Chelle Summer

graduate student

The Big Move

Michelle Rusk

After an extremely hot July here in New Mexico, the mornings have cooled into the lower sixties. It's one sign that fall is around the corner. But in August I also see the days getting shorter as darkness keeps with us later in the morning and just a general feel that it's time for school to start as the shadows change.

But I am always reminded of August in Albuquerque because twenty-two years ago this week I moved here as a twenty-two-year-old college graduate heading off to graduate school at the University of New Mexico.

New Mexico was not a place familiar to me much more than my uncle's brother lived here. I didn't intend to stay so much as I saw it a stop on my journey, hoping to continue to head west to Los Angeles, the place where I'd wanted to live since I was thirteen.

Yet twenty- two years later, with a year and a half hiatus where I moved back to Illinois, here I am.

And here I intend to stay. With time spent in Los Angeles, of course.

I know that it was hard for my parents to leave me here, and a Uhaul filled with my belongings as well as many useful items from my grandmother's house because she had died less than a year before (to this day I have more Pyrex glass dishes than Target). My move was only eighteen months after my younger sister's death and it would have been easier for everyone if I had stayed closer to home. But my parents knew I wasn't going to be the kid who stayed close to home. 

While I did try to move back for a time, I realized that I might be a Midwesterner by blood, but I'm much happier here in the Southwest. It seems to fit me better (the vast amounts of sunshine help). A priest I knew back at Ball State said, after I had come back to New Mexico for the second time, "I don't know why you left. You spent almost your entire adult life there."

I came in New Mexico as a twenty-two year old and it has influenced much of who I have become right down to my cooking. 

I won't leave but I also don't forget the journey here.