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View Poll Results: If Santa Fe is my ideal, but it's not a realistic option right now, what is my best real option?
Albuquerque 20 45.45%
Denver 4 9.09%
Other (please write in) 5 11.36%
Just move to Santa Fe, stupid. 15 34.09%
Voters: 44. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 08-03-2008, 02:25 AM
Location: Denver, CO
5,607 posts, read 20,198,624 times
Reputation: 5311


Ok, now who do I make the check payable to? This is like sitting on a virtual couch with a professional relocation therapist. It does seem like it's been a few years, but I've only been posting on city-data for a year and a half.

I'm going to respond to the part of your post relating to the specifics about Santa Fe and Albuquerque when I have more time, pehaps later this week. For now, I want to focus on the more personal issues.

Originally Posted by EnjoyEP View Post
In relation to your original question, if that is 100% deep-down where you are coming from and where you want to be, then I would pick Albuquerque.

Having said that...I have read many of your posts now for a few years...I still think I think Denver is the way your heart is leaning, and at the end of the day, I think you've gotta go the way you're strongly leaning. It just seems to me that you have too many questions, too many doubts, too many unknowns to really be happy in ABQ. I think if you ended up in ABQ - again, this is my gut feel from reading your many posts now for a few years and obviously I don't *know* this to be true - I think you'd be thinking of the brighter lights and quicker pace of Denver and kind of feel like you'd missed out by choosing "little" ABQ.


ABQ / SF / NM may be longshots for you vegas. But if there are still legit openings for you to consider one, ABQ in my mind is clearly the way to go.
I have had people tell me before that I ask a lot of questions. Interestingly, I've never had to think so hard before about a relocation decision. When I was applying to colleges four and a half years ago, trying to decide whether or not to go to a private school in Boston or CU Boulder, pretty much having decided on CU-- the instant my mom told me I got a letter in the mail with a scholarship offer from ASU-- a school I never applied to, never visited before (although I had been to the Phoenix area many times, never Tempe) and never would have remotely considered going to otherwise-- I knew that's where I was going-- right then and there at that moment. That was the easiest relocation decision I ever made. Deciding about 5 months ago which school to attend for accounting (the final two choices came down to CU Denver or USC) was not easy, but after a quick trip back home to see what the prospects at UCD would be like, I was able to decide the next day. Part of what made that decision relatively easy was the fact that I was only locked into it for one year-- and I'm already almost two months into that year.

But this is a whole different ballgame; not some one-year temporary gig. I think even if I were to move again, I need to commit at least 5 years to my first employer. At least that's what the career people say here. But regardless, I am sick and tired of moving. This is one point that I feel (with no disrespect intended) you haven't really picked up on-- mainly because I haven't really communicated this point. I want to become part of a community, start building connections and roots. In my ever so emerging and changing young self, this is one value that I am becoming more and more certain about, and it's a value that puts me at odds with ethos of most people of my same generation (and the baby boomers) that are in my shoes. Some people absolutely dread the notion of staying in one place for a long time. In fact, I had a friend at ASU who had lived in four different countries and was already getting tired of the USA (not his original country) and needed a change.

As I discovered with living in Phoenix, I think it takes at least three years of living in a city to really know if you even like it; oftentimes the first year you can be infatuated with the new city, since it's so new and different; everything is new and interesting and fun. Then the second year disillusionment and second guessing starts creeping in. After a third year, you develop a balanced sense of perspective. I thought after my third year down there that I really had Phoenix "figured out." Well, just in my last month at ASU I found out that wasn't so; there were aspects of Phoenix I had no clue about that I only heard about almost as I was leaving. For example, did you know that Phoenix has an authentic but low profile African American jazz and blues scene in South Phoenix? I didn't know that either the four years I lived there, until I heard some acquaintances talk about a fun night they just had, wondering where the heck they had been. You won't find that in any Frommer's guide. And I'm sure Albuquerque is loaded with treasures and secret places and "didn't know it had xyz"'s too.

I'm sick and tired of having to start over from ground zero and learn a new city from scratch. That's how I see it-- you have to learn a city. Right now I feel I have enough energy and patience to start over one more time... at least for a LONG while-- I'm talking at least a decade, and possibly decades. I'm tired of living like a vagabond; I don't think you are truly living somewhere to its full potential until you've been settled down for at least a few years. Trying to experience a city as a newbie is like trying to listen to a Mozart symphony on a 1980s PC internal beep speaker. The longer you've been living somewhere and the more you make an effort to explore, experience, and learn, the more sound you start hearing. The more you realize how complex and interesting a city is. After a few years you can start to sing along the tune and even recognize many individual instruments. But even then it sounds a little fuzzy. Only after decades of living somewhere does it sound like you're at a concert with a full blown symphony performed by a master conductor. Or another way to think of it-- your first few years is really just a business trip/vacation with your furniture. You don't really "live" there until you're on your third or fourth year and have no plans to leave.

