Avoiding Goodbyes

After 761 miles, 12 hours, and 1 satiating stop at In-N-Out Burger, I made it home from Albuquerque over a week ago. 

It rained for the first hour of our drive, which made leaving New Mexico more melancholy than I had anticipated. Once I got home the exhaustion set in, along with a burgeoning to-do list. Soon the goodbye blog post I had envisioned was also relegated to the bottom of that list.

Now I am no longer at home, nor in New Mexico, but in my fourth time zone for the last week. When life becomes transient so do your hellos and goodbyes. Everything swirls together in fluctuating travel and time. The heavy things settle at the bottom like grains of sand, a foundation which we often ignore.

The typical dictionary definition of goodbye is simply a farewell. Most often, dictionaries resist associating the word with any positive or negative connotations because it fluctuate with every individual. We each have our own feelings about goodbyes, there are those who hate them and those who have made peace with them.

     Kurt Vonnegut, in Bluebeard, wrote: “It’s the emptiest and yet the fullest of all human messages: ‘Good-bye.’”

     J.M. Barrie, in Peter Pan, wrote: “Never say goodbye because goodbye means going away and going away means forgetting.”

     Jack Kerouac, in On the Road, wrote: “What is that feeling when you’re driving away from people and they recede on the plain till you see their specks dispersing? – it’s the too-huge world vaulting us, and it’s good-bye. But we lean forward to the next crazy venture beneath the skies.”

     J.D. Salinger, in Catcher in the Rye, wrote: ” I don’t care if it’s a sad good-bye or a bad good-bye, but when I leave a place I like to know I’m leaving it. If you don’t you feel even worse.”

I used to think I was good at goodbyes. I would leave notes to those that I was leaving, ensuring a proper farewell with nothing left unsaid and my gratitude for the time openly expressed. I still aspire to these things, but as my goodbyes have increased over the last few months and it is harder to be sure about when I will see people next, I’ve lost the sense that I know how to handle such moments.

There is a good chance I will return to Albuquerque in the next two years since my brother and sister in-law will still be living there. But even still, it will be awhile. I certainly won’t live there ever again (no offense to those that do). So what is there to say when you depart a place like that?

Maybe this: Have a great winter, don’t ever change! Actually do change. You’ve got some things to work on New Mexico. But I liked your open spaces, so don’t change those. You are a land of deserts and mountains, both horizontal and vertical expanse, the dry and the dense. I also appreciated your openness to us refugees or weirdos or anyone who needs a place to just be for awhile. So thanks for taking me in Albuquerque, but also thanks for letting me leave.

To those two wonderful people who let me live in their spare room all summer – I already wrote you a nice personal note. We can keep some things to ourselves. But just so everyone knows, there are some gems hiding out in Albuquerque and I get to call them family.
DSC_0565

One way or another, goodbyes are important. If we try to avoid them, the thoughts and feelings still linger in the swirling. Those heavy things we put off do not disappear, no matter how busy life becomes. The good news for a goodbye is that it is never too late to express the things we should’ve could’ve would’ve said. Though the world vaults us apart and we lean forward to the next crazy venture, going away doesn’t always mean forgetting. We can recognize what we’ve left behind and also what we took away. Don’t be afraid to say goodbye, whether its good or bad it is important to recognize transitions–if only so we can recognize the foundation vaulting us into a new beginning.

How do you feel about goodbyes?

New Mexico National Parks and Monuments

Although New Mexico may have a mess of cons (see my first post on Albuquerque), it’s selection of outdoor wonders is a definite plus. There are a total of 13 different national parks and 58 national landmarks or monuments. By comparison, the last state I lived in (Illinois) had only one national park and two historic sites, both of which are historic homes of presidents (so not very thrilling unless you are a history buff). 

Most of these parks are in the far corners of the state, so I was only able to visit three officially during my time here. I’ve included a description, a review, and visit tips for each one below:

#1. Carlsbad Caverns, Southeast New Mexico
The natural entrance to the cave, also where the bats fly out at night.

The natural entrance to the cave, also where the bats fly out at night.

It was roughly 7:30 pm when the bats emerged, earlier than usual, at least so said the ranger. He had just started his informative address when the sputter of small black bodies began, sounding like a gentle misting rain as they fluttered into the preparatory whirl. Around, around, and out into the fading sky. Their sharp black figures become distant specks as more come to supplement the steady swarm. Against the sedimented rock that arches to form the cave’s entrance, the bats are a mirage of movement, barely discernible as they circulate out.

