Well, I have lived here all my life. I remember the first time I left to live somewhere else (New Jersey), I was shocked at how little diversity there was there. I really missed my New Mexico mix! The thing is here that there are not divided neighborhoods. So while San Francisco, for example, might have a LOT more East Indians living there, they tend to congregate in their own neighborhoods. I would say that in Albq. there is no neighborhood that is ALL one ethnicity--there might be a preponderance of one culture or another, but not a saturation. It's nice that way. I agree with other commenters, though--the biggest shock to you will be all the brown. You'll get used to it, though.
Hey Kat! I'm planning on moving to ABQ in a little less than three years. It's quite some time from now, but the husband and I seriously considering ABQ. The weather is right, its active and has the work that we are both interested in: IT and Arts. Toronto is artsy, active -- but the fall and winter is much too cold for us both. In October 2011, we are taking a long trip to ABQ to scope it all out. Meeting with a Realtor, checking out areas we are interested in, eating the food, etc. I have to admit that I am a little apprehensive about picking up and moving -- as i'm sure you are too. When you visit, I look forward to your updates! I lurked through your comments (I have no shame ;) ) and just wanted to let you know that North Valley is my top pick at the moment. It's in my husbands top three pics -- Rio Rancho being his first. As of what I know, Rio Rancho seems too Suburbia to me though. Can't wait to visit!
If you're seriously considering a move, I would recommend subletting your place in WA, spending a few months down in NM (like at least 4 months... for me the sunshine deficit took about 6 months to correct before I wasn't drunk on vitamin d. Yep we were also tired of life in Mordor and needed to warm our bones. Oh yes and sand flies around the air with strong wind on most days during March and April, the stay-inside months). It is something of a hassle to do two cross-country moves within a few years. Frankly I think living in Yakima would be comparable to living in Burque but without so much sprawl, and with water within a few hours' drive.
So now we've been back for about 4 months, have full spectrum bulbs over the kitchen table, and have been doing fine so far. I appreciate the green so much more, and the grey hasn't bothered me yet... I know it's the price you pay for the wonderful fresh air and wildlife. Gotta take advantage of those sunbreaks! (a wild concept really, New Mexicans said Wow!!).
Write back anytime, hope my experience was some help. There are lovely things and people there, indeed it is a great place to visit.
Kat, I see myself as a compassionate person but let me be blunt. In some ways Albuquerque is a challenging place. We all hear the statistics about poverty, crime, teen pregnancy, gangs, drugs, child abuse etc etc... but living within those stats is a bit (how shall I say?) depressing. Also, I had never lived in such a sprawled-out, car centric place (apart from the area immediately around UNM, and old town). We ended up in ABQ proper bc of my job, but in hindsight would probably have been much happier in a more walkable or more nature-friendly community, ie the east mountains or even Santa Fe/Taos area (which yes are plagued with their own issues, what I've learned from all this is NOWHERE IS PERFECT). In my honest opinion, there are some rose-colored glasses floating around on DCF when it comes to how great ABQ is as a place to live (but don't say it out in the open or you may get your a** handed to you). Yes good food, nice weather, a few other amenities, but all in all my assessment is "Great place to visit, wouldn't want to live there".
Hi Kat, Thanks for the friending... I see you live in WA. Guess what we moved from Seattle to ABQ in early 2008, then missed the green and wet (and family, as we just had a baby of our own). Now we are back in beautiful Bellingham. I couldn't do without the cedars and crows!!