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One year ago today I drove over the San Francisco Bay Bridge in a bright yellow Penske truck and lost my breath. As the skyline came into view, I thought to myself: “this is my new home – amidst the skyscrapers – this is my city.

Two weeks prior to the 21-hour drive from Colorado to the West Coast, I created my reality. Many of you already know the romantic story of how I fell in love with San Francisco. I was so encapsulated by the pure essence and liveliness of the city; I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else. With a stroke of luck (and years of hard work), I landed the dreamiest of dream jobs – two weeks later, I embarked on the biggest journey of my lifetime.

I packed up all my belongings into cardboard boxes of memories and necessities. Through tearful hugs, I said goodbye to my best friends and family. Sadness and fear were overwhelmed with happiness and excitement.

Arriving in San Francisco was magical. I exploded with excitement as we pulled up to my new apartment building and began unloading the boxes from the truck. Hours were spent unpacking and decorating, throwing away and organizing.

Work started almost immediately, but I was more than prepared to begin learning and contributing to my new career.

Two weeks into my new life, I noticed some extreme lifestyle changes taking place. I was no longer driving my car everywhere, I wasn’t eating fast food, and I wasn’t bored doing the same thing every weekend. Instead, I was out exploring this new magical city, trying new restaurants, and adventuring to new places across the Bay Area.

I finally settled my issues with Comcast and before I knew it, I’d been in San Francisco for one whole month. Time

was flying and it had no intention of slowing down. After my one-month benchmark in the city, I discovered and began nurturing a new hobby: photography. I desired to capture my experiences in the city with more than just words – through images. And I kicked butt in my first photoblog-off.

And I participated in one of the most incredible photography and story-telling projects ever – I Live Here:SF.

In the middle of August, my stepmom threw all reservations to the wind and swam in the Alcatraz Swim from

Alcatraz Island to the shore near Ghirardelli Square. It was wonderful to see her accomplish something so great (and not get eaten by a shark) and also to show off my new life in the city of my dreams.

I endured the adventures of LovEvolution, Bay to Breakers and Pride. And I drank copious amounts of wine in Sonoma.

And then I dropped my phone down an elevator shaft.

I flew back to Colorado several times over the past year. A lot of big things were happening right at the same time my new life was picking up. I threw my best friend a perfect bachelorette party, she got married, and gave birth to a beautiful little girl named Ashlynn. My mom sold our childhood house. I would be lying if I said it wasn’t difficult to be away from all the events that were taking place in my old home.

But, it helped me grow. After the “honeymoon stage” of moving out to San Francisco, I went through a rough patch. I was extraordinarily lonely – I was working so hard and exploring every weekend. I began to realize the true meaning of friendship and began to choose the people to fill the empty spaces in my life carefully.

That’s when I met Casi. She was just as new to the city as me, and we hit it off instantly. From our furry boots to our Snuggies (that we both had prior to our meeting) we quickly discovered we have kindred souls. We eat, explore, laugh, talk, tweet, basically do everything together we can. Casi coming into my life is a blessing.

Mariam was my first friend in this big city. Her unconditional friendship is unlike any other. She is the epitome of “though she be but little, she is fierce.”

Jamie is a firecracker. Her limitless energy rivals that of any amount of caffeine consumption possible. Her friendship is ever-giving and her laughter is addictive. But she has a soft heart and has been a key player in encouraging me to define what growing up means to me.

I have met some incredible and absolutely amazing women while out here in San Francisco. Women who define the idea of following dreams and making each and every one of them come true.

I never did get that tattoo, but I’m still considering it.

And no matter how long I live in San Francisco, I will always be loyal to my Broncos, Rockies, Nuggets and Avalanche.

I spent Christmas in Jamaica and “spring break” on a Mexican Riviera cruise, but my heart was always left in San Francisco.

One of the most important lessons I’ve learned in San Francisco is that even though I am single, I am not alone. My life before my move consisted of a lot of things – one of which was a dire need to have someone, anyone, in my life to make me feel complete. I was too afraid to be by myself, thinking that I’d never find what truly made me happy. Now, I’ve learned never to settle – no matter what – and to love myself and my life just the way it is. To get out of my own damn way and just let it happen. And that my life, just the way it is, is exactly where I am supposed to be.

My dad and stepmom came to visit, followed by my grandparents, then my bestie, my brother, and last but not least my mom. Finally, I was able to share some of San Francisco’s magic with the people closest to me.

I count my blessings every day as I’m walking to work, for the true gift of loving my job. It’s granted me the

opportunity to learn about business and life and trust in a working environment that I never thought possible. I

have learned so much from Context Optional, and I can’t wait to see what else the brilliant people there can teach me – what we can teach each other. And of course, I’m still working on perfecting the work/life balancing act.

I still dream big. I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t. But living in this amazing place – alive in this city of strangers andfriends; anything is possible.

I still pinch myself, trying to wake up from this dream of a life I’ve created (and have been blessed with). I am, and forever will be, learning, living, loving, and breathing in all this extraordinary city by the bay has to offer.

Thank you, San Francisco. For an amazing year and many more to come.

Make sure to check out my Two Year recap here: Two Years

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