Archives for posts with tag: mountains

Image

Clouds           rolling         across        the         sky

drifting

rolling       over        the      eastern          mountains

like      waves      on       the        rocks

under        a         full         moon

sun-lit            clouds            roll           in

like         waves              on           the        rocks

Colors of home in the morning.

Colors of home in the morning.

It doesn’t seem that long ago that my friends and I were preparing to leave to college.  We were raised in a small New Mexican town and we were eager to see the world. “See you later, Mom and Dad,” my best friend penned in a class note. “I’ll write you…in 5 years!”  Six short months later we were all plotting our return. We had scattered to various out-of-state locations only to realize Home was not so bad.

I had left to the Pacific Northwest to attend the University of Washington in Seattle.  Seattle was absolutely beautiful as cities go, but from the moment I arrived, I was terribly homesick.  I had great adventures and met fantastic friends but Home seemed so far.

I remember my first day in the cafeteria.  I had always considered myself a nature lover, a tree hugger, but on this day I realized I wasn’t as eco friendly as I thought I was.  First of all I couldn’t find any red meat anywhere! There were like 6 lines of food service…pasta, fish, more pasta, ooh I think that is chicken, more pasta…  I’m a red blooded American girl, and this red blooded American girl likes her steak.  Second, I had been in Seattle a whole week and the only beverage I could find anywhere was bottled water.  I’m not much for sodas but this was the early 90’s and back home we drank water out of a faucet.  Actually, I had drank water out of the faucet at the dorm and the water tasted funny.  It was metallic and I didn’t like it at all.  I had complained to my mom as evidence that I truly didn’t belong in this new environment. She brushed me off and told me that I probably wasn’t used to clean water.  Ha ha mom, I wasn’t laughing. Back to the cafeteria… I chose some plain white pasta and a bottled water.  I ate and gazed out at the green foliage.  It was mesmerizing and beautiful. I finished my lunch and walked over to the trash cans.  There were like 5 trash cans with different colors on the lids, but no wording.  I looked around and even stalled to see what the deal with these trash cans were, but no one approached.  I began to dump my napkin and water bottle and then IT happened.  Time froze. Suddenly I felt all eyes on me, not just looking at me, but shooting invisible lasers straight at me.  I heard a slow scream, “N o o o o o o o!” Surely it was only in my mind. Then suddenly as I stood like a motionless statue, a fleeting figure darted to my side, snatched the water bottle from the clutches of the trash can and tossed it into another can. “This one’s for recycling plastics,” the figure stated matter-of-factly before quickly darting away.  The hum of conversation resumed and the hot eyes boring into me were no longer upon me.  I actually felt guilty. I felt as if I should return my new REI membership. I vowed never to make that mistake again.

I continued my stay, trying to blend in just a bit more. Sure, I shopped with my cloth shopping bag, but the cafeteria never served anything more than pasta and fish. I discovered a fine dining restaurant in the basement of one of the dorms on campus that served  steak.  I would save my money to buy a steak and baked potato about once a month for $15.  It was couples in suits and prom dresses cuddling in the candlelight and me… in my comfy jeans, alone with my steak.

I continued to miss my family and friends.  On my 19th birthday, my new Seattle friends took me out to eat at a Mexican restaurant.  They knew I was homesick and they clearly thought that a taste of Home was just what I needed. I ordered my meal and a side of sopaipillas.  The food came out but I never got my sopaipillas.  I’m pretty easy going and thought that it was just an over site. No big deal, not even worth mentioning to the server.  We talked and laughed and enjoyed a wonderful meal. The meal was ending and we were waiting for the check when the server approached me with a plate.  Did someone tell them it was my birthday? Maybe it is a piece of cake or ice cream.  The server set before me a plate of tortilla chips covered with what looked and smelled like maple syrup.  I looked at the server with confusion. “Your sopaipillas,” the server said with a hopeful smile.  For those of you that do not know what sopaipillas are, they are pieces of fried bread that puff as you fry them. At least that is what they are in New Mexico. They are not nacho chips in syrup.  I didn’t want to be rude so I stomached as much of the chips as I could.  I guess anything can be tasty in syrup, but the whole time I was thinking about how much I missed Home.  I thought I missed my family, my friends, and Sam (my first boyfriend that I had met 2 months before leaving to Washington), but I was beginning to realize I missed Home. Home was where mountains were the backdrop to my parents house. Home, where New Mexican sunsets were shades of orange, pink and grayish blues. Home, where a blanket of stars could almost always be seen once the sun went down. Home, where sopaipillas were more than nacho chips and syrup.

If you happen to be reading this and decide to return, I plan to post pictures, stories, and recipes that have made living in central New Mexico along the Rio Grande a place to call Home.