With the exception of individuals in the military, I’ve never had someone tell me they are leaving Hawaii to move to Colorado Springs—it’s the equivalent of saying you’re choosing to leave a tropical paradise to live your life in the cold rain and snow. Still, I made the decision to pack up and drag my dog along with me to journey to the Springs in January—the coldest month of the year.
For the most part, I got a lot of encouragement. After all, I’m 30 years old and have only lived in Hawaii. What’s more, I’ve never seen snow. Never been able to ski or snowboard or build a snowman. I’ve never been to Disneyland, either, but that’s another story for another day…
Just about everyone thought the move would be great for me. They’d talk about how it was going to be a good experience, a way to broaden my horizons, etc. Everyone, that is, except the woman two seats away from me, sitting next to the window on Alaska Airlines flight 852. When she asked if I was going to Colorado to ski, I said, “No, I’m moving there.” Her jaw dropped and she looked completely mortified. “WHY?” she asked. “Why would you leave Hawaii?”
At first, I was speechless. I looked down at Koa, my dachshund mix, who was now whining. Why WAS I leaving Hawaii? Will I freeze to death? Will Koa freeze to death? Has the plane started taxing yet? Maybe I still have time to grab my stuff and get out of here! But, after a few seconds, I gathered my wits and gave her the same answer I’ve been giving people for months: “I need a change.” And I truly do—I need a change of scenery to shake up my daily life. There’s a lot to do in the Islands and Hawaii will always be home, but there are certain things you will never be able to experience unless you fly away for a bit.
In fact, as I type this a mere eight hours after landing, I’ve already experienced a whole lot of change:
- First of all, altitude sickness is real. Fortunately, I have yet to experience any extremely adverse reactions, but I could definitely feel the difference the moment I stepped off the plane. I have both a hard time and an easy time breathing all at once. It feels like the air is cleaner and crisper, but my body is having a more difficult time processing it. Needless to say, I’ll take my friend Jess’s advice: “Don’t go running a 5k as soon as you get there.”
- The static electricity is crazy. I have to tie my hair back because it keeps sticking to my face, and I get shocked touching car doors nine out of ten times. Poor Koa got shocked, too.
- Speaking of hair, the low humidity has been working magic on my tresses. Sure, it constantly sticks to my face, but it’s like the texture of my hair has completely changed. It feels light and fine, not heavy and thick like it used to. I bet people here don’t even know what a Brazilian Blowout is!
- Unfortunately, though my hair looks great, my skin does not. It’s now so dry it almost hurts. Moisturizer is a must. By the looks of it, probably multiple times a day.
- This list would not be complete without mention of the cold. Oh, the cold! The sun is shining, but the wind is like ice! And today was a “good” day, with highs in the 50s and lows in the 30s. I used to keep a space heater under my desk at work, so temperatures in the 50s are already borderline freezing to me. I don’t know what I’ll do next week, when the highs are in the 20s.
On the upside, though, Koa and I saw and touched snow for the first time today. That’s one check off my list! Who knows what tomorrow will bring?