From New Mexico…

I don’t usually pass on Internet forwards but this one from Gail Goodman is irresistible for any New Mexican. All true too…

You know you’re from New Mexico if. . . .

You’ve had a school day canceled because there was 2 inches of snow on the ground.

You know what an “arroyo” is.

Your high school’s name was a Spanish name (i.e. La Cueva, Eldorado, Sandia, Manzano….).

You believe that bags of sand with a candle in them are perfectly acceptable Christmas decorations.

The name of most restaurants you go to begin with “El”, “La”, or “Los”.

You price-shop for tortillas.

You have an extra freezer just for your red & green chile.

You think six tons of crushed rock makes a beautiful front lawn.

Your swamp cooler got knocked off your roof by a dust devil.

All your out-of-state friends and relatives visit in October.

You know Las Vegas is a town in the northeastern part of New Mexico.

Your ‘other vehicle’ is also a pick-up truck.

You know the response to the question “red or green?”

You also know what, ?Throw an egg on it? means.

You’re relieved when the pavement ends because the dirt roads have fewer pot-holes.

You can correctly pronounce Tesuque, Cerrillos, and Pojoaque.

You have been told by at least one out-of-state vendor or business, they are going to charge you extra for “international shipping”.

You can order your “Big Mac” with green chile.

You see nothing odd when, in the conversations of the people in line around you at the grocery store, every third word of each sentence alternates between Spanish and English.

You associate bridges with mud or an arroyo, not the passage of water.

If you travel anywhere, even if just to drive to the gas station, you must bring along a bottle of water, some moisturizer, and sunscreen.

A package of white flour tortillas is the exact same thing as a loaf of bread. You don’t need to write it on your shopping list….it’s a given.

At ANY gathering, regardless of size, green chile stew, tortillas, and huge mounds of shredded cheese are mandatory.

You also know where Hatch is….AND its significance to the culinary world.

You can spell Albuquerque.

21 thoughts on “From New Mexico…”

  1. I especially like the bit about the dirt roads! The first item, though true enough, may lead the uninformed to think that schools close because snow is a rare event. In fact snow is rather common, but laziness and extreme incompetence in public employees is abundant indeed.

  2. I love it. There are also things like you know of statutes who wear differnt clothes every day, know that Good Friday is a good day to walk from Santa Fe to Chimayo (and restock on some healing dirt), can recite your geneology back to the Conquistadors (and think that anyone who has shown up in the last 200 years is a newcomer), and you can't walk through the plaza without running into at least 15 people you know, most of whom are cousins in some form.

  3. Yeah, my family is northern New Mexican to the core complete with coats of arms on the plaza and my a long line of fiesta queens. According to family lore my grandfather was born in the oldest house actually. Most of my family is stil in Santa Fe and surrounding areas (including Tesuque 🙂 ), I get back as often as I can and for every major holiday and feast day.

    The real question is what do you call those bags of sand with candles, its a north vs. south debate. Up north we call them farolitos whereas the luminarias are bonfires you build at the end of the block to keep warm during Las Posadas. For some reason the southern New Mexicans changed it up. Gotten into many an arguement over that with my southern New Mexican friends.

  4. Actually there is a bit of an internal debate down here. I think families of northern descent still go for "farolitos"; southerners and Anglos say "luminarias". As an "Anglo" of Italian Catholic descent who puts them out (not modern plastic ones either), with Santa Fe connections I am conflicted, but as a purist lean to "farolitos". Else what do you call the bonfires?

    Phil? Peculiar? Stingray? All of you were born here, unlike me!

  5. This opinion is worth exactly what you paid for it, and keep in mind it's tilted by the fact that it's from Los Alamos, as opposed to Espanola, Santa Fe, or any of the O.G. towns, as it were.

    That said, my own family is split. My dad's side went with luminarias while mom's preferred farolitos. We don't do the bonfires up here, so personally I flip back and forth, though sometimes I'll simply call them the least offensive decorations of the season. At least the real ones. The plastic ones suck and are just as fugly as the mechanical Frosty the Snowman. And they're not supposed to be out for months and months, dammit.

    Right, back on subject. Overall, I tend to hear farolitos slightly more in conversation, but I hear luminaria when the county/city is turning off streetlights for "luminaria tours" and the like.

  6. As a Palace Ave.-born though coat-of-armsless native of Santa Fe, I come down firmly on the "farolito" side of the issue. Definitely a north-south distinction,but, hey, the northern settlements are so much older.

    I moved to Montana several years ago, and suffered serious culture shock early on. Orale, nothing but white people here! Especially in the Bitterroot Valley, where I first landed.

    Thanks for the great blog, Steve, and the books too! I'm a big fan of Querencia.

    John Bateman

  7. This one should read:

    "You've had a school day canceled because there was 2 inches of snow on the ground, and then canceled again two days later when it melted and the roads turned to gumbo."


  8. Also, no self-respecting New Mexican would seek out a bigmac when he could get a Lotaburger, double meat, with green chile (I like mine with jalapenos, too, for extra heat). I'm not saying, I'm just saying. . .JB

  9. Anon raises a damn good point. The following is a (near-ish) verbatim exchange from the Nerd Ranch from a week or two ago.

    "I've got a case of the lazies and don't feel like cooking dinner."
    "That's ok, I've had a hankering for a burger anyway."
    "Local grill?"
    "Meh. McDs?"
    "Sorry, dunno what I was thinking."
    "Is there enough gas in the car to get to Espanola and back, or should we stop on the way?"

  10. Yeah I agree, JB is correct. Blakes rocks my world. Actually its not unheard of for us to order out our christmas eve dinner from there. Fast, good, and cheap, what's not to love?

  11. One more for the list – you know you're in NM (northern, anyway) if it's considered mudslinging to call your political opponent a Tejana – thoughts about the recent election aside I find that pretty amusing.

  12. Definitely Blake's- it seems to me that the store on Cerillos in Santa Fe has the hottest chile.

    Of course, you don't want to forget Bob's Burgers and their chile cheese fries whenever in Abq.

  13. Regarding "luminaria" and "farolito," my father has always used the former, though he grew up in Albuquerque and hasn't spent any significant time in the southern part of the state. But what the hell do I know? My family's only been in New Mexico since 1912–newcomers, as mentioned above.

  14. Steve,

    There are half a dozen Bob's in Abq.. I usually go to the one on Eubank just south of the interstate or the one on Menaul just east of San Mateo (south side of the street). There is also one on West Central, nearly to Atrisco and one on Fourth, north of Montano.


  15. I'll go with the "farolitos" crowd, but "luminarias" seems to have skipped over the Rio Arriba and landed in Colorado, don't ask me why.

    Last week in Atlanta I was in a restaurant that served chile, and I asked if they had red and/or green. Got a blank look from the server. Oops.

  16. Chas- Oh, there's a sore spot to nurse. Before LabRat and I were married, I was visiting her in Phoenix. We went to a local burger joint, and I was pleased to see chile burgers (yes, spelled with the e to indicate the fruit) on the menu. I should've taken the waitron's confusion when I asked for green chile and cheese as an indicator, but being distracted by the company I didn't pay much attention.

    I was not pleased to receive a burger that some sick joker had piled on a can of Hormel or some similar dog food. You'd think Phoenix would be close enough that they'd know what a damn chile burger is, but nooooooo.


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