Like I said, I think I have one more brand new big city relocation left in me (for at least a long time into the forseable future-- unless I'm in a situation where I have no choice-- like I lost a job and the economy of the city I was living in was so poor I'd be living on the street begging for food). I want my next relocation, wherever it is, to last for a long time. That's why I'm asking some pretty deep, heavy duty questions here (those three "additional fears" I addressed in my post yesterday). I'm trying to visualize what living in a place will be like, not just now, but five years from now. If there are hidden surprises, I hope they are pleasant surprises-- not things that I should have known about if I just would have done better research.

And for that one potential brand new big city relocation that I do have left in me-- it has got to be a much smaller city than Denver or Phoenix. Denver and Phoenix are two cities that I already know very, very well. At least as well as a 22 year old can "know" a city. I'm sure there are many other great big cities out there, Denver or Phoenix's size, or bigger, that may very well be better than Denver or Phoenix. I've heard some good things about Seattle, Minneapolis, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Chicago... to name some examples. But when it comes to big cities, I think I've already been there, done that, and don't care to keep reinventing the wheel over and over again. I'm not interested in living there at this time, but Kansas City is about as big of a city that I would even want to live in if I were to live in a big city that's not Denver or Phoenix. A city the size of Albuquerque or Omaha would be much better, in fact, almost an ideal size if I'm going to start getting involved with big cities other than Denver or Phoenix.

A move to a city the size of Albuquerque would still take several years to learn the place, just like moving anywhere else, but because there's only 800,000 or so people there, there's simply less "stuff," by definition, to keep track of. It would be a lot easier on my brain. The way I see it, if I ever need a world city to go to, my world city is LA. If you put a gun to my head and asked me to live in a metro area of 15,000,000 people or more anywhere around the world, or said LA, NYC, or death, I'd pick LA. And when it comes to big cities of multiple millions of people, but not world megacities, the only big, multi-million people city I need is Denver. If I were to live in Albuquerque, Albuquerque could fill a perfect place in my mental geographical hierarchy; Albuquerque could be my adopted small/big city of ~1 million people. ABQ doesn't compete with Denver. It competes with Tucson and El Paso. Whatever Albuquerque does won't threaten me. The fact that Albuquerque has no major league sports but that there happen to be many Broncos fans in the town is in fact very comforting to me. If you lived in Albuquerque and needed a multi-million-people-big-city fix, the two closest big cities of multiple millions of people ARE Denver and Phoenix-- the two cities I already have connections in. See my drift? ABQ would fit perfectly into the geographical puzzle. I guess Dallas, Austin and Oklahoma City might also count, but for some reason I view Albuquerque as more closely allied with Colorado and Arizona (even though don't get me wrong, the only state that really matters for Albuquerque is New Mexico) than with Texas.

I'm not the type who can just be thrown somewhere and ignore my surroundings and stay indoors all day long. Right now, I do a LOT of studying, no doubt, but whenever I have a bit of free time I make every effort to get the heck out of this crummy neighborhood and explore the city. This afternoon I went to Glendale and Burbank, for example. This might sound weird, but I feel like there's TOO MUCH to explore in LA. I actually want a place where you have to learn to live with certain limitations, but on the flip side know how to be creative within those limitations and make full use of what you've got. I'm the type of person who doesn't like wasting anything-- to the point where it gets neurotic. About once a year I buy a six pack of 24 oz water bottles. I just wash them out and refill these bottles with the sink water every time I finish one-- and I always finish the whole bottle before refilling it. I don't like wasting food; if I go out to eat and can't finish it, assuming the meal wasn't gross I'll take a box to go (notable exception though-- New Mexican food with all that excess rice and beans is NOT something I want to repeat again the next day. ).

Weird analogy, but when it comes to cities, I don't like feeling like I'm wasting my time not taking advantage of everything the city uniquely has to offer. With LA though, I feel like I'm not getting my money's worth of the $1200 a month in rent I pay to live here (...runs to the garbage can and barfs...) unless if I'm constantly exploring and doing stuff-- which is impossible because my #1 goal here is to study so I can get a job and begin my career. I feel like in LA, because there's so much I COULD be doing, it's somehow not okay to just rest and take a leisurely stroll somewhere. The opportunity costs are too high. Whereas, if I was living in a city like Albuquerque, a much smaller and less expensive place-- I might feel more relaxed-- that I could just take it easy without having to keep myself entertained and educated and blown away by city "stuff" 24/7 (not that ABQ doesn't have a heck of a lot to do, as I'm sure there is)-- and not feel the least bit guilty about it. And because of the concept of accessibility-- much of the city "stuff" that there is to do out there (I think you're favorite example is going to a baseball game-- even though baseball isn't my sport) in Albuquerque is a whole lot less of a pain in the *** than in LA (or Denver-- although for a big city that has it all Denver is still pretty accessible for most things if you ask me-- especially with the new light rail system in place. But living in Albuquerque is even easier I'm sure).

