, I don’t want to get so self-analytical that I become too paralysed to write anything for fear of coming across as a royal bore. I guess I just have to live with the fact that by the very act of writing a blog I am (to all intents and purposes) doing the e-equivalent of standing in a busy supermarket whilst shouting my own list of groceries over a loudspeaker. So with this rather awkward preamble, I shall try and make this brief, I shall try and make it readable, and I will try and insert amusing photos.

(For those with a short attention span here is a short twitter friendly summary: IT HAS BEEN AMAZING, AND I MET PEOPLE AND DID THINGS!)

The Befuddled Beginning

To start with, moving abroad, uprooting yourself from all that is familiar is an incredibly strange and frightening experience. I had a lot of predictions of how I would feel when I landed in Denver, when I finally unpacked my suitcase, when I actually realised that this was to be my home for three years. But to be honest, I just felt very dislocated, detached and numb. Not unhappy, terrified or excited… at the most a little jittery, like I’d had a little too much coffee. In fact the first 2-3 weeks I think I was pretending to myself that I was on holiday, that this was just a little adventure and that I would soon be back in London.

Despite my detachment from everything during this period I was quite a sensitive soul. I remember two completely dichotomous experiences. Both occured whilst out drinking in those first few weeks. One was a thrilling blur of drag queens, friendly people and brightly coloured shots; I remember repeating to everyone I met ‘Christ, you’re all American, isn’t that weird? That you’re all American and that I am in America?!’. I felt euphoric.

The other night couldn’t have been more different; it was when I experienced my biggest moment of homesickness. Whilst out at a bar with a ‘friend’ (see previous posts on pros and cons of the British accent) I suddenly found myself feeling incredibly out of place. It was pretty much then, whilst inebriated on unfamiliar spirits in a noisy bar that I  discovered that I really missed my friends terribly. If there was moment where I honestly wanted to be back ‘home’ in London it was then. Luckily, that soon passed (along with everything else I ate that day…). The next stage was less schizophrenic and more stable but also difficult in its own way.

The Netflix Months

I spent a few months being a bum. I mean I did do some stuff: I traveled  I snowboarded a bit, and I felt like I saw a lot of Colorado and the surrounding states, but really I was still a bum. I didn’t work, I volunteered (a bit), I worked on some projects (Hardly at all. See post on ‘Lost Projects). After a month of this I started to feel a bit untethered from myself. Who was I without a job, without any real friends, without any purpose or aim? I watched Netflix, cooked chilli con carne and occasionally drank coffee. I started to look forward to grocery shopping simply because it made me feel purposeful.

Side Note: Here are my top 5 weird American food items (I say weird from the perspective of an English palate mind you)

1.Maple Bacon (Because sweet bacon is wrong)

2.Marshmellow and Sweet Potatoes (No explanation needed)

3.Riceroni (Rice, and pasta… hmmmm but also mmmmm!)

4.Mole (Mexican style meat stew… made with Chocolate and/or Pepsi and/or Dr Pepper!!!)

5.Tootsie Rolls (Chewy chocolate in a lolly… that is then removed from the lolly… and sold seperately…)

Finding Ones’ Feet
In the end I got a job. Not my dream job, but a job all the same. From then on my life started to become more cemented. Having a daily routine allowed my life to start to become more structured and more reminiscent of life back home. Both in work (and out) I also started meeting a group of awesome people. People who I could hang out with in an easy laid-back way, people who I could be myself around and not just be ‘Sacha the performing Brit’. Anyway I’ve since started to work in a position I love, and things really do feel settled now. Now, finally, I feel like a real boy!


Now Denver does feel like home, and so does London. With the power of the internet I feel like I can live my life in both. I am SO excited to be going back to London, but I think I will also be excited about coming back to Denver. At the start 3 years seemed like an awfully long time. A year in, well it seems like no time at all.

To finish here’s a quick breakdown of my Top 3 moments in the USA!

1. Winning the pedal boat race for the Museum of Nature and Science. Me and my coworker won NOT ONLY the race (pictured) but ALSO a prize for best costume. Dressed as the Mars Curiosity Rover and a Martian we had such an awesome time. It wasn’t the winning (although that helped) it was the combined joy of having a job somewhere I loved, feeling like I was making friends and doing something totally mental!

2. Las Vegas. Well I wrote a whole post about this so it probably comes as no surprise! I loved my time in Vegas SO much more than I anticipated. It was thrilling, relaxing and totally memorable. My favorite part of the trip? That’s tough, but I would say wandering around the themed hotels on my last day and going on the New York New York rollercoaster!
3. I’ve had my ups and downs with snowboarding, and a good few bruises too, but the ups have been awesome. Whilst I’m no pro, and learning hasn’t been easy, there have been some truly awesome moments on the slopes. One particular snowy day at Keystone and a fresh-powder day at Vail stick in the mind. Anyway I’ve spent almost $500 on a brand new snowboard so I’m committed to many more seasons to come!

And that’s it. There’s so much to say about the past year that I can hardly scratch the surface. And whilst I try and keep other people’s identity private on my blog I feel I have to say a BIG thanks to Terryn (I’m sure she won’t mind) but also to all the other AMAZING neighbors  friends, coworkers and randomers, for making Denver a home. HERE’S TO ANOTHER 2 YEARS!


3 Responses to “A year ago today…”

  1. terryn March 21, 2013 at 9:56 pm #

    Aw! That’s sweet! No I don’t mind, but I do have to correct you on one thing. Mole is a very traditional Mexican sauce made with chocolate and used for savory applications. So um…. Who ever is making it with soda is doing it wrong.

  2. Sacha March 21, 2013 at 11:19 pm #

    No worries Terryn, you’re a big part of my Denver experience so I had to do a shout out. 🙂

    Although I will disagree about the Mole comment! The Mole I ate was made by a woman who lived in Mexico for many years. She said there are loads of variants of Moles, and a lot of the local varieties do call for anything from coke, pepsi, gatorade and cherryade! This recipe for example http://www.grouprecipes.com/84229/authentic-mexican-mole-chicken.html

    Trust us to celebrate our friendship by debating Mexican sauces…

    • terryn March 24, 2013 at 3:24 am #

      I don’t think that living in Mexico for “many years” negates tradition. I hate to use Wikipedia as a reference, but… Read the page. :p

      Sacha and Terryn: the saga continues next week with their search for anything they can agree on.

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