Years ago, when I first heard my mom was moving out of my childhood home and out of California, while I was living over in Italy, I was pretty devastated. My hometown had slowly emptied of friends’ parents and other reasons to stop by other than the outlets in the years since I had left (at age 17), and I knew without my parents living there, I would rarely make the trip down to drive by my old high school or the school where I learned how to write the alphabet. Am I the only one who gets melancholy when they drive by their old schools, doubly so when school is out and they are abandoned?
Luckily I got a chance to say goodbye to my childhood home when I came back a few months before the final move to help pack up some of my things before they actually sold it. I know I’ll always consider California home. Or one of my homes. It will always feel like coming home when I touch down there. And though my old hometown is evolving so quickly I can no longer date a new stoplight or neighborhood, there are some memories that can never be erased from its landscape.
But I now know that my home also follows my parents, wherever they live. Touching down in El Paso to visit my mother feels like coming home, and the short drive over the state border to New Mexico reminds me of the short drive from San Jose to Gilroy (the nearest airport to my hometown). All in all, not many things have changed.
I love the dryness and desert part of New Mexico. I love the wide-open spaces that I saw on several cross-country trips from Texas to California (back in the 90s, yo!), and the miles of horizon and the sun rising on those red clay cliffs can be breathtaking. I love visiting some of the Indian reservations like the pueblos in Taos and Acoma / Sky City (pictures to come), and the White Sands national monument has its charm as well. If you’re a fan of the TV show Breaking Bad, you’re getting some great New Mexico scenery sprinkled in with the, erm, very-involved unsavory plot line.
But that’s not all New Mexico is. Of course there are the people. One of my favorite ways to get a sense of the locals and their food is to head to a farmers market (I always stop at the Ferry Marketplace farmers market in SF, if only for the chilaquiles).
The colors, sights, and smells in this New Mexico farmers market did not disappoint. Now as the sky is turning a depressing gray here in Milan, I’ll be revisiting these colors and memories often to keep my head sunny even if it’s not outside.
As I was pulling together these pictures, it struck me how much in common all my “homes” (California, Italy, New Mexico) have with each other – vivid colors, open-air food markets, and lots of character. I realized that the common denominator is really me and it’s I who emphasize these commonalities among them.
How about your home(s)?