TEN YEARS!

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July 24, 2002, approximately 5:45 pm: I arrived in Great Falls, Montana, and knew almost immediately that I had finally – finally – found my home.

Checked into the Crystal Inn up by the airport, and then ate dinner at the Applemill Grill, which is now the location of Fiesta en Jalisco.

Thank you, Great Falls – the place and the people – for changing my life and giving me a home. I hope that you all know how much this place means to me.

And from my now long-expired original blog (Better Living Thru Blogging!), I dug up my entry from July 25, 2002:

I woke up today in Montana. Cool. It was a crisp, clear 58 degrees or so; stepped outside around 7:15 am, took some deep breaths, and basked in it. Hoo boy…winter will be very interesting, I’m sure…I stood by the Explorer in the parking lot, looking at some fluffy, streaming clouds moving in from the SW, with a gusty 20-30 mph wind whipping around me, gazing at the nearby housing area, most of which is set upon a gently sloping hill literally a stone’s throw from the Marketplace parking lot. It was blissful.

And as I wrote on July 24, 2008:

After living the life of a military brat, and then being transferred around while in the Air Force, I never knew what “home” felt like. And then I arrived here in Great Falls. Never in my life have I met such friendly people, nor lived in such a wonderful community. Four seasons (well, mostly), kind & honest people, lively civics and events, and of course the beautiful scenery — thank you, Great Falls, for making me feel so welcome. Thanks for being my home.

Seriously. Until Great Falls, I had never lived in one place for more than four years in a row…so marking my 10 year anniversary in Great Falls is just…simply wonderful.

And here is the first picture that I took in Great Falls with my phone – just a day or two after arriving, I think – from the top of the hill near the Marketplace:

And for a cell phone picture in 2002, that ain’t a bad shot!

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