Once I knew I would be moving from Austin, Texas, to Boulder, Colorado, I began to survey groups and activities here, hoping to find the Boulder version of things I’d been involved with in the past.

I sought to find: a TimeBank, plant and landscaping groups, community gardens, foraging for edibles, small organic farms, voter activist groups, fruit rescue groups, quilting guilds, fiber artists dyers, fabric stores, maker spaces, Japanese conversation groups, healing arts networks, a store carrying gourmet food ingredients, an Asian supermarket, etc. I also hoped to find things I wanted to get involved: bee keeping, foraging for sources of Rocky Mountain-plant-derived dyestuff (most anything containing tannins which drops off a tree or bush), and places to learn to: throw pots, speak new languages, do Tai Chi, make metal jewelry, and weld.

I was quite happy to learn that a well-established TimeBank was waiting. I have been involved with TimeBanking since joining Time Trade Circle in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and joined the Austin Time Exchange Network when I moved to Austin. So, I’ve been a believer in TimeBanking’s dynamic capacity to fill a variety of needs and create community along the way.

Because my house packing, house selling, and moving process ended up taking not a few months but over a year, (yes Covid19 definitely “helped”) I was distressed. I had hoped to meet folks and start building a new community for myself right away, however, with Covid this is not a reasonable undertaking as it is nearly impossible to do safely. I had anticipated that TimeBank Boulder would be one good source for meeting people and getting information and help. You see, I had been heavily involved in TCC and had traded often, so I still have hundreds of hours banked, so I was concerned that my fantasies about spending these $TD to get help finding a rental and unpacking while gathering Boulder intel and meeting Boulder people, would be dashed!During 2019 and 2020, while traveling back and forth between Texas and Colorado, I joined TimeBank Boulder and spoke to a few of our admins over the phone. I even managed to attend one TBB social event; a DVD movie ‘screening’ at Jan DeCourtney’s place in Gunbarrel in March, just before gathering became a problem.

When I flew back to Texas later that month I got Covid myself, which made me passionate about researching the virus, mask design, and mask making.

Thinking about how I would get myself oriented in Boulder at a time when social gatherings just don’t qualify as “essential,” I became dejected and then decided to surf hOurworld. Once there, I discovered there was woman in TBB who posted a request for a bespoke mask to fit her unique requirements!

I contacted her right away. After exchanging a few emails, we spoke on the phone to determine what features to include in the design and how to accomplish contactless delivery. Ha! Here was a case where it didn’t even matter that I was in another state.

Throughout this process, we meandered into social conversations and found common threads that led to a friendship. I made the mask and mailed it to Boulder, where it was put to good use. Once I finally got to Boulder, we met in person – masked up and at a distance in a beautiful outdoor setting. While this is certainly not ordinary, it does strike me that TimeBanking created a vehicle for me to meet a new person during a time when most of us are curtailing social outings with even the friends and family we already have!

I love TimeBanking! I hope to become more involved in finding ways for Time Bank Boulder to supplement our needs and wants, both material and social, during this peculiar time.