On March 4th, 2018 I quit my job in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. I spent the next month drowning in job applications, silent employers, and what was left in my bank account. In August, when my old housemate visited me in Montana, he pointed out a fact that I had honestly gone without recognition of: I lived in my bathrobe for almost three weeks straight. No way, had I really done that? THREE weeks Kenzi? You were more depressed than even you knew at the time…..
On March 21st, 2018 I got the call, leaving Wyoming and bound for Utah and ultimately Colorado. It was Big Sky Resort with a job offer in their Human Resources Department. My saving fucking grace. I was in the middle of my drive south when we confirmed my start date of April 9th. I had over a thousand dollars in my savings account so I did the stupidest thing I could have done: headed straight for the desert.
On April 6th, 2018 I began the drive north to Montana. Arriving at my place of residence for the next however long, I quickly drove Zuke and I up the mountain to go check out our new resort. Simpler than Park City, that was for sure and definitely not the Jackson Hole commute….thank you GOD for this one.
I trained quickly while in waiting for my position to vacate and in turn, became great friends with the girl who I was replacing (she was going to grad school, nothing negative) to the point that I didn’t want her to leave. I had my own desk for the first time, my own little space in an office, a place to hang my photos. It was such a step up from my previous HR position and I was digging it. My team was great, the office was small, and I knew employees by their name for once.
In Big Sky, Montana life exists solely to provide for tourists in the sense that our grocery stores consist of small specialty markets in town that charge you $6.00 for a carton of Minute Maid Orange Juice. As you begin to look closer, you learn to start pricing your groceries at about $5.00 for each item and at the end of the month you are suddenly looking at a $600.00 credit card bill for nothing but damn groceries. Housing listings for one room for rent goes for $700.00 at minimum and that’s if you’re lucky. New rentals in town are starting at $1500 for a one bedroom. I started pulling from the leftover savings that I had before moving to Montana to which I no longer have a savings account. Every pay check has been consumed in whole by rent or by my car payment or credit card bill. The financial burden began to drown me.
My decision to look for not only a new job opportunity but a new livable location was fueled. My partner was not going to resign his highly sought after lease as it would lock him down for another year and I was not going to make it another six months, even if I switched to ramen noddles for life. Powered secondly by my director half jokingly telling me to, “STOP LEARNING” I was at a loss. I loved my job, my coworkers, and even living in Big Sky. It had been the opportunity that I so desperately needed; I met my soulmate here and if I only had one thing to take away from Montana, it would be my gratitude for bringing us together.
On October 12th, 2018 I will depart from the place that we’ve called home for the past six months with a heavy heart but intention to return often. You get to know a place in a way that you can’t write it out of your life. It will probably still remain Christopher’s favorite mountain to ride. I will begin my new job with a small company called Utah Pet Access as their Executive Office Coordinator/Manager, attempting to successfully provide them with organization and ease in daily operations. It’s three dudes and me…they are about to have everything color coded twice and whiteboards everywhere. I <3 organizing.
I say this every time I move: I hope it’s the last for a while. My parents have heard me say, “I just want to settle for once” one too many times now. It is the second time that I’m returning to Utah, the state that I have just gone ahead and identified as my home state now. I can’t seem to stay away from Salt Lake and the desert. I daydream about the time Christopher and I will spend in our home, listening to him create magic with his guitars and having the space to feed my wild without having to leave. As for my hopes in our return home to Utah, I want to focus on the book I’m writing, I want to get photographs printed for sale/finally buy myself a replacement camera, and I want to spend more time with more people. That last one may sound silly but I feel connected to folks back home that six months ago, a year ago, I would have never found a connection with. I am thankful for the souls that understand how delicately time takes to change a person.
So here it is, the end is in sight.
To close…Montana has been such a treat. My mother was ecstatic for me upon hearing the news, she has been fond of the state since childhood and had spent some time trying to grow my interest in it. I told myself not to fall in love with the state too quickly. It has given me so much: wildlife encounters with animals I had never dreamed of crossing paths with (mainly out of fear haha), beautiful vistas of so many mountain ranges, a wildfire season unmatched to anything I’ve experienced, the courage to play in the water without (as much) fear, my wonderful partner in life, and a redefined sense of gratitude for all that the mountains have provided me with (Jackson Hole shit all over that for me…). All in all, Montana sucks, tell your friends.