It seems like everyone in Oklahoma wants to head for the hills once summer starts. It feels like nearly all our friends and acquaintances spend time in Colorado during summer. And this year, we weren’t going to be left out.
We had a good reason: my high school classmates were gathering to celebrate 20 years since we’d graduated from school together. When you go to an international school and then end up spread across the US and the world, you simply pick a spot and meet up. We’ve been doing it for the last 15 years and it’s always a great time of catching up.
I feel much closer to my high school friends than I do most of my college friends; there’s just a deep bond between us because of the way we grew up. We were the minority, the outsiders, speakers of second languages, not quite fitting in where we lived but definitely not fitting in in our parents’ home countries. So we carved out our own space, our own culture.
We may not have been driving ourselves to the high school football games on Friday nights, but we had a lot of freedom to roam around our big city in the mountains.
We reminisced about beach trips, about class antics, about cultural references. We caught up on siblings and family and others from the community. A couple of my classmates have weathered situations so hard they take my breath away.
It was so refreshing just to be, not to have to explain myself, at least my younger self. The older self is a little changed and has more experiences that have to by layered on top of that younger self.
We held our reunion in Estes Park, just outside the Rocky Mountain National Park. Note to self: next time you drive up to 11,000 feet, take jackets.
My kids were miserable but we still forced them to get out of the car and explore a little. I loved the crisp weather and mostly sunny days that we had. I can definitely see the attraction to Colorado life.
For some reason, I’m super into scrambling up rocks lately. I love that we can get out and move our bodies.
So that made our short little family hike and the l-o-n-g 8 mile hike that we did with classmates and kids really fun. Even if my feet were done by the end of it.
One day we explored that little meadow above for a while, and it felt magical. But then the most-giant mosquitoes I’ve ever seen started biting my ankles.
So I booked it back up the path to where my family was, and crashed down hard after I stepped in a grass-covered hole. Very literally: pride before the fall.
It was a really good break: time with family, time with old friends, time in nature. It was so good to see these people again and to miss the ones who couldn’t make it.
We just might have to hit Estes Park another time.