When we moved to New Mexico two decades ago as newlyweds we arrived on the *five year plan*. Neither of us had ever stepped foot in the state before, we had no idea what to expect, and MOST people who move here from other places around the country end up trying to survive major culture shock and want to leave as soon as possible.
But not everybody . . . I guess we were young enough that we adapted like natives and the job worked out so well for my husband that our *five year plan* morphed into the *twenty year plan*.
We loved the wild terrain, the gorgeous brilliant blue skies and the friendly people. We've raised our boys on a dirt road near the Rio Grande where they ran around like wild things, built tree houses, rode dirt bikes all over the cottonwood forests and I taught piano and wrote and wrote and wrote inspired by this wild and enchanting - and very different state. My mother thought we were crazy and had moved to the end of the earth.
We quickly embraced the many Native American tribal cultures as well as the Spanish culture and adopted the cultural traditions of Christmas - a far cry from my boring suburban childhood when my parents moved us away from the very interesting center of San Francisco so we could have better weather and a pool - which was GREAT, of course, since we were swimming maniacs and bicycle loving kids and we did have a meadow on the end of the street where we built forts and played hide and seek and kick the can on hot summer evenings and school was within walking distance and all that good stuff, but I'd never lived in such a culturally diverse spot until twenty years ago.
So let me share a few New Mexico highlights of Christmas Eve . . . We eat dinner by candlelight: We create and eat homemade steamed tamales: And 7 Layer Bean Dip with tortilla chips: And Drink Martinelli's Sparkling Cider: Our whole neighborhood spends the day folding paper bags and adding sand and 12 hour candles to create thousands of luminarias: We go walking in the cold night air to see the lights and go caroling with the neighbors: And then we go home and build a roaring fire in the wood stove: And Read the Christmas Story from the Bible: Frantically wrap the last of the presents! And fall into bed exhausted for a long winter's nap . . .
MERRY CHRISTMAS and a HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!