I had expected a thick, ominous cloud where are the bats would expel from the cave within minutes. Instead the patient, continuous stream was like a slowly voluminous leaking. Each bats rapid wing shifts combine together, fanning the buzz and aroma of their dank, musty hideout.

After spending several hours beneath the surface myself, wandering through the murky lighting and humid chill, I wondered if they feel refreshed upon exiting. Free of the tight quarters and clustered living, they now embraced the soft breeze of desert twilight. Perhaps it is like taking a cold shower after being in a sauna. Yet they also remained close to the extending ripple of those ahead and behind, wavering into the distance where their vast quantities dissipate into the arid expanse. Only a few departed from the group, darting off in their own direction, truly ready to be free.

This is the perfect way to end a day trip to Carlsbad Caverns National Park. We hadn’t planned the trip very far in advance, so we didn’t know about the bat flight (which happens every night during the summer months) and had planned to drive back that night. We stayed in Roswell the night before, but that meant we had to do the four and a half hour drive back to Albuquerque all in the dark and didn’t arrive home till 2:00 AM. If you are visiting the park from further away I suggest driving out in the morning, allowing for three hours to wander through the caverns (or they also have guided tours which looked good), waiting for the bat flight, and then staying in Roswell (an hour and a half away from the park) for the night.

No matter how you arrange it, Carlsbad Caverns is a must-see in New Mexico.
Deep inside the caves, 750 ft. below the surface

Deep inside the caves, 750 ft. below the surface

#2. White Sands National Monument, Southern New Mexico

Driving south from Albuquerque, New Mexico continues to provide surprising landscapes that are anything other than your stereotypical desert. Through rolling hills of rural communities, to boulder fields of cacti among charcoaled volcanic rock, the scenery was just as beautiful as driving through Utah or Colorado.

We arrived at the park around 6 pm, deliberately coming in the evening to see the sunset and get at least some relief from the heat. The ranger at the visitor center informed us about the popular practice of sand sledding, so we quickly purchased one and headed out with renewed enthusiasm.
Sand Sled
The crystallite fields aren’t visible until you enter the park boundaries. Slowly the rubble of desert shrubs thins out as the sand consumes any vegetation and only pure white remains in cursive strokes across the skyline. Still air permeated with the sun’s descending rays, no wind was present amidst the hush. Although there were other visitors there, it took less than a minute to lose ourselves in the dunes, invisible to every other surrounding.

Amid miles of undulating dunes, the one I picked to sled down seemed mild–until the sand slipped me into a rushing plummet. The flimsy plastic beneath me rippled and the acceleration finally created a breeze against my flushed cheeks, allowing for time to pause in the exhale of gravity’s control. Slow motion falling is not only for the movies, it exists on the downhill of any moment where we relinquish control to the magnetic pull of matter to matter. For a brief second, we can remember our common composition, the atoms that hold us all together across a planet, turning us into sand-like particles. Dust is to dust.

The sunset was simply a cherry on top, a sundae which we consumed with care until that cherry had disappeared behind the mountains and our souls were satiated.
White Sands Sunset
Thus White Sands proved itself to be another must-see in New Mexico. I highly recommend sledding, and coming at sunset. They have a lot of great picnic tables if you want to bring dinner in to the park, which is what we did by stopping for sandwiches in the nearest city, Alamogordo.

#3. Petroglyphs National Monument, Albuquerque

Sadly this one truly is last and least. Although it is within convenient driving distance of the city, the petroglyphs left me wanting more. There is some interesting history to how they got there and why, but it leaves me wondering if graffiti will be a national monument five hundred years from now. The etched drawings are rudimentary, and there doesn’t seem to be a clear connection or story between them.

Two of the trails were closed, so we picked the Boca Negra Canyon trail, which we were told would have almost 200 petroglyphs to see in a short walk. The walk was short, but the petroglyphs weren’t prominent or impressive in number. The trail went in a loop over a steep and uneven rocky hill. Although you could see the Sandias in the distance, a housing development dominated the foreground and erased any sense of natural reservation.

I have heard that there are some interesting trails on the opposite side of the park where the small, dormant volcanos are. Due to time constraints I wasn’t able to check that out, but even so my sense of disenchantment with the first half of the park has hindered my hope for the rest of it.
Petroglyphs
If you have half an hour to spare and are interested in undecipherable doodles, then go ahead and see the petroglyphs. If not, this is one you can skip without remorse.

