A year ago this past February, I was living in Albuquerque, happily puttering along when the unthinkable happened:  I lost my job.  As a middle-aged woman on her own, I initially panicked--an ordeal of 3 days where bourbon drinking and under-the-covers hiding were the main activities--and then I began to apply for jobs.  I applied for one in Eugene, Oregon, one in Cincinatti, and the third in Charlottesville, Virginia.  I had decided that Charlottesville was the place I was most likely to be happy because it was a small university town, and after my interview last April, I became enchanted with the place.  The azaleas and rhododendrons were in full bloom, the temperature was mild and the humidity low (as it is most of the year, surprisingly), the University of Virginia and its medical center absolutely rocked, and I was in awe of the architecture, along with a different component of American history than represented by New Mexico.  There are reminders everywhere that these hallowed grounds are where brother fought brother in the gruesome and torturous Civil War. 

 

Lucky for me, I was offered a job in each place I applied, but UVa was where I wanted to be and now I'm a resident of C'ville, as it's nicknamed by the locals.  I love it here, but at times when things don't seem to be going right, or when I feel all alone, my heart aches for New Mexico.  For the first 4 months (I've only been here 7 months), I cried every day while driving home from work.  I cried when I closed on my house last month; the house that I had imagined living out my days in.  I will always miss it.

 

And for a little Albuquerque deja vu: It snowed last night in C'ville.  It reminded me of the first spring I spent in my house in Albuquerque when it snowed in April, covering the blooming purple pansies that had survived the winter.  Now I'm in this house, it's my first spring and a late season snowstorm has come my way again, also blanketing the blooming purple pansies that survived from last September.

 

I have two acres of wooded yard; mostly tulip trees and pines.  I have birds galore.  It rains here.  It's beautiful and my house is almost on top of an old east coast mountain. Further up than my house are other homes and an intriguing plant nursery that looks as mysterious as some of the plants planted around it. Much to be happy about, for sure, but then I'll get a snippet of a memory where I'm driving down Golf Course Rd. on a warm Albuquerque summer's eve, the car windows down and the breeze blowing across my face.  In the distance, the beautiful Sandias, set against the bluest skies in the whole wide world, radiate their pinkness.  Another heartache. 

 

I don't know if I'll ever live in Albuquerque again because as I've learned, your life can change in a minute.  New Mexico will always be home, though, and I'll be able to keep up with everything about Albuquerque thanks to DCF. 

 

Here are some pics of C'ville:

 

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Comment by Barelas Babe on March 27, 2011 at 7:02pm

Lovely photos and a bittersweet post. You've been missed.

Do you ever get reminded of Albuquerque's curving adobe walls along Tingley Beach when you see the UVA serpentine brick walls? I've often wondered if they were inspired by Jefferson's design. 

Comment by La Fanciulla del West on March 27, 2011 at 7:39pm

A good observation, for sure.  Are you still doing the commute between DC and Albuquerque?  I have such an appreciation of this area, now that I live here.  I guess the hardest thing that I have yet to get used to is how close places are to one another.  If a salesperson visits me, I tend to think they've had to fly in from Dallas, since that's what they would have to do when I was in Alb., when all they've had to do is drive an hour from Richmond. 

Comment by cc on March 27, 2011 at 8:30pm
Nice post - thanks for letting us know.
Comment by Adelita on March 27, 2011 at 10:38pm
Never been to Charlottesville, but  have been to Richmond VA. I remember the Art Museum in Richmond was outstanding and they didn't charge admission. Plus there are cool shops in Cary Town, which reminded me of Nob Hill in ABQ.
Comment by bonnie on March 28, 2011 at 7:53am
As a VA transplant, this post made me homesick.  I used to love to ride to the Blue Ridge Parkway when I lived there.  Enjoy your time there and don't be afraid to explore the area.  There are some pretty cool places there (ahem, Asheville and Boone to the south, and Williamsburg to the east are awesome).  Thanks for a great post!
Comment by Bosque Bill on March 28, 2011 at 9:17am
Best of luck to you in your new position. Remember, you can always come back for a visit.
Comment by Ron Da Bomb on March 28, 2011 at 9:28am
Good to hear from you! Like BB says, you are missed around here. Someday I would like to take a month off and visit that part of the world. Thanks for posting!
Comment by David Cameron on March 28, 2011 at 8:27pm
I moved to Albuquerque last August from rural Nelson County, VA, 30 mi. SW of C'ville.  When we went to C'ville (2-3x/week) we said we were going "to town."  We had 10 great years in the area - a lot of beautiful places.  The Spring is beautiful, Summer is hot and can be humid but it cools down at night, Fall is gorgeous.  Past two winters have been tough, but typically not so bad.  There are many places to explore.  Be sure to go to Nelson County for the vineyard tour and to hike Crabtree Falls.  Go to Stone Soup Cafe in Waynesboro (a great little bookstore/cafe with award winning food.)  Lots of historic sites to discover.  I'm loving Albuquerque, but your photos bring good memories.  Look up nelsoncountylife.com for fun stories about Nelson County.  That area of VA is a fun mix of artists, old hippies, traditionalists, and off-the-grid types not to mention just decent local people who love the land.  There's an active buy-local community if that's your thing.  Enjoy!
Comment by David Cameron on March 28, 2011 at 8:37pm

Oh, I forgot the apples!  Beginning in late August the Gala apples start coming in and then you wouldn't believe the volume and the varieties.  In October go South down Hwy 29 into Nelson County, and about a mile past the turn off to Hwy. 6 West you'll see the Apple Shed.  Stop in and say hello for me to Russ Simpson, the nicest guy around.  He'll fix you up with Fuji apples you won't believe.

Comment by David Cameron on March 28, 2011 at 8:38pm
One more thing.  You'll get sick of Thomas Jefferson.

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