Wednesday, September 4, 2013

New Mexico, so far

John and I are settling in quite nicely to our new home... I know how to get to Whole Foods, Chick-fil-A, PetSmart, and Starbucks, and for now, that's all I need! I spend a lot of time at Starbucks, actually... I buy a venti and feel entitled to at least two hours of free wifi (since we don't have internet set up yet).  I do not yet feel up to braving the DMV to update my driver's license, and I am in no hurry - I will save that for a day when I am feeling more ambitious.

Below are a few pictures of our day-to-day.

1) We live within walking distance to some really great hiking trails located within Cibola National Forest, and sweet Scout has been enjoying getting out and exploring some new terrain.  She has quickly learned (after a needle stuck deep in her nose) to avoid the low-lying cactus and to stay on the trail.  Although the trails are very accessible, the terrain is pretty serious... there are rattlesnakes, black bears (30 sightings within the past two weeks - the poor guys have even made it into the city looking for water since the mountain is so dry), and mountain lions.  There is a sign when entering the national forest that states "This is mountain lion country" - the sign goes on to explain to fight like hell if you get attacked (and then to notify a park ranger)...

Since we are so close to the mountain, we are living at about 6,300 feet elevation (about 1,000 feet higher than the rest of Albuquerque - depending on the location).  Running at this elevation is a fun challenge (but more than running, it is the stairs that get me!).  Running is a pretty serious business here, and every morning there are flocks of people running.  Like, super in shape people.  I wonder if these people have jobs? is 9 am... why aren't you working?  I over heard a (very fit looking) woman say that she was running a 50K next weekend (50K, not 5K)... what??! Who does that??!

2) Green chiles (spelled "chile," not "chili" in New Mexico)are everywhere... You can get a green chile burger, green chile wine, green chile pizza, green chile (insert food here).  It is the thing here.  I will admit, they are yummy, but they make food all taste the same - so only one green chile (insert food here) for me a week.

We haven't found any restaurants that we are googly-eyed over yet, but we have a few gems on our to-try list.

3) Where we live there is plenty of grass (which is meticulously maintained and watered 3-4 times a day).  My Midwestern born puppy (and her Midwestern born mama) appreciate this.  Since we have grass, we also have a fun assortment of critters running around outside.  There are more hummingbirds than you can imagine, and just about every porch has a feeder, or two.  I am convinced that these aren't actually hummingbirds, but that the nearby Air Force base is collecting data on civilian recognition of drones.  You can't fool me, Mr. President.

We have unpacked all of the essentials and have maybe five or so more boxes to unpack.  I am fairly motivated to unpack these boxes because I have a "to buy" list that I will not let myself touch until we are completely unpacked.  I am also looking forward to trashing all the cardboard boxes because Scout loves chewing them to pieces.

4) We have a beautiful view of the Sandia mountains from our apartment complex.  It is quite wonderful, and I often feel like I am on a study abroad... it hasn't hit me yet that this is "home."

"Sandia" is Spanish for watermelon (the mountains glow red at sunset).  When we first arrived in New Mexico, I ran to the grocery store and saw that there was Sandia flavored Gatorade.  Excited to sample the local fare, I bought a pack and brought it home for John to try.  He lovingly pointed out that I was reading the Spanish label (English was only a 180 degree turn away) and that it was the same watermelon flavor we get in Michigan.  I was slightly disappointed, but it still tasted yummy.

Although we have only been in New Mexico for a total of 11 days (4 of which were spent in Colorado), so far it seems not too bad.  I don't know if it will be a "forever home," but this whole dry heat thing is pretty cool.  I have always sworn to love humidity, but it is incredible how enjoyable and livable the weather is here.  

In the mornings, the temperature is in the low 70s (and when I say morning, I don't mean 6 am... I am talking 10 am - so you have time to actually enjoy it!).  During the day and into the evening it gets pretty hot, but it isn't even the temperature so much that is hot, it is the sun (if you are in the shade, it isn't bad...).  We have been sleeping with our windows open, and it has been quite lovely! 

I will say, however, that every once-and-awhile I find myself with goose bumps (even though my phone says it is 87).  Also, our apartment has a pretty great pool that we have used a few times, and unlike in Florida, when you get out of the water and you aren't cold, here, when you get out, it is cold (because there is no humidity)! So you have to dry off and heat up before you can feel warm again. 

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