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It feels so good to be out West again. It just makes me happy. Better air, you know?

This is the first time I’ve lived in Mountain Time Zone but that means I’ve now officially lived in all four time zones of the contiguous U.S. Just Alaska and Hawaii to go. My phone is going to be roaming pretty much the entire time I’m here on the network of a local company called Chinook. But who’s to complain? At least I get service.

Yesterday I went in to visit and get an orientation of the studio and staff. This weekend I’ll be shadowing and then doing some training to get used to the equipment and software here before going out on my own. [I should note that this is probably as much as I’ll be allowed to blog about my JR. The school’s policy is no tweeting or blogging about our work. And I probably won’t. If I do, it will something that draws from something from work but I wouldn’t be blogging directly about it.]

I’m really excited for JR on various levels. Obviously professionally this opportunity will be a great learning and practice experience. But there are also personal reasons. I’ve been so ready to just get away for a while from the craziness and drama of Evanston, and this is the perfect environment for that.

Anyway, a few things about Montana, or at least, Billings, that I’ve noticed in the past few days.

1) There’s no sales tax here. WHEEEEEEEEEEE!!! It’s such a nice change from the 10% in Chicagoland. It’s a bad change though for my credit cards. I’ve spent a ridiculous amount of money these past few days. Sad thing, though, is that I actually needed it all. Or at least most of it.

2) The public high schools here in Billings have their proms in March. Like what?!?

3) There are casinos everywhere – in malls, plazas or just off the side of the street like the one below.

More than anything right now I wish I had a car with me so I could go to all the different state and national parks in the area on my days off. I got myself a bike to get around the city and to get to work on days when my roommate doesn’t work, but it can hardly get me outside of the neighborhood. I can’t even get across the interstate to get to the ballroom classes I want to take. Maybe a car will miraculously appear?

Here’s to a wonderful time in Montana.

And, by the way, should you care to catch up on Phase 1 of 2011, here are those pictures.