When Roan asked me this million-dollar question, “Where do you want to go for your birthday this year?,” I got a little confused. Growing up, my brothers and I had become accustomed to not having elaborate birthday parties. Birthdays, in our family, meant going to mass first thing in the morning to honor and be grateful to the Lord for making it through another year, and celebrating by treating ourselves to a nice lunch or dinner (or both). I was twice as much homesick when my birthday came up on my first year here in the US because I was used to celebrating it with my family, so when Roan implied that we travel for my birthday last year, I took him up on his offer.
We must have been binge-watching on South Park episodes when the idea of traveling to Denver, Colorado came up. My brothers and I were banned from watching that show on cable TV when we were kids, and I only understood why, now that I’ve seen most of it. Anyway, I googled Colorado often during those days, and I read a lot of awesome things that sparked my interest (and curiosity) about the state. Since Roan and I have never been to Colorado before, we figured it’s the perfect travel destination for my birthday weekend!
Arriving in Denver, CO
We arrived in Denver on Wednesday afternoon, a few hours after parting ways with my dad at LAX; he was on his way home back to Manila. A whiff of cool air blew into the baggage counter area every time the sliding doors opened, and Roan caught a glimpse of delight in my eyes. Our first order of business was to pick up our rental car, but we first had to figure out which side of the airport to exit from, so we’d hop onto the appropriate shuttle bus that will take us there.
The transaction at the rental car office didn’t last long, but the selection of the actual car did. We booked ours via Costco, and Roan wanted to upgrade to a bigger car, but we couldn’t justify the additional costs involved. In the end, we settled on a standard car that allowed both of our luggages to fit into the trunk.
I remember admiring the unique architectural design of the Denver International Airport as we drove away from it and towards our hotel in Downtown Denver. I looked up on every sign on the freeway and tried to take in as much as I can by simply observing my surroundings. I read ‘Boulder’ in one of the signs, and instantly thought of the murder of JonBenét Ramsey that took place in the city 20 years ago. I was amazed by the pack of ice on the side of the road. I can’t imagine what it’s like to drive into a snow-laden road, but I’m lucky that Roan—who lived in Spokane for most of his early adult years—knew how (if it ever came to that).
I’ve seen a lot on our mere 30-minute drive from the airport. I knew we were getting closer when a cluster of tall city buildings emerged from the horizon. The view reminded me ever so slightly of Downtown Seattle sans the Great Wheel and Space Needle, yet still a pleasure to see. Roan and I finally made it to our home away from home for the next few days, but we exchanged uncertain glances upon getting there. Oh, boy. I think we’re in for a (mis)adventure was what we both thought.