Tomorrow I leave bright and early to say goodbye to Albuquerque and drive back to California. Check back either tomorrow night, or Saturday depending on the drive, for my New Mexico farewell post.

Have you been to any national parks or monuments in New Mexico?

What did you think?

Where Mountains and Desert Converge

Yesterday I wrote about the city of Albuquerque in all its idiosyncratic glory. Today, I want to share my favorite part of the city: it’s outdoor landscape and activities.

On an early Saturday morning, the drive across Tramway Boulevard is still in the shade as the sun rises behind the Sandia mountains. Sandia, the Spanish word for watermelon, seemed an appropriate name to the early settlers of New Mexico who saw the radiant pink hues on the mountain face at sunset, resembling the refreshing summer fruit.
Up close the pink hues of granite rock in the Sandias is subtle, but when the setting sun hits the mountain altogether and from a distance it becomes a mass of watermelon red

Up close the pink hues of granite rock in the Sandias is subtle, but when the setting sun hits the mountain altogether and from a distance it becomes a mass of watermelon red

Refreshing is also fitting for the Sandias, since it is often twenty to thirty degrees cooler on top of the mountain than at the bottom. On hot summer days, the trails across the Sandias are filled with colorful wildflowers, serene vistas, and the soft murmur of the wind rolling through the cliffs. It is an entirely different world from the desert below.

In fact, if you hike the 8 mile La Luz trail from the foothills to the top, they say you pass through three separate types of ecosystems. The harsh desert landscape at the bottom eventually traverses through pines trees, still mingled with cacti and sagebrush, until the landscape transforms into a dense canopy of mountain pine and grass. Even black bears are present on the mountain, hidden across the undisturbed ranges of forest.

Thus Albuquerque has unique access to both the mountains and the desert. In theory, you could see a black bear in the morning and a rattlesnake in the afternoon. Back down on the city floor a number of trails are available for a variety of outdoor activities. Biking is especially common in the city, despite the number of sharp, thorny goats heads plaguing any outdoor space. Both the Diversion Channel and the Rio Grande Bosque trail provide long, scenic bike routes free from the crazy drivers on Albuquerque’s streets.

Most Albuquerque natives I’ve meet like to claim that you can’t beat the weather here. Although I will admit it remains relatively temperate for being in a desert environment, I am originally from San Diego and that is a place where you truly can’t beat the weather. Albuquerque, on the other hand, suffers from summer “monsoons” coming up from the Gulf of Mexico which led to multiple summer thunderstorms during my stay here. The rain was a welcome gift to the parched landscape, but I wouldn’t call it ideal summer weather.
My brother's dog Luna loved hiking with me. Here we did a trail at the base of the Sandias, still amongst the desert environment

My brother’s dog Luna loved hiking with me. Here we did a trail at the base of the Sandias, still in the desert environment

I do appreciate the variety of plants and flowers that thrive in such sparse conditions. Wildflowers on the desert floor are entirely their own, born between the cacti’s spears and extending high above the bristled grasses they are not delicate nor hefty. We often stereotype the desert as an empty expanse, but its riches are more like ripples than waves. There is no need to compete for height or breadth of branches and leaves, roots do undercover work and the surface remains inconspicuous in its survival. Grass is not the deep green of rolling plains, but tufts of grayed mint, off-white, and mustard yellow. Life is harsher no doubt, but a rough exterior doesn’t disqualify the land from its own unique heart and soul. 

Do you have a preference for desert or mountains?

How does the landscape of your city inspire you?

New Mexico Recap: The City of Albuquerque

Two main highways create a cross section of Albuquerque’s four quadrants. It oddly mirrors New Mexico’s state flag–a red circle with four groups of four rays that represent the four cardinal directions, four seasons, stages of the day, and stages of life itself.

However, the 25, North and South, and the 40, East and West, divide the city’s flattened expanse in unequal sections. Some people suggest that Central Avenue (part of Route 66), which is a southern parallel to the 40, and the Rio Grande, which is the western parallel to the 25, are the true dividing lines. Consensus and clarity are not among the city’s strengths though, nor is equal distribution.

