Saturday, August 18, 2012

6 Months in Santa Fe

Robbie and I are coming up on six whole months living in Santa Fe which is absolutely mind-boggling to me.  It feels like just yesterday--or maybe like, 3 months ago at most--that we packed up all our earthly shit (and threw away even more earthly shit) and drove across this great nation of ours to our new life in the desert.

We've been through a lot so far--many tears, lots of laughter, tons of Netflix episodes--and all in all it's been pretty great.  I think it's going to be pretty badass to casually say later that "oh yeah, we lived in Santa Fe for a couple of years."

I figured I'd recap our six months in a list of what I really like and what I do not like about living here in Santa Fe.

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What is Awesome about Living in Santa Fe

1. The Food: Jesus, guys, the food here is just bananas.  I think that I have been permanently ruined on Mexican food and margaritas for the rest of my life because of all the amazing shit we've eaten here.  So far, every restaurant I've been to has some knowledge of gluten and minus one non-gluten-related food poisoning, I haven't had a bad reaction yet.  If Rob were helping me write this post, he'd want me to throw in here that you can't really get a great pizza and I'd agree with that.  We're East Coasters so we know pizza, or at least I did before this whole celiac thing.

2. The Absence of Bugs: Yeah, I know, camel spiders and shit.  But honestly, I'll take the occasional camel spider, tarantula, or scary beetle if it means no black flies for mosquitoes.  I love that we can sit on our patio in the evening, sipping a margarita and chatting without hurrying inside, burning our nostrils with caustic bug spray, or itching our skin off.

3. The Weather: I'm probably going to put this in my "dislike" list as well to be honest. I've decided that I like dry heat over humidity since it's more easily escaped (just get in the shade!), and I like that we have lots of warm days but will still have cool fall days.

4. The Diversity: Maine has a very homogenous population, both in race (98% white, one of the whitest in the country I believe) and in cultural background.  The state has many wonderful things but does not have much in the way of cultural diversity (Rob and I talk often about how Maine is basically one small town).  Contrast that with Santa Fe, and in a broader sense New Mexico, which is much more of a cultural and ethnic mix.  There are Native Americans (some of whom still speak their original language), Native Spanish, Latin-Americans, white people, African-American people, and lots more.  The city has lots of cultural events aimed at educating, empowering, and understanding other cultures--perhaps to try to counterbalance the state and nation's history of annihilating the culture of Native peoples--and it's been really interesting to see how this affects Santa Fean culture as a whole.

5. The Scenery: Rob would vehemently disagree with me on this one since he's more partial to Maine. I love Maine and think it's gorgeous, but Santa Fe is also gorgeous, just in a different way.  I love how the sky is so massive here, unobstructed by trees, and how you can see for miles and miles.

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What is Kind of Lame about Living in Santa Fe

1. The Weather: Hey, I warned you it would come up again. The sun is absolutely blistering here.  I can't remember the last time I've dreaded going outside because of the heat.  Dry cold is also a little tough to deal with.

2. The Crime: We haven't seen as much crime in Santa Fe as, say, Albuquerque, but it has been a little bit of a shock to us down-home Mainers.  The whole one-big-small-town thing combined with the comparatively tiny population of Maine means that murders are rare and are a huge deal when they do happen. Here on the news it seems like someone's getting killed in New Mexico every day.

3. The Traffic: This is yet another list item that screams "I'm from the middle of nowhere!" In Maine it may take 20 minutes to get to the grocery store, but that's because the grocery store is far away from your house.  Here it takes 25 or 30 to get to a much closer grocery store because of endless traffic and a million traffic lights.

4. The Drivers: Good lord, Santa Fe drivers. Except for a few trips to Florida, I have never seen so many slow-ass people driving in the left lane as I have here.  The crazy thing is, though, that they all drive slow as hell until the light turns yellow or solid fucking red and then they speed through the light.  Seriously, everyone who comes here notices right away how frequently people run red lights in this city. It's so common that I've started to wait for several seconds after a light turns green before I go, and never turn left as the light is turning yellow for fear of getting side-swiped.  It isn't this way in Albuquerque or anywhere else I've been, just Santa Fe.

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