Even if we didn’t see any buffalos at “Buffalo Pound Provincial Park”, I got another chance in Boulder. This American city is home to the “University of Colorado” (CU), where I was studying for one year in 2010/11 with a Fulbright scholarship. It lies right at the bottom of the foothills of the Rocky Mountains with the iconic “Flatirons” rising just behind. The outside of the university buildings is kept in das sandstone bricks, giving it a Mediterranean flair.
Together with Micki and John, my host parents in Boulder, I rediscovered the campus. We walked all over and had a look at the university museum in the old main building. Here, a exhibition was dedicated to Ralphie, a buffalo, which has been the mascot since 1934. Other displays included the numerous astronauts coming from CU, as well as several Nobel laureates and other famous graduates.
In another room we found a miniature model of several buildings from campus and the downtown area, all made of Lego. The copy of the “Folsom Field Stadium” was very impressive and featured a match between buffalos (CU) and ducks (“University of Oregon”). However, the large, buffalo-shaped swimming pool of the recently expanded recreational center did not make it for the model. It might be part of the new Lego landscape that is being build in the room next door.
Micki and John were probably the oldest “Buffs”, as CU students and alumni are called, that I had met during my time at the university. Six years later very few fellow students were still around. The ones I knew were Oscar, who had decided to stay for a full PhD program, and his girlfriend Marion, as well as Dan, who had been involved in “CU international”, organizing various activities such as dinners in different restaurants every Wednesday.
A few days after my arrival, took me to the track and field event of his “Boulder Roadrunners”. They organize competitions every two weeks, but this time it was “Olympic Day”. Unfortunately I could not participate, as I was still handicapped with my cracked clavicle. However, I was able to help out with the stopwatch, taking time for short and long distance running, steeple chase and the relay race. In their spare time the participants could talk to local Olympic medalists like Frank Shorter, who won the marathon in 1972.
While Micki and John introduced me to their neighbors, friends and family, I also met up with other American Fulbright alumni: Cheryl in Denver and Gene and Keith in Boulder. With the spirits high, I accepted Dan’s invitation to the grand opening of the “Longtucky” distillery to meet even more locals. It is owned and operated by his sister’s fiance and his friend. Currently they are making rum and whiskey in their copper tanks, which are self-made just like everything else on their premises. This is also the reason why it took two years to make their dream come true.
One night I joined Oscar and Taka for a baseball game at the “Coors Field Stadium” in Denver. That night the “Colorado Rockies” were playing the “Arizona Diamondbacks”. Unfortunately, the guest team had a lucky streak in the fourth inning, after which the score was 1-10 and the game was pretty much decided. So instead of keeping a close eye on the game, we went to the top of the stadium and watched the sun setting beautifully behind the “real” Rockies.
Another day Micki took me to the “Leanin’ Tree Museum” in North Boulder. It started out as a factory for greeting cards and later on Ed Trumble, the founder, added the museum, which displays his private western art collection. The garden houses several large scale sculptures, whereas the inside has mostly paintings in different styles. They depict cowboys, Native Americans, buffalos and the incredible diversity of nature in America’s west.