Albuquerque is not known for attracting large businesses or job industries, yet strip malls are prevalent and extensive across the city. More than anything, the restaurant and food industry seems to be largely successful. The city boasts 12 breweries, four wineries, and a vast array of restaurants boasting classic New Mexican red or green chile sauces. One of my favorite Albuquerque chains is the Satellite Coffee and Flying Star Cafe group, which offer great locally sourced food and a more unique alternative to the Starbucks chain.
Satellite Coffee on Central Ave.

Satellite Coffee on Central Ave.

Eccentric attractions are a trademark of Albuquerque in general. The Southwest has an affinity for liberally minded people, those who reflect the desert’s ability to adapt to an arid landscape of poor resources and create a strangely innovative way of living. In a place where you can find hundreds of varieties of cacti and too many types of cockroaches to count, you also find a range of people that might be typical American suburbanites, hippie professors, avid cyclists, or disadvantaged minorities common in any large city.

Thus the city has everything from a thriving hot air balloon community and the international hot air balloon museum, to a historic Old Town, to Native American museums and cultural centers, to the National Museum of Nuclear Science and History. They also embrace their local sports teams, the minor league baseball Isotopes and the University of New Mexico Lobos, as much as any big-city team.

Hidden behind all these unique attractions, there is an unfortunate dark side. A hint to these problems is a peculiar pattern I’ve noticed on the highways: almost every time I drive on one I see a car abandoned on the shoulder. What does it say about a city when there are constantly cars breaking down, and not just that, but that their owners often abandon them? Perhaps the tow truck industry is lacking, or maybe something else creates such a conundrum.

The ills popularized by the hit show Breaking Bad–poor educational resources, meth labs, and heavy crime–are all too real. Although the city has brought in considerable tourism thanks to the show (my favorite spin off I’ve seen is the dog grooming company “Barking Bad”) it hasn’t been able to solve any of those problems.

Albuquerque’s mixture of people, places, and problems is certainly unique.  In some areas it is just as hip as a California beach town, with Saturday farmers markets and organic eateries, but in other areas it suffers from the social  consequences of urban inequality, with a large homeless population and gang violence. It is a city mashed between mountains and desert, colliding between a world of harsh realities and high-altitude dreams. But just as high compression and temperatures can eventually spurn out diamonds, the mash-ups in Albuquerque can certainly yield surprising results.
Sunday Farmers Market at the old Albuquerque Railyards - a unique gem of local color and small businesses

Sunday Farmers Market at the old Albuquerque Railyards – a unique gem of local color and small businesses

Check back tomorrow for more on the specific landscape and outdoor opportunities in and around the city.

Have you ever visited Albuquerque? What impression did you have?

A Subacute Future / Coming Soon on the Blog

According to my brilliant doctor sister-in-law, my anxiety over the future is what the medical community might call “subacute.” Besides the fact that I love having a new term to label it by, I also thought it was an apt description.

From what I understand (in my limited capacity for medical terminology) an “acute” problem is immediate and at the initial stages of an infection or disease. That problem becomes “subacute” when it lingers longer than expected and is no longer an immediate threat, but it still looms in the background.

So although I’ve been increasingly anxious about finding a job and my lack of a concrete plan for the future, it is subacute because I actually do have a plan for the next month and half. Acutely, I will be leaving Albuquerque in five days, driving home to San Diego, spending a few days packing, flying to Chicago, catching a ride to Ohio for my friend’s wedding, then flying out the next day to spend a full month in Norway and Sweden (which has it’s own crazy itinerary).

These do count as concrete plans, but I think their haphazard nature reduces my feeling of security, which then makes the unplanned stretch afterwards feel urgent with anxiety. On top of that, the news never ceases to distress me further with depressing stories about the injustice and racism in Ferguson, our never-ending interference in the Middle East, and the death of Robin Williams (oh captain my captain!).

I am working on accepting that this is simply a condition of a broken world and the trials of post-grad life. Packaged together they make one disturbing couple. I wrote about this at the beginning of the summer (here), but now that my time off is coming to an end it is hard to maintain a posture of hope and relaxation. I like having plans, but my future is out of my control for the time being (unless you can find someone willing to hire a person who can’t start till October).

Post-grad is teaching me how to focus on the acute part of life, enjoying whatever is right in front of me and letting the future unfold on its own. Unfortunately, I’m a rather obstinate student who doesn’t approve of the current teaching methods. Eventually, hopefully, I will get over it.