So with all that said, that doesn't necessarily mean that I'm going to choose Albuquerque, but YES-- Albuquerque is without a doubt, the more I think of it, a serious option-- whether or not I ultimately choose or reject that option.

Last thing for now-- how much "big city lights" action do I even do? I've never been to a dance club in my life (ok... technically I've been once but I wouldn't really count that). The only bars I can even stand walking into are Brewery/Restaurant places (like Four Peaks in Tempe, for example). I HATE shopping malls. I buy all my clothes at Kohls (Albuquerque has 2 Kolhs and even Santa Fe has one, I checked). I don't even attend sporting events unless I'm with a club or group that's going on a group outing at a discount price (mainly because it's such a hassle going to sporting events). I absolutely hate flying airplanes, and the only place I even regularly fly is going back home to Denver). I hate trends-- I laugh at these "Pinkberry" and frozen yogurt places all over LA. Actually, when you think about it, I'm probably a painfully boring person. I guess that's why I decided to become an accountant. The only major thing I can think of that I enjoy that is usually enhanced with the larger city you are in is ethnic food. In addition to Mexican and New Mexican food, I like Japanese food, Persian/ middle eastern food, Indian food, and Korean food. But I wouldn't not move to a city just because of the food. And with Albuquerque, so what if there's not as many Asian selections (even though I'm sure there are still many to choose from)-- you go to Albuquerque for (New) Mexican food-- and it's sitting on a goldmine of green chile. So when we look at all the things "BIG big" cities offer that "Little BIG" cities don't-- I can't really name a whole lot that I'd be missing out on anyway.

Let me know what you think, EnjoyEP, knowing this piece of information. But please, DON'T write a whole essay in response; otherwise we'll be stuck in a never ending loop of each trying to outdo the other.
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Old 08-04-2008, 03:40 PM
Location: Placitas, New Mexico
1,111 posts, read 1,913,005 times
Reputation: 967

I'm not going to try to persuade you to choose ABQ, but at least I can address some questions of yours with my own perceptions of place.

Obviously it will be your decision to make, and it sounds like you've ventured out of Denver and found LA and Phoenix wanting. Maybe returning to a city you like and feel comfortable in will work best for you.

Anyway with regard to two of your concerns.

1. Crime. I lived in NY through the 70s and 80s and I know what a climate of fear is. I loved the city but always felt it was dangerous. And it was. Almost everyone I knew was mugged at some point, and you had to be most careful about where you went, what neighborhoods, what streets, what time of day, what subway stations, etc. to avoid.

Now Albuquerque does not feel that way to me. I don't know anyone who has had a house break in or who has been mugged and in most of the places I go to throughout the day and evening I have never felt threatened.

That said, there are gangs, auto thefts, break ins, etc. etc. and ABQ crime has been rising since last year (after several years of falling). It's been a concern of mine that I've voiced and think hasn't been addressed here adequately.

2. Religion. Power of the C. Church, tolerance, secularism. eTc. This is a very tolerant place, it's a stew of cultures and traditions, and I don't feel the Catholic Church or the Left or the Religious right have held sway here. I often complained about the sway of the C. Church in NY and Boston--- more particularly in the past with its very conservative and, I felt, repressive cardinals. And the growing power of ultra Jewish orthodoxy in Brooklyn has also brought conservative pressures upon the rights of gays.

ABQ, although traditionally Catholic, has a variety of religions and cultures which live in harmony. Straight and gay live side by side. Religious people and atheists coexist without friction. Hispanics and Anglos. Again living in NYC, I felt far far more racial tension and every fight I ever saw on the streets and subways was always black-white.

The tolerance I feel here is one of the very best things I like about ABQ.

As for ABQ being unique, I'm not sure. Unique North American cities to me are fairly few. Santa Fe, Key West, Quebec City, New Orleans, maybe. A couple of others.

ABQ is full of flavor and interest that's for sure and it's appealing because of that. But it's also a jumble of competing styles and architecture, that don't always harmonize. It's a city that didn't take itself seriously in the past, but is starting to come into its own now. It's a city worth exploring and considering, so you just have to come and spend more time here.

