When an east coast 'Jersey girl' moves west to her new 'home on the range' in Albuquerque, it does not take long to figure out that 'they do things differently' in New Mexico. A compilation of firmly tongue-in-cheek vignettes regarding life in New Mexico, this book invites the reader to take a rollicking road trip through a state filled with weird wonders, colorful characters and a landscape straight out of a roadrunner cartoon!
My Albu-Quirky Journals
There was something inherently comical about moving from my home state of New Jersey to my new ‘home on the range’ in Albuquerque New Mexico. After all, I was moving from a state that has perpetually been the butt of comedian’s jokes, to a state that was generally not even recognized as an actual state at all by a large portion of the US population. Leastways, that was my conclusion after enduring some very odd questions by the folks I informed of my impending move. Most responded with such inane queries and remarks as, “Do you need a passport or a visa to move there?”, “Will you have dual citizenship then?”, “You’ll have to get some sort of work permit or ‘green card’ to get a job there…”, “Better brush up on your Spanish!”, and the inevitable caution, ‘Don’t drink the water!”. The most disturbing thing was that all of these comments and questions came from adults whom I had hitherto considered to be intelligent, well-educated individuals and…. they weren’t kidding!
Since that time I have read numerous stories published in New Mexico magazine that detail the problems faced by traveling New Mexicans trying to convince the rest of the country that they’re NOT ‘foreigners‘. There have been instances of New Mexican tourists trying to cash travelers checks drawn on their Albuquerque bank and being told by some bank in Ohio that they don’t accept foreign checks. It seems that if you’re from New Mexico and travel anywhere outside of the immediately surrounding states, you need to bring a map of the US with you to prove that New Mexico is a part of the USA…. And even then, you and your map will likely be met with some skepticism. It’s probably the reason why New Mexico is the only state in the union I know of that actually has to put ‘USA’ on their license plates.
At least my boss was a bit more savvy than most, but still questioned my sanity, asking “Why would you want to move to a place that Bugs Bunny makes fun of in his cartoons?”. (You know… the ones where he’s burrowing his way to Pismo beach, ends up in the wrong place and ruefully comments, “I knew I shoulda taken that left turn at Albuquerque!”). My boss went on to verbally paint an Easterner’s typically bleak view of what he envisioned Albuquerque and New Mexico to be like… a dry, dusty, treeless wasteland, nothing but baked earth and scrawny cacti and herds of tumbleweeds rolling down the streets.
Well… a lot of it is dry and dusty, but it’s certainly not entirely devoid of trees or other greenery. There are plenty of trees in the higher mountain elevations and along the twisting Rio Grande. Here in Albuquerque, the Sandia Mountains rise majestically to the east and the horizon seems to go on forever in all directions. Blue skies that are almost surrealistic in their vivid hue are punctuated by puffy white clouds and colorful hot air balloons. Far from being a wasteland, New Mexico in general and Albuquerque in particular is quite picturesque. However, I must admit that the first thing we saw as we drove into town for the first time was… yep… a tumbleweed rolling nonchalantly down the main street.
What follows are the bemused observations of a bewildered transplanted Easterner in regards to life here in New Mexico. There was definitely a good deal of culture-shock involved, which generally resulted in many a shaking head and incredulous wide-eyed stare as we mumbled under our breaths, ‘They sure do things differently in New Mexico’. In fact, that has become my and my family’s ongoing mantra as we attempt to make sense of and fit into the lifestyle and culture of our new home.
So come along for the ride… hopefully you’ll find it to be an interesting trip. Oh, and keep an eye out for those pesky tumbleweeds….they like to play out in traffic!