Until then, I have a couple of funsie items (the word “funsie” is courtesy of a favorite professor of mine) planned for the blog to close out the summer before I take my hiatus to Scandinavia. First, since this week is my last in Albuquerque, I will be doing a New Mexico recap. Tune in for   the variety of oddities I’ve found in this strange, strange place. This is the (tentative) plan:

  •      Monday 8/18 – The City of Albuquerque: Restaurants, Activities, and the Unexplained
  •      Tuesday 8/19 – Albuquerque’s Landscape: The Sandias, the desert, and monsoons
  •      Thursday 8/21 – National Parks and Monuments: Carlsbad Caverns, White Sands, The Petroglyphs
  •      Friday 8/22 – Concluding Thanks and Goodbyes
Check back this week to see posts about my Albuquerque adventures, including a trip to this dark place that resembles my fears about my future... just kidding, kind of :)

Check back this week to see posts about my Albuquerque adventures, including a trip to this dark place that resembles my fears about my future (sharp, ominous, with large scary impediments that almost look like Chewbaca on the far right)… just kidding, kind of :)

After that, probably not the next week but maybe the week after, I am planning a Book Week to report on and discuss all the books I’ve read this year (see the page 2014 Reading List for a preview). More details on that coming soon.

Lacking confidence, like many other writers and post-graduate students, I never cease to question what the point of this blog is or why I should bother to continue writing on it. Nonetheless, I continue. Perhaps the reason is related to the lack of consistency in my life right now, and this blog is one of the few things I can control. Another reason is that I can’t deny my desire to write, even if no one is reading it. We all have our own methods of adjusting to change and the outlet that helps us to re-center. Mine is writing. It is an acute part of my life, regardless of the other subacute things going on. We all deserve such an outlet, I’d love to hear about what yours is. In the meantime, if you do bother to read these things I write, I hope you know I appreciate your presence.

Sometimes you just need to take life one day at a time. I’m not always good at it, but maybe one day that won’t be the case.

Albuquerque: 10 Things I’ve Learned So Far

Hi everyone! The last month has been a wild ride of graduating from college, driving home from Chicago to San Diego, spending a week in Yosemite, a week redoing an entire room in my parent’s house, a week spent at Disney World (more on that in my next post), and then moving to Albuquerque, New Mexico to live with my brother and sister-in-law. I still forget what time zone I’m in, but after three weeks I’m starting to feel a little more settled.

Welcome to New Mexico

Albuquerque, and New Mexico in general, is full of quirks. At least that’s the best way I’ve found to describe it so far. Here are a couple of the things I’ve learned about this mysterious place in the last few weeks:

  1. The official state nickname is “The Land of Enchantment” but it is more often known as the land of “would you like green or red chile on that?” You can also choose both, which they call “Christmas” style. Seriously, they put chiles on everything here.
  2. On that note, there is a difference between the Mexican food you get in Southern California and “New Mexican” food. Mostly it means you are safe ordering enchiladas, but a taco will look like it came from Taco Bell. They make up for it with sopapillas and honey at the end of every meal though.
  3. Hot air ballooning is not just a fun tourist outing, in Albuquerque it has long been a serious business. The International Hot Air Balloon Museum boasts treasures such as the gondola used to make the first flight across the Atlantic Ocean, a Japanese bomb that actually used unmanned hot air balloons during WWII to float incendiary bombs across the Pacific (which were surprisingly successful but the government kept it a secret to prevent panic about mainland attacks), and one of the first parachutes was invented by, what’s that?– a woman! Apparently this woman had more guts than most men of her day and invented the parachute to use for stunt jumps out of hot air balloons. You go girl.
  4. The police will fight back. I was enjoying a pleasant ride up the Sandia Tramway (the longest tramway in the world by the way) when I overheard a man talking about how the police killed an old homeless man they found camping out in the mountains because he was apparently “dangerous.” Sad story, but true. The upside is that I just moved here from Chicago, so the crime and police activity here still seems mild. That’s right I’m tough, or at least I pretend to be.
  5. Instead of air conditioning, many places use something called a “swamp cooler.” It can only be used in places with less than 30% humidity because of the magical way it uses water to cool the air (don’t ask me how, my engineer brother explained it and that is all I got out of it). One way or another, you have to flip three light switches to turn it on and it makes me feel like some kind of pilot flipping switches and making the world a better, cooler place.
  6. They are vigilant about checking your i.d. if you want a drink – so vigilant that my vertical California license might not pass in most places, at least according to the nice bartender who almost wouldn’t sell me a beer. According to Mr. Bartender, Albuquerque has such a significant problem with alcoholism that he even has to ask 80-yr old grandmas for their i.d. before selling them alcohol.
  7. Roadrunners are not mythical creatures that can survive coyote pursuits or anvil attacks, they are real life birds and yes, they run across the road.
  8. The Acoma Indians, located west of Albuquerque, are matriarchal and pass the family name through the mother’s line. We took a tour of their pueblo, and although it was sadly touristy the guide was authentic in his portrayal of the tribe’s daily life. They also make really good fry bread, which is different from Alaskan fry bread (at least that I’ve tried). Still delicious though.