Believe me if you do (and I know you've been here several times) than I think your decision will be easier.

Last edited by ABQSunseeker; 08-04-2008 at 04:00 PM..
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Old 08-04-2008, 08:32 PM
Location: Denver, CO
5,607 posts, read 20,198,624 times
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Thank you for another great piece of advice, ABQSunseeker. I can sense you have a very balanced perspective about Albuquerque, knowing both the positives and negatives-- and coming from the big apple, you've seen all when it comes to the advantages and pitfalls of cities. I actually have another trip to Albuquerque planned later this month-- and this time Albuquerque is my actual destination, not just passing through on the way to somewhere else. I might be able to spend three whole days there-- which isn't a lot, but it's a lot better than the day and a half, in and out trips I've done in the past. I already am pretty familiar with the general layout of the city, so I can focus on more of the details this time. I'm going to really scope the place out. I'm also going to start doing some more intense research on the Albuquerque economy and some of the growing sectors there. It seems like Albuquerque has a growing aerospace, solar, and high tech sector-- three industries that are very interesting to me. Since I posted these long diatribes last weekend I've been doing a lot of soul searching, and now I think I owe it myself to at least seriously considering the possibility of Albuquerque. I think with EnjoyEP's help, I've answered my own question here-- Albuquerque has got to be the closest thing there is culturally to Santa Fe. I think it's clear that as of this point in time, Albuquerque would be a safer bet for me than Santa Fe. Fortunately, it's only an hour away so I could visit Santa Fe every weekend if I wanted to.
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Old 08-04-2008, 08:39 PM
Location: Placitas, New Mexico
1,111 posts, read 1,913,005 times
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Vegaspilgrim, good luck with your continued exploration. Albuquerque is becoming a very interesting city these days. You may want to add moviemaking to the growing list of economic activities here. And yes, for me, one of the best things about living here is that Santa Fe is a hop, skip, and jump away. Best of both worlds.
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Old 08-04-2008, 10:14 PM
Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico
3,012 posts, read 8,770,714 times
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Best of luck to you in your decision, vegaspilgrim.
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Old 08-05-2008, 09:28 AM
Location: Albuquerque, NM
707 posts, read 2,650,085 times
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Scottsdale & New York for the Art Scene
Durango & Denver for the weather and abundance of outdoor activities
Boulder for the people
San Francisco, New Orleans, & New York for comparable food (meaning options, not the actual cuisine)
Aspen, Denver, & San Francisco for performing arts and museums.

While you can compare many things of Santa Fe to some great metropolitan areas, Towanda is right, it is very much unique. Sedona has tried to recreate it, but has a far more corporate chainy feel to it. Albuquerque has pockets throughout the city that resememble or feel like Santa Fe. It also shares a lot of the Native American and Spanish Culture. On top of that we have some great things Santa Fe doesn't, The Aquarium and Botanical Gardens, the Zoo, the Bosque Trails, the Tram, and a more affordable cost of living. The great thing about ABQ too is the proximity to Santa Fe. My wife and I head up there once or twice a month to shop in the plaza and enjoy some of the countries best fine dining (although service here in NM is not the best). With the Rail Runner starting service to Santa Fe later this year, the two cities will become more connected than ever.
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Old 08-05-2008, 11:27 AM
Location: Yootó
1,307 posts, read 3,193,427 times
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I'm not so sure the Railrunner is going to be that big a hit. I can see some people using it from Rio Rancho to get to work in Fanta Se, but when you look at their proposed schedule, it will take 1 hour, 20 minutes to get to Albuquerque from Santa Fe. I can drive there in my car nonstop in 45-50 minutes, so I for one will not be getting on some train that takes more time, and then have to worry about how I get to my ultimate destination. Time will tell about the Railrunner, but my money is on failed boondoggle right now.
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Old 08-05-2008, 12:25 PM
Location: Albuquerque, NM
707 posts, read 2,650,085 times
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For me, I would rather endure another 30 minutes in drive time to ride the stress free train rather than navigate I-25. As long as the scheduling works, I see myself using the train more than my car. Besides that will give us a chance to read and relax on the way up.
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Old 08-06-2008, 02:10 AM
2 posts, read 3,658 times
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Default and what of love?

this has been a fascinating and enlightening exchange. the original poster is clearly very thoughtful and deliberate (good traits for an accountant). but he's a young man, presumably single, and one thing not discussed is love. as you get older you find two things matter--the work you do because it gives your life meaning (or not) and the people you love. in thinking through his options, he should be sure to spend time in each city and get a sense for the kinds of potential life-partners he will be meeting. if you get that decision right, the quality of life in any city will be infinitely greater than if you get it wrong. so that's an important part of the fit.

