I didn't realize there were mountains around Albuquerque until I left. They were hidden in the precipitation. I did, however, manage to find an outstanding bead shop, a gorgeous leather furniture store (the kind of southwest furniture I drool over). I went through the downtown. I was looking for an adobe casita with detached studio listed on Craigslist. Didn't find it, but I enjoyed the vibe of Albuquerque. I could live there for a year or two on a consulting gig if something popped up out there.
Best co-pilot ever!!! She made it safely from Hong Kong and was a great little companion.
I rented a mini-van to see what it was like. I have to say...I loved having a mini-van. Funny story though...did you realize that 98% of the mini-vans on the road are white? (Okay, maybe that's a little bit of hyperbole) but I got into THREE (not just one) DIFFERENT white mini-vans at different times. One was a Honda and a guy was on the telephone in front of it and I heard him say, "Hey, that's my car!" Oops. The second one...well, there were actual people in it, so I narrowly escaped that embarrassment. And the third one...well, I opened the door, but realize it was nothing like mine and quickly closed it and ran over to mine. I guess that's what happens when I don't drive for two years and learn to recognize the subtleties of your "own car." But, I still love the mini-van. I probably won't turn soccer mom (for an old Maltese) just yet, but I'm not getting a white mini-van.
How can you not be inspired by high desert mountains? Mmmm, mmmm, mmmm..... Mountains. Love them. Miss them. I'm living in "low country" now. I think where I live in South Carolina is 70 feet above sea level. But, there are beautiful things here. Some serious history on the east coast. I'm conflicted with my inspiration at the moment. I'll have more to say on that subject later, but some of it is getting resolved with getting supplies for things I need to do. Once that Creative Monster is unleashed...well, it's like a Pandora's box. You can't put it back. Besides the jetlag and getting and upper respiratory infection, I was feeling seriously off-kilter and out of whack the last few weeks. I think not working leaves me a little adrift, too. I'm trying to get a schedule going, but I keep getting smacked down by the jetlag (it took two weeks) and now the upper respiratory infection. I need to be patient with myself because I was sick for two years with migraines.
The good news, I haven't had major headaches since I've been back. I must have some extreme sensitivity to the pollution. It's disappointing to me, as I think my two years in Hong Kong will be the extent of my ex-patriate experience. But, I got to have the experience. I'm grateful. I miss my friends dearly and other aspects of Hong Kong. I'll definitely go back for a visit when I have friends that are ready for their big China adventure.