    The cultural center at the Acoma Pueblo had dancers performing traditional tribal dances.

    The cultural center at the Acoma Pueblo had dancers performing traditional tribal dances.

  9. Albuquerque is also a great place for biking, with extensive trails along the canal and bike lanes across the city. However, there are these awful prickers called “goat’s heads” that seem perfectly designed to poke holes in bicycle tires, almost guaranteeing a flat tire on or after any bike ride in the area. The other anomaly to the great biking town reputation is when you see a white bicycle statue (aka “Ghost Bikes”) on the side of the road, which indicates a place where a cyclist was killed.
  10. New Mexico likes to be unique with what the rest of the country considers standard acronyms. For example, instead of getting a DUI for driving under the influence, New Mexico law designates such acts as DWI, or driving while intoxicated. Also, you would never have to deal with a long line at a DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles), instead you can wait in a long line at the New Mexico MVD (Motor Vehicle Division). Why these changes? Well why not?! “Why not” should also be part of New Mexico’s state motto, it does fit well with the current motto: Crescit Eundo (“It Grows as it Goes”). Supposedly this motto is supposed to represent prosperity and progress, but its nonsensical wording does make you feel like you are falling down the rabbit hole, and the city of Albuquerque has plenty of characters to support that feeling.

Along with all of these I’m also learning a lot about the challenges of post-grad life and how to structure my life outside of a school calendar. It is mostly weird, sometimes panicky and stressful, but also calming when I realize I can still breathe, in and out, in and out. So I will continue to float with the flow, enjoying days of rest in this weird, weird land.

What have your experiences been in moving to a new place?

What are some of the weird things you’ve learned about where you live?

Time to Escape

Hello! In honor of the last day of National Poetry month (and since I missed posting the entire month), I thought I would post a poem I wrote last semester for a class. I don’t consider myself much of a poet, but its still something I like to try my hand at now and then.

Highway Houdini

Is this the seat I’m strapped into

forever?

Sometimes passenger sometimes driver

constant watcher, waiting.

In a highway-freeway world

stowaways still exist.

I can cross borders and climb mountains

in this tin can tour machine.

But I remember at age 2

I pulled a sideways Houdini

escaped the carseat,

opened the locked door,

jumped out,

and ran.

I wrote this poem as part of a final project where we had to create a collection of seven related poems. Mine focused on car rides, specifically across the South West, and was titled The States of Borders. This poem was the final one in the collection, and since I am a week and a half away from graduating college it resonated with me.

There are so many things I could say about these last few months, but I will save that for another post, probably once I’ve actually finished all my assignments and have free time again. I know I said I was going to try and post more this semester since I would be reading and writing a lot for all my classes, but unfortunately because that was more than true I didn’t have any time to post those writings. This semester has been a tornado where the pages flew by and papers fluttered off and now I’ve been spit out on the other side somewhat dazed about where it all went. Thankfully my summer should be more relaxing and I am hoping to devote that time to writing and posting more.

Speaking of summer, the other reason why I thought one of my poems based on the South West would be appropriate is because I am moving to Albuquerque, New Mexico! It will only be for a few months, but my wonderful older brother John and his wife Kari (who also has a great blog on veganism and being a resident here) offered to let me crash in their spare room while I recuperate and look for a full time position elsewhere. I am especially excited to spend time with them and in a completely new place. For now, I have to go get myself ready to graduate… gulp…

Overlooking Albuquerque from the Sandia Mountains - going to soak in this view all summer!

Overlooking Albuquerque from the Sandia Mountains – going to soak in this view all summer!

Adventure is out there! Run!