Sunday, October 14, 2007

About Albuquerque Life

I often get asked about Albuquerque: "Why did you move to Albuquerque? Do you like living there? What's in New Mexico anyway?". Considering that my relatives thought that I was moving to Mexico, it's not unexpected that most people are curious about Albuquerque itself.

I truly enjoy living in New Mexico. I contrast it to Nevada, where I lived most of my life. Northern Nevada is similar to New Mexico in that it has a great, high-altitude desert climate with most days sunny and bright. There is an amazing amount of outdoors hiking, climbing, skiing, fishing, and more to do, though personally I think that New Mexico's outdoor attractions are more interesting. In a prior post I mentioned that Sunny and I had gone sledding at White Sands, and we are planning on going to Carlsbad Caverns soon. Both states are predominantly rural states with a few population centers. Both of them look like endless stretches of sagebrush and highway as one drives through them. Yet they are very different to live in.

What I think is fascinating about New Mexico is that it has its own distinct culture as a state, and Nevada definitely lacks that. It starts with food. New Mexico has its own cuisine based on local products, especially chile, blue corn, and cheese. Next, art abounds; people here have a much more natural philosophy about art, that art can be produced by anyone, and many people create some form of art without hesitation or worry that they are pretentiously claiming to be "an artist". I am the proud owner of several pieces from a local part-time potter and hope to own more. The Native reservations are still very much alive and producing new techniques based on their traditional pottery, stonework, metal smithing, and weaving. Architecturally, many buildings, including my house, are built to appear similar to ancient Pueblo dwellings; I can actually look around in a suburb and know that I'm in Albuquerque and not, say, some random place in California or Connecticut. Finally, as a modern touch, New Mexico has a great density of scientific work and atomic history, such that Sunny is very excited to be working on his Ph. D. here and is in no way compromised by our location.

More specifically, I really love our part of Albuquerque. Sunny and I are all about living in a "live-walk" community where human-powered traffic predominates and neighbors actually socialize with each other. We live in University Heights AKA Nob Hill, and we can easily commute to school and work and grocery shopping by bike. A cluster of small businesses and great restaurants featuring Greek, Italian, sushi, other Japanese, Korean, Irish pub, and Vietnamese food lives on Central Avenue, three blocks north of our home. Plus, I have little problem finding most of my cooking ingredients as there are multiple Asian markets near by. Furthermore, There are a lot of young families as well as established families here. Greenspace abounds, with four parks and public tennis courts within walking distance. Finally, a library and a well reviewed elementary is 3 blocks south of us. We've been to several house parties on our block, and will probably host one next summer. If you're interested in moving here, leave a note with any questions!

UNM Children's Hospital (Wing)

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