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Culture

First Impressions of a Foreign Kind

By Mark Lopez [ Fri Feb 8 2013 1:48 PM ]
Atrium at Old Town
Atrium at Old Town

Before I moved to Albuquerque a few months ago, I had a talk with my roommate (who had already lived here for a year). She explained to me that Albuquerque was a huge art-based city with such attributes as relaxed people, balloon festivals and green chile. She explained that you had to ask for “no green chile” or else people put it on everything. She also warned me of another thing.

She paused for a second before saying, “Well, the people here are really nice.” My initial response: “Oh no … ” “Yeah,” she said, “That means you have to learn how to be nice back.”

She wasn't lying. Since I've moved here, I've noticed that everyone I've met, or had the pleasure of conversing with, is incredibly nice to the point where it makes me feel inadequate, almost foreign. Not to say I'm this huge egomaniacal, mean-spirited, better-than-everyone person. In fact, just the opposite. Everyone I've met has told me how incredibly nice I am, but when I meet people that are described as “nice” or “sweet,” my guard is immediately up. But that hasn't happened here.

Whether I'm riding the Tram over a plane crash that happened years ago (fearing for my life) or traipsing through Old Town in search of some old-fashioned quality to help me escape the somewhat-midlife modernity of adulthood, everyone I speak to always wants to know two things: Where are you from? And what brought you to Albuquerque? I've never seen a place where people want to know your story, know who you are, and know about your hobbies, goals, artistic endeavors, favorite color, etc.

What was once a fear and apprehension of moving to a city surrounded by the desert quickly turned into relief at the fact that this city not only has so much to offer, but that its people are just happy and content to be here. And that shows in their carefree attitudes. My hometown could use a little of that. This, in itself, is one of my first experiences of living here, and though people have suggested a few items of adventurous inquiry, everything worth doing is done in due time.

Who knows? By next Friday, maybe I will have ridden a donkey in the desert while sipping Tequila, or fired a shotgun at broken bottles at the foothills, or eaten at a traditional, Burque restaurant. I'm always up for more suggestions.

 
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