Upon my return from my Central American adventure, I had 12 days left in paradise – Boulder.
Unfortunately, I had to move out of the hotel like Bear Creek, into a somewhat dingy basement for this short stint. But I can’t exactly complain as it was provided for rent free! Besides this, the basement conditions helped protect against the 100+ fahrenheit conditions that greeted Boulder in this period.
Despite being 3 weeks after the semester had finished, a lot of my friends were still hanging around Boulder. It wasn’t the same as before, as a lot of special people had left, but at least I had some decent company. A lot of them did leave though, especially in the first few days, so I experienced about 5 days in a row where I would be attending a leaving dinner.
When I wasn’t spending my time and resources socialising, I had the important business of dissertation fieldwork to collect. On top of this, my dissertation supervisor back in Lancaster demanded an extensive literature review and plan with only a few days notice. I was working harder now than ever before! Rather miraculously I managed to complete 10 interviews, with various agents (no I don’t study economics, but I particularly like this term at the moment). I must have almost cycled every street in Boulder in this period! On my penultimate day in Boulder, my de facto Dissertation supervisor, Bill Travis, kindly took me on a field trip to analyse the Creek I was studying. I really will miss the kindness and generosity of the lecturers in Boulder.
When I wasn’t beavering away, I made the most of my free time. I hiked in the flatirons on numerous occasions, including with the injured Louise (great effort by her), and I even saw a huge snake! On my final weekend, I first enjoyed a throughly enjoyable Colorado Rockies game (baseball) with my host ‘family’. Initially I did not get the rules at all, but eventually once I got the hang of it, I became quite engrossed. It was a nice way to say goodbye to them after they had been so supportive of me. It would have certainly been harder without them! The next day, I joined Guilia, Mandy and Raven for the Fort Collins Food festival. A throughly delightful day, with good food and music. I even tried fried oreos! Oh what audacity to make them! On that sunday, I hiked and swam in the freezing Boulder Creek (must have been close to mild hypothermia).
The last 24 hours were particularly tough, and somewhat emotional. On my last night, a small group of us hiked up to a viewpoint to see the sunset over the Rockies. Upon reaching the destination, and to my delight, a nice bottle of bubbly was pulled innocently from a rucksack. What a great way to see my last sunset in America! When we reached Boulder, we made some s’mores (great invention by the way) and chatted around a fire. The next day, and my final ‘day’, I went to lunch with Giulia and Raven. We ate at the Qdoba Mexican Grill. This was somewhat of a happy accident as this was the first place I ate out in Boulder all those months ago. Definitely made me reminisce about the time since that occasion!
And that was that. Raven took me to the airport, and I was away. Very surreal feeling to be leaving ‘home’ for home.
Admittedly, I did not return straight away though. In line with the rest of my crazy year, I stopped in Iceland on the way back for a week long road trip. I will write about this, and provide a wrap up of my ‘Year abroad’ later.