I'm moving away from Denver.
What brought me out to Denver in the first place was an offer from a financial consulting firm. Although I knew deep down that it was a poor fit for me, I accepted the job for a number of (wrong) reasons -- a salary that allowed me to live well beyond being comfortable (and buy the KitchenAid mixer of my dreams!), an easy escape from the insane cost of living in San Francisco, and pressure from my parents, who were successful finance and consulting executives themselves.
But if there's anything I've learned over the last few months, money and family pressure are not good enough reasons to commit yourself to doing something you hate for 40-plus hours a week. But that's another story that shouldn't be shared here.
This blog offered me a respite from the stress of my day job. When I first started this blog back in October, it was written primarily for myself. I attempted to stress-bake as a form of therapy after I quickly realized what a poor fit this job was for me. Eventually, it turned into something more. I would never have dreamed, for instance, that I would one day have photos accepted on Foodgawker and Tastespotting, or that I would have a significant readership in faraway countries like Kuwait and South Africa. Or that the Huffington Post would find one of my recipes (organically!) and declare it as one of the best of the web.
But at the end of the day, my favorite moments running this blog were when other high-altitude bakers -- whether they be established bloggers or professional chefs, or even just occasional dabblers in baking -- reached out and expressed their gratitude for my recipes, asking for advice on adapting recipes or sharing their own stories of failed baking attempts at high-altitude. These bakers and bloggers gave me the sense of community and friendship that I struggled to find in Denver, as well as a sense of purpose that my job failed to provide. For that, I cannot express how grateful I am. It's been a lonely and difficult last few months, but you guys have given me the kind of support and energy I needed to keep going.
So although I'm excited about my new dream job in Portland and my return to the city I consider my home, I recognize that it is bittersweet. It is incredibly heartbreaking to be leaving the high-altitude baking community that I discovered through this blog.
By the time you read this, I'll probably already be in Portland. I'll continue to post the high-altitude recipes that I frantically worked through during my month of funemployment in Denver. But after that, I don't know what comes next. I'd like to promise that this blog will continue, but I don't know how much time I'll have to spare in Portland. I don't like making promises I can't keep, BUT I will say -- and my friends can attest to this -- that I have a multiple page long Google Doc brimming with recipe ideas, begging to be baked and cooked through. So maybe this "High-Altitude Baking Blog" will eventually become "A Blog Inspired By The Hummingbird Bakery".
We'll just have to see.
I'd like to thank a few people for their support and encouragement:
Troy, for helping redesign my blog and bringing its initial design from 1998 up to 2012.
Kimothy, for taking the beautiful photos of my cupcakes that allowed me to be published on Foodgawker for the first time. And more importantly, for sharing valuable photography advice that eventually led me to being published on Foodgawker (repeatedly!) by my own accord.
Vikram, for thinking from the get-go that my blog is the coolest thing EVER and never, ever wavering in that thought.
Erlend, for putting up with the multiple weekends, days, and nights that I spent neurotically baking, as well as the stacks of dishes in our dishwasher-less apartment. For helping me go through my photos (even though he hated it so much), and for eating the cupcakes when I no longer could.
But most of all, for all my readers out there: thank you for your time, support, and encouragement.
And for you high-altitude bakers -- keep persevering! Bake, bake, bake -- don't be discouraged by the cake fails and puddles of goop. If a girl like myself -- someone who's never lived more than 100 miles away from the ocean -- can figure it out, you can too.
That I WILL promise you.