Our beloved teacher Amie Belanger and her husband Darcy (who also practiced at Yoga for Today) moved to Denver, Colorado in April when Darcy was transferred for work. Immediately the couple thought it important to have a “landing point” and after some online research found themselves at a local studio.
From there, Amie went on a retreat, intent on meeting like-minded people. She says the retreat was lovely taking place up at Santa Maria camp. They stayed in cabins with bunks, practiced a lot of yoga, swam early in the morning as a ganga blessing, went for short hikes, chanted around the fire and ate vegetarian food. Unfortunately as it was a silent retreat, Amie was unable to engage in discussion but did manage to stay in contact with a few women she met there. From there she explored another studio and it has been a better fit but says no studio is like Yoga for Today with extensive retail, area for socializing and alternative modalities on offer.
Amie is still trying to decide how her esthetics business will fit into her life as she doesn’t have a work permit. In the meantime she’s just using the equipment for her own benefit.
For the first six weeks they were in an Airbnb until the home that they will rent for the next year was available. They both really like the area and it’s only a 10 minute drive for Darcy to work. “It is fantastic. So nice to settle into a place where we call home… We still have pictures to hang in time,” writes Amie.
The area is called Rosedale where they live. Harvard Gulch Park and Rec Center is close, Swallow Hill Music Hall, many great restaurants and coffee shops around, and just down the block from them is Kunming Park where many people will go to watch the sunset behind the mountains. Come fall and winter they hope to connect with the neighbours they met during the weekend they moved in.
They had friends from Toronto introduce them to people they knew in Denver. “We met Philip and Danielle for breakfast and knew we’d be friends forever. It was a great first date. We have since gone for dinner and up to Winter Park for Darcy to learn how to fly fish with Philip while I hiked with Danielle. Darcy is letting me make the connections being he is busy working and away often.”
Darcy’s new job with PCL Construction has had him travelling to the different districts to sort out what they need in order to function at the caliber of work to come their way. He has been complemented on his work and the tone he has brought into the office. “A breath of fresh air and a knowing what PCL is all about. A sense of confidence. For now it feels like he is drinking from a fire hose.
“Lucy, our beloved cat, survived the trip down and has settled in more easily than I. The trip in her tote was enough to push her over the edge. To be locked up like that and then to be hauled through airports and put on planes and in vehicles stressed her out. She just wanted to be out and exploring as she should. The tote is now away till her vet visit next year. Lucy has her favourite places to sleep. When we watch a show on Netflix she is on Darcy’s lap and next to me when we go to bed.”
Amie writes that the weather is fantastic. “The sun shines, the air is dry, much more dry than Edmonton. There are NO MOSQUITOES. On a couple of walks I came across some garter snakes. Now that I have seen them, I keep my eyes open, depending on the area, and we can see the mountains daily.”
Amie has started the process in becoming a doula. “I felt as though a new Amie was being born and what a great opportunity to assist moms in the most crucial time of their life, bringing a little human into this world. Ever since I was young I wanted to work with children. I now have the opportunity to reinvent myself.”
Despite not having to get up and go to work, Amie still gets up to an alarm at 6:30 a.m. or earlier. She’ll usually meditate and may attend a yoga class or eat and walk. Maybe have a lunch/ coffee/ walk or visit date planned with a friend. Read, errands, housework, cook, knit and go for a walk in a new area.
“Truly I did not think I would be without work for this long. At 39-years-old I had not imagined I’d be a stay-at-home wife. The last couple of weeks I have felt I am losing my purpose and needing to contribute or give back to the community. For those of you who follow me on Facebook you may have seen the post that I asked what you wanted to see from me. Recipes, asanas, quotes, distant reiki. This is my way of giving back. I have been in touch with a couple of people about volunteering. I will wait and see what transpires. I also am working on surrendering to the possibility my work permit may not come through. For now I will continue to be open to receive from the universe and follow my intuition.”
Since moving to Denver the Belangers have learned about the Canadian Colorado Association. They put together a few events throughout the year to connect fellow Canadians in the area. They have been to a lobster dinner and Amie attended the Canada Day celebration. “I had gone with a lady I met at the dinner. It was a lovely evening. Darcy and I are feeling most of the members are much older than us and finding it hard to connect. So we will see what happens after the year.” July 4th they had wanted to do something American. They both like watching soccer and the Colorado Rapids were playing, they also had a fireworks display afterwards. “Even before the game had ended you could see off into the distance the light shows of fireworks. This went on well after we got home from the game. Sad, but the Rapids lost that night. We sure noticed Americans sure do go all out, over the top.”
The elevation of Denver is over 5,000 feet so any hiking is an increase in elevation. “Our first real noticing was how fatigued we were just walking around the city and then when we went and did the Science March and climbed the set of stairs from the RTD line, it felt as though we were gasping…With the mountains being only 30 minutes to an hour away, we like to get out and into the wilderness. A much shorter drive than from Edmonton to Canmore or Jasper.”
Amie reports that Denver has great outdoor venues for concerts including smaller more intimate venues. Ruth Moody, a gal from the Wailin Jenny’s was in town at Swallow Hill Music Hall, just around the corner from their home. They felt it nice to connect with a fellow Canadian. In November the Wailin Jenny’s will be up in Boulder, the Belangers already have their tickets for that event. They saw Amos Lee and the Colorado Symphony up at the Red Rocks Ampitheater. “Wow! The acoustics and the view! Breathtaking.” In August they will see the Lumineers at Fiddlers Green.
Back in April, Darcy’s sister and husband came out while he was away. “Being so early on for me to be on my own, I had them decide what they really wanted to see and do for me to get out of my comfort zone and brave the roads along with the three million other people living here in Denver and the greater area.” Amie’s girlfriend, Deb and her son Sam came in June for a visit again while Darcy was away. “It is nice having guests. To show them the area and to help me discover more of what there is to see and do.” Passing through Denver on her way to Costa Rica, fellow yogi, Joyce Chrystian, (who as had done training at Yoga for Today) reached out to Amie.
“Away from the airport for a few hours, we were able to catch up, she saw the sunset behind the mountains and got a sense of the city.” The Belangers made a trip to Toronto to spend time with friends and their Guru, Amma. “Sure noticed that I was back in Canada, I recognized familiar stores. My sister in law, Carolyn and I were able to play some Yahtzee. I am missing playing games with the in-laws, the quality time with family. Having just acquired a whole new family the last five years of being with Darcy and now to be on our own. I grew up in a small family and now it is just my mom and I. The time with Amma was lovely and the relationship with her as my Guru deepened. It was also an opportunity to see more of my interference patterns and release what is not needed.”
They have found the move and transition smooth thus far. To get a drivers’ licence and register your vehicle, it’s done in two different places. The vehicle registration is according to the county you live in. With 1,000 people a week moving into the Denver area, the lines are long. The couple do not have credit in America. “So getting set up in our home with internet and power was a learning process. Thank God Darcy is working and has a social security number.”
“I am missing the most the connections with my friends, clients, yoga students and family. The conversation of depth, where we know each other and are able to speak openly. The hugs! I have learnt that things/ stuff sort themself out. They are to be sourced differently and can be replaced, but connections are irreplaceable. I wonder what each soul I have crossed paths with are up to. I also am aware that life goes on. I could spend time connecting with people virtually, but I do not want to be indoors all day and realize they have work and families and lives to connect with at home themselves. I am a quality time person and realize this is a balance. I have reached out to a few people and do need to work on it more. It is about scheduling dates to visit virtual.”
Darcy has to be in Edmonton the first week of August so they are both planning on coming up for a visit between July 28 and Aug. 5. “I was sure I did not want to come home earlier. I felt as though I needed to truly give Denver a chance instead of running. So, three months felt good. I do plan on getting to the studio for a class or two and hope to run into a few fellow yogis I know.”
Amie has fallen in love with some things in Denver; Sonder Coffee and Tea for their London Fogs and Happy Leaf Kombucha. Also, the outdoors and all the hidden gems of parks and other venues they come upon.
“The experience so far has been pleasant. It helps that the weather is favourable and the people are lovely.They are outgoing and willing to lend a hand when needed. We also have been fortunate to have met Denver natives and/or people who have been here for 20 or more years. I also have truly made a choice each morning as to how I am going to show up each day, with a smile and open to the possibilities (most days). Being vulnerable and putting myself out there.
In August they have a trip planned to PEI to visit with friends from England and Washington DC. “Other than that we will make Denver more of our home, get out and explore and see more of the states in future trips.”
“I love you and am grateful for the support from home. I am thankful for the opportunity this journey is giving Darcy and I, so early on in our marriage.”