for me, i've visted both santa fe and abq several times. i much prefer santa fe, at least in part because its a town where i always feel there is a lot of opportunity partnering-wise. there are lots of funky, interesting people doing interesting things who are not so focused on capital accumulation to have a life. you can sit in a coffee shop and strike up a conversation with all kinds of different people from all kinds of walks of life and they all have interesting stories to tell. i happen to live in manhattan and santa fe is the only small city i've found where you see the same kind of diversity of interests (much smaller scale of course). personally, i didn't find that in ABQ and coming from nyc, ABQ felt like it was not big enough to be interesting in way nyc is (after 15 years in nyc, nob hill is just not going to do it), yet not small enough to let its quirks fully hang out (by quirks i don't mean piercing places by university; quirks in the sense of openness to life and experience and appreciation--that indescribable quality the earlier poster mentioned). ABQ felt sort of in between. in santa fe, on the other hand, quirky seemed to be all over the place, just under the surface and constantly surprising you. i once spent a memorable evening listening to a bouncer outside a bar with great blues tell me fantastic stories about his work as a bail bondsman; the next morning the man next to me in the coffee shop was a very famous artist who was explaining how he sends his commissions to 3 continents in a very matter of fact way. they were both quirky as can be in totally different ways but they had santa fe in common. and as an architecture buff who loves spanish-influenced architecture, santa fe was terrific. abq had some pretty areas, but did not seem to have the same kind of consistency. are there pretty traditional neighborhoods in abq like you find all over in santa fe? is the quirkiness that obvious? from other poster, it seems like i am missing out on some of the quirkiness when i visit abq--where am i more likely to see that (outside of what i'd call kiddie-quirky college hangouts)? its easy to be quirky when you're 20, but now when you are in your mid-to-late 30s like me, quirky takes some conscious effort. :-)

anyway, again, i'm just trying to say you should be at least thinking when you visit these places about where you are going to find your potential partner, cause if you get that part right, and the work part right, you'll be happy anywhere. santa fe always felt like a more promising place in that regard, for me.

good luck!

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Old 08-06-2008, 03:38 AM
Location: Denver, CO
5,607 posts, read 20,198,624 times
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Hopeful, thank you for signing in and posting your first post to respond to my question here. I like to hear all different points of view. That being said, I think you may be projecting some of your own thoughts/feelings onto what I said. What is it exactly that draws me to Santa Fe? I never spelled that out, and truth is, I'm not really sure if I can really explain it. I'm not really sure if it's Santa Fe per se that I'm obsessed with or if it's the idea, the style of Santa Fe. Or if it's just that I love pinion pines and adobe and the flavor of green chile. It might not be an inch deeper than that. How much of the New Mexico/Santa Fe I've experienced that is even the least bit authentic or just a faux tourist re-creation is also questionable. But I wouldn't say I'm all that interested in "quirkiness" and "funkiness" as you describe it. There's about 1001 more funky career paths I could have chosen than the one I'm in. I actually majored in English literature in college, and after four years of that I got burned out of postmodern ideology. I think some people try so damn hard to be off-beat that they all start blending together in my mind as all the same. Best example of this I've ever seen with the most amount of oddballs concentrated in one spot is Venice Beach, here in L.A. Here's an excerpt of something I wrote a few weeks ago on another forum:

Venice Beach: I went there last weekend for an hour to walk around. It's an interesting place, and its "culture" is great if you're into celebrating bums, pot smoking, and rastafarians. It's more of a human amusement park than anything I'd associate with the word "culture." I also found it amusing how the city has managed to regulate supposedly free spirited and spontaneous activity, with little numbered booths requiring registration where each of the street performers and what-have-you's set up shop, with designated sections where music is and isn't allowed. That's not real culture, it's a facade. It's a fun amusement, but after about one hour I was already bored (and probably slightly stoned, with all the pot smoke in the air).

--Just to give you an idea where I'm coming from. I'm not sure about your particular methods of love and finding your life partner but as long as you are happy, that's all that matters. I have no clue where my dream woman is out there-- but one thing I do know-- people sometimes meet their future spouses in the least likely of locations. Without going into details... I actually wouldn't be here on this planet if it wasn't for Las Vegas. That's right-- Las Vegas, of all places. I feel a special geographical connections to many different kinds of places-- from Las Vegas to Santa Fe; from Denver to Phoenix to San Diego; from Arches National Park to La Jolla shores to the Pawnee Buttes (on the northeastern plains of Colorado). All I know is I love the whole southwestern quadrant of the country.
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