Quote of the week: “A little progress everyday soon adds up to a big difference.” – Unknown.
This past weekend the Denver Urban Semester did a retreat to an Airbnb in Palmer Lake. It was a time for everyone to relax and spend time together in a new space. Which, by the way, was gorgeous. So, Friday after everyone was finished with their internships we drove about an hour towards Colorado Springs to Palmer Lake. It is interesting to see how the landscape changes so quickly even within a short distance. You can go from mountains to valleys to the foothills in the course of 20 minutes.
The second day that we were there we went on a hike to Palmer Lake which was about a five-minute drive from the place we were staying. The hike brought us up around 700 feet in elevation from the beginning to the top. The mountain was gorgeous and when we got to the lake, while it was frozen, it was gorgeous! The sun shining on the ice and making the trees look very defined. The hike was all uphill one way which was a little rough in the sense that the trail was icy and not the easiest because of the steepness of the trail. But it is what it is and really is not much that can be done about it.
Something that I experienced that day which I have not experienced yet while I have been in Denver is elevation sickness. It is extremely important to drink a ton of water before you are going up in elevation because it lowers your chances of getting elevation sickness and having to deal with the side effects of it. In the past it has not been a problem for me, but because of some things that I was dealing with earlier in the day I did not drink enough. Lesson learned for the future: before going up in elevation make sure you are very hydrated and are not dealing with any other health issues in the moment – especially migraines when it is sunny!
The next day on the way back into the city we went to the Garden of the Gods. If there is a list of things that you have to do while in the Denver area, this is definitely one of the places you should stop at even if for a small amount of time. The rocks and plants that are there are incredible and we even saw some wildlife – but sadly they were on the side of the road and we drove by too fast to get pictures. When we went it was extremely windy and kind of cold, but it was very worth seeing all of the beautiful landscapes and getting to climb on some of the rocks. It was incredible!
Something that we have to do for our class to get cross-cultural engagement hours. This is where we find things throughout the City that are part of cultures different from our own and spend time learning about them. So one place that was recommended to us is called Mango House. It is a food court in Aurora, Colorado that is run by immigrants. The building also holds a lot of resources for new immigrants who come and need things like healthcare, clothing stores, and access to getting the documentation that they need. Seeing all that they provide was extremely inspirational. So many people are against immigrants and want nothing to do with them, saying they do not belong here. But to see people who are caring for them and providing all the help they can is amazing. While we were there we tried food from four of the six different restaurants that were there. It was incredible! It also feels great to be able to support people who are living in a big city in a different country and cooking food for people in the Denver area. The guy at the Syrian food place was extremely nice and made sure we were enjoying everything, and gave us some free baba ganoush and falafel to try.
Denver has so much to offer and I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to spend a semester here and experience some of it.
Thanks for reading, until next time,
Aurora Franzon 2024