Become Boulder

I’m in Boulder, Colorado, over the summer for an internship in optical engineering. I am working on developing optical design software with a company called FiveFocal, LLC. It’s been four weeks since I arrived, and I can honestly say that Boulder is one of the coolest, most mind-blowing places I've ever visited. Right on the foothills of the monumental Rocky Mountains, Boulder stimulates good health and active lives in harmony with nature. The Boulder atmosphere is one of fitness and zen, the perfect combination of bustling outdoors activities and serene, deep connections with the environment. Hiking is the city sport, along with cycling, running, mountain biking, climbing, river rafting, and kayaking. Yoga is almost a religion here; it is very popular for people of all ages who seek spiritual guidance and relaxation outside their work environment. There are plenty of venues with free yoga classes on a daily basis.

Boulder is also a musical hub; street performers fill the air with vibrant sounds of guitars, violins, and all sorts of percussion instruments. My friend Ben Icenogle (also from Rochester) and I have joined in the musical vibe. We usually walk down to the Pearl Street Mall on the weekends with our instruments to play under the sun around the crowds of people walking by. We actually met a man who plays one of the strangest instrument in the world, the terrapan. It’s a special kind of metal percussion instrument of the hand pan family that looks like an ancient shield.

There have been a few noteworthy events in the city that I’ve been lucky enough to join, including:

  • The BolderBoulder: a 10K race around the city that had over 10,0000 participants.
  • The Hanuman Festival: an annual yoga celebration where people gather in an open field to hear good music and meditate barefoot in the warm grass.
  • The Shakespeare Festival: the students of the University of Colorado at Boulder assemble in an outdoor theater to put on a phenomenal representation of Shakespeare plays throughout the summer.
  • The farmer’s market: every Wednesday and Saturday afternoon, an entire street is devoted to a tasting of the local produce.

Boulder is a city that pushes your personal boundaries and encourages you to leave the comfort of your home (figuratively and literally) to take on new adventures in the wilderness. Most of the people I've met live happy, adventurous, and fulfilling lives that inspire me to join in the Boulder vibe. If you are ever near this paradise, be sure to stop for a few days and become Boulder! (Get it?)  

On the peak of Mount Sanitas, with my friend Ben Icenogle (right). The view is beautiful!

About the author

Pedro Vallejo Ramirez

I'm a member of the Class of 2016 majoring in optical engineering and computer science, and I was accepted into the GEAR program. I was born in Bogota, Colombia, but moved to Panama when I was three years old. I'm an undergraduate researcher in an optics laboratory, an RA, and a Student Alumni Ambassador, president for the Optical Society of America, and a brother at Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity.

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