Thursday, August 19, 2010

Stories from an Unconventional Childhood, Week Eleven

Over at Mommy's Piggy Tales there's a cool project going on about family history. There is a challenge to blog for 15 weeks about our growing up years, with a different time period covered each week. Spitfire talked me into joining in because she's hoping for some wild stories from my childhood.
 Photos and maps related to Padre Island. Padre...Image via Wikipedia
My ninth grade year was a study in contrasts. It seemed as if anything that could change, did. The year started off pretty normally. I started the ninth grade enjoying school and spending spare time at the beach. But things were far from ideal. My parents were having issues. Dad was spending more and more time away from home and with his friends. When he was home, there was obvious friction. A couple months into the school year, he we needed a fresh start.

Initially, it was proposed that he would move to Albuquerque and find work and housing, and we would follow later. However, he started packing and dividing up the household goods, even sorting out the albums and negotiating about the ones he wanted. It was all very surreal.

Dusk in Albuquerque, New Mexico, taken