Out Back in the USA, numero cuatro: My Santa Fe Trail


It has been a long, long time since I was in Santa Fe. Too long by all readily available accounts. The family member to time ratio was also not completely in my favor as there was to be mucho activity in a small amount of time. It made for a fabulous, if manic paced mini-week in the Southwest. This was my fourth regional variation since I got to the States and another reminder of the amazing geography of the American West. I am sure I have mentioned this already a million times, but it is so nice to be back in clean environments. I miss clean air a lot lot lot.

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Santa Fe’s elevation is over 7,000 feet (for everyone in the world outside of America, that would be more than 2,100 meters/metres.) It is an awesomely arid climate and a true painted desert. My uncle was very worried about my water consumption for all of those reasons. And in spite of my sturdiness and stubbornness, I acquiesced and made sure to hydrate. (I never did get a headache or really, even winded. Yay me.) The city also has building regulations that keep things looking, well, Santa Fe-ish, so it has a consistent aesthetic, which is cool, because it is a good one. The adobe and the chile ristras were a welcome sight. It is also the time of year where green chiles are being roasted everywhere so the place smelled fantastic, and of course my gastronomical tour continued. (It is probably fair to admit I miss the food from home at least as much as the cleanliness.) While in Santa Fe I would be seeing my grandma, my mom’s sisters and their families – two of my cousins who we determined I had not seen in eight years, and in the words of Lowell, “that is so wrong.” Also friends who are basically family that I’ve just missed terribly. It is weird how much you can miss people even with all of the other crazy stimuli that permeates daily life.


I did a lot of stuff in Santa Fe… eating, drinking, visiting, hugging, laughing, a couple emo moments (yes, mom, you are not the only one on the ’09 Emo Tour), yoga, eating more, shopping, chile coveting and future planning. It was clearly a very busy time.

What I took away from Santa Fe most noticeably was a reinvigorated sense of myself within the context of my family. That sounds cheesy, but I cannot think of a better word. I commenced birthday celebrations for the big 39 there too and in a lot of ways it just really felt like coming full circle. My cousin Claire is now a senior in high school. When I told my girlfriends this they couldn’t believe Baby Claire was almost 18; they all remember her from photos in Trento when she was maybe two… and I was feeding her strawberry gelato sans parental permission. Time does fly. Lowell is driving now and maybe even contemplating a visit to Asia in the not too distant future. We will see. The one thing that is certain is that there cannot be so much time between visits next time. Lowell, is right, it is just Wrong.


And then there was grandma. She looks terrific and had some moments of heartbreaking lucidity. I am so glad I saw her and say again, it is just never enough.


I would do dinner parties every night over and over like we had in Santa Fe, it was just too much fun.

And I feel confident in saying – that time is coming.

My mom, my aunts and I went and saw It Might Get Loud, which was great fun and as I thought back on it, also really an appropriate tag line for our time together in New Mexico. At one point my uncle was saying how it has been hard for him, on occasion, to get a word in edgewise around all of us. As I looked around the table at mom, Nancy, TT, Ellen, myself, Nubia and the kids, I thought, “Yeah… we are a raucous crowd, and it is awesome!”

It definitely WILL get loud.



About Amanda

I am repatriating expatriate trying to work it all out. Well, to work some of it out anyhow. I am writing here for sanity, focus and general over-sharing.
This entry was posted in Family, Friends, Geography, Life, Movies, Travel and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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