My boss once told me that one of the best things about life as a Peanutter/Hotdogger is that there is always something to look forward to. Whether you’re going home soon for the holidays or just heading to a new city, this job is designed so that you are constantly moving forward. While that is a positive thing 90% of the time, it can also make it hard to really enjoy what you’re doing, which was definitely the case for my week in Boise, ID. The week following Boise was Fall Staff, where we would be reunited with the other Peans and Wiens (and some other family & friends for me as Fall Staff was in Madison), which left me anxiously awaiting our departure from Boise rather than really enjoying my time there.
Nonetheless, we still managed to do some fun things around Boise (which, oddly enough, was apparently several past Peanutters and Hotdoggers favorite city out West). On my first day in town I walked to the Idaho State Capitol building — the fifth Capitol building I’ve seen so far on this job — and explored its beautiful architecture and grounds. Afterward, I found a walking trail along the Boise River that went through downtown as well as the Boise State campus, and I had a good time exploring the city on foot. I was pretty exhausted after that so I stopped at a huge flower garden next to the art museum and spent time there reading and catch some sun (being from the Midwest, my sun tan is usually all but gone by September, so this year I am determined to keep it going for as long as possible).
Despite only having that one day off, work was also awesome because we were living the VIP life at the Boise Open. One of the coordinators of the Open — who we fondly call ‘Golf Ashley’ — took a liking to us right away and gave us our own golf cart and passes to the players lounge. We used the passes to enjoy huge, delicious meals in the luxurious clubhouse twice a day and to sneak away as many snacks as we could (we had quite the stash by the end of it). I also held a snake during family day at the tournament, and though I was infinitely more afraid than any of the children who held it before me, it was a big personal growth moment for me. We also had a few grocery store events during the week, one of which we wrote, filmed and produced a rap music video for fall staff at (more about this in my next blog).
Our hotel for the week was right across the street from Boise State University, so we spent a lot of time on campus. The blue and orange Broncos had a football game during the week, and we managed to get last minute tickets. Although it was rainy (and not nearly as fun as a Badger game) the one-of-a-kind blue turf field made it all worth it. We also stumbled upon a huge electric music festival in the middle of campus on a walk one night, and, though we didn’t go in, we had a good time standing outside of it and shamelessly dancing to the music.
Last, but certainly not least, we had some great food in the potato state (we didn’t actually have any potatoes, although someone did mistake for the NUTmobile for a giant potato on wheels). Our favorite food spot of the week was Bittercreek Alehouse, home of potentially the best mac n’ cheese I’ve ever had. Not only was it classic cheesy noodle goodness, there was also short rib, crispy onions and broccoli in it, making for a very memorable dish. I also took advantage of the full kitchen at our hotel and helped Jackie make a homemade lasagna dinner for our whole gang one night.
As the five of us sat around our makeshift table settings in our tiny Towneplace Suites kitchen laughing and enjoying our lasagna, I realized just how important it is to fully take in every moment and enjoy the time I have on this job. After all, I will only ever have this experience for one short year, and it’s already flying by faster than I could’ve imagined. So, while my boss was definitely right that it’s nice to always have something to look forward to, my time in Boise taught me that it is equally – if not more – important to live in the moment and appreciate what I’m doing in the here and now.
More from the Salty Sands and Mixed Nut Mountains of the West coming soon!