My name is Edward Domain, and I am new in New Mexico. I’m originally from the Midwest, and was excited to move to Albuquerque as part of the Pattern New Mexico team. I certainly moved here in interesting times. I’m in New Mexico to tell the positive stories about the people that make New Mexico great. Some you may have heard of, some may have been overlooked, and some folks might be new residents like myself. We want to shine a light on the great things happening in New Mexico, and right now, New Mexicans are being challenged in unprecedented ways.
Our state, our nation and the globe are facing a new challenge the likes of which the world hasn’t seen in over a century: COVID-19, also commonly called the, “Corona Virus”.
When I joined the Pattern New Mexico team, I didn’t expect to arrive in a time of Global Pandemic. I will admit, I was nervous.
Like many of you, I headed out to the grocery store to stock up on some essentials, put some food in the freezer, and got ready to hunker down. After watching the global news, I expected to run into people panicking and fighting over the last rolls of TP.
I ended up at Sprouts and, yes, when I entered the store, there were many items that had been cleaned out, but what I experienced was, I think, what I will keep experiencing here. Far from what other cities are going through, people were being courteous, talking to each other (from a safe distance) and generally being the most friendly people I had ever met. I felt the tension drain from my shoulders, the anxiety disappear, and as the cashier asked me a question about plastic bags with an expectant look and saw my confusion, I shared that I had just moved to town.
I immediately found myself in a conversation with the cashier and a few people in line behind me who told me I’d love it here in ‘Burque, (also: I learned to how say ‘Burque) and started sharing things they loved about their city- things many of you might already know, but for a new guy in town like me, the only way they could have been friendlier was if there wasn’t a virus scaring everyone and had me over for dinner.
I walked out into the parking lot, and my jaw dropped- I froze in place. The sun was setting and the sky was lit in dramatic rolling clouds of stunning reds and oranges- it was so beautiful, I just stood there, thinking, “I hope every sunset is like this.”
Staring with my mouth agape, I realized I had stopped walking in the path of traffic. As I focused my attention back on my cart full of food, I turned and saw a car with a family in it watching me with a smile, as if they had seen this show before, and calmly waited for me to move so they could continue on their way.
I apologized, and the man at the wheel laughed, stuck his head out the window and said jokingly, “You new here or sumthin’?” I laughed, and let him know that, yes, yes, I certainly was, and he said as he rolled by me slowly, “You’ll never really get used to sunsets like that- New Mexico is a special place!” and drove off with a wave as his kids in the back seat smiled and waved.
I smiled, returned the wave, walked my cart to my Jeep, and wanted a photo. I pulled out my phone, started snapping away, and saw another man by his car that was doing the same.
He smiled and said to me, “You love the sunsets too?” I nodded with a smile. He continued, “I heard you talking, welcome to New Mexico. You see, (he pointed) the Sandias there? I love to go up there for sunrise photo shoots. It’s incredible, you have to do it. I love New Mexico so much, (he gestured to himself as he said this) I’ve got the Sandias tattooed across my chest and I have the Zuni sun tattooed rising above them. If you like beautiful scenery, spicy food, and real, genuine people, you’ll love it here.”
We chatted a bit more, and then went to leave. I watched my new friend get into his car as I got into my Jeep, and he waved as he drove off.
I paused again, soaking in the view.
In a time of Global Pandemic, with madness breaking out in different corners of the globe, some Burqueños saw someone new in town and went out of their way to make me feel like I had some new friends, and that I was going to fit right in.
In that moment, looking at the sunset, talking to my new friend, I realized I became a New Mexican.
Thank you for the warm welcome- we’re all going to weather this storm together. In the coming weeks and months, our Pattern team is going to focus on the people and places that make New Mexico, New Mexico True.
That said, I am new in town, and I have a lot to learn. I’ve already met some great people, but I want to hear your ideas- we want to feature the heroic- the mail carriers still getting us our mail, the food, service and retail workers, first responders keeping us safe, the musicians that keep us hopeful and happy with their art- and speaking of art, we want to feature artists too. I might be new, but it’s clear New Mexico is home to doers of all kinds, and that is not necessarily the same in other places.
Please contact us with your ideas!
Please don’t be shy- send me an email with your ideas! I can be reached at [email protected], and I’m looking forward to hearing from you.
In my short time here, one theme keeps coming up in conversation: New Mexicans are proud. Proud of their town (wherever in the state they are), proud of their state, and proud to be New Mexican. I’m an Army Veteran and entrepreneur, and have been lucky enough to see a lot of different places. New Mexico has a feeling all its own, and it is welcoming. People are genuine, listen to you when you speak- really listen, and care about where they live. For someone new like me, it’s a very welcoming feeling, and I hope I can be as additive to the community as you have all been welcoming to me.