Describe your hometown. Describe the food, people and things to do. What was it like growing up there?
Walter White and Jesse Pinkman would have you believe that Albuquerque is one thing when in reality it is a myriad of things. I grew up on a street not dissimilar from the little boxes in Agrestic. I rode my bike until the street lights came on, I frequented cultural centers and I ate good food that grandma cooked. What made Albuquerque special was the people and the food. I ate green chili with practically every meal, it is simply the way you eat in Albuquerque. The most common question one gets asked as a resident of the city is “Red or green.” This is referring to what type of chili you would like smothered on or in your food. The gracious blend between Hispanic and Native American cuisine is supremely unique to the entire state of New Mexico, not just Albuquerque. Meth however, is not rampantly on the menu, regardless of what “Breaking Bad” would have you believe. Albuquerque is similar to many cities with a booming downtown and strong night life but the uniqueness lies in the culture of the people and of the history.
I miss the sky of Albuquerque. The blues cannot be matched, nor the crisp lines of the eggshell white clouds that tend to linger. The Sandia mountains are to the East. Interestingly, Sandia means ‘watermelon’ in Spanish and many a summer day in Albuquerque is spent gnawing at a fresh watermelon. Also interesting is my keen sense of direction I am often complimented on. It was really easy to learn in Albuquerque because the giant mountain was a marker for the East. Hiking and camping are always options in the Albuquerque and outlying areas. Skiing outside of Albuquerque is wildly popular in the snowy winters. I preferred and miss a little gem of an area known as Old Town, however. Essentially a plaza of shops and restaurants, Old Town is just that, a very old, very small town. There is a church that stands across from a park and it is something I miss admiring. Outside the shops you might find some Native American residents selling Turquoise jewelry, which is popular in New Mexico. There is a deep seeded sense of history throughout the city of Albuquerque but in Old Town that sense is condensed and beaming everywhere you look.
Outside of Albuquerque, roughly an hour outside, is the state capital city of Santa Fe. The photographer in me misses taking day trips out to Santa Fe. There are old churches, each unique with it’s own sense of personality. Of those churches, my favorite is called Loretto Chapel which houses what is known as a miraculous staircase. This staircase has two 360 degree turns and no visible supports. Heralded a miracle, that stair case has made Loretto Chapel famous and my favorite photograph is one I took of my grandmother standing at the bottom of the stairs. Outside the window of Loretto Chapel is a tree with Rosaries hanging from virtually every branch.If you head out of Santa Fe, there is a church called Santuario in Chimayo New Mexico. The miracle at that church is the healing sand that miraculously gets replenished every night. I have a picture taken at the hole of dirt in which you see leaning against the wall, crutches, canes and walkers that people left behind after being healed. There is a lot of hope and family in Albuquerque and it’s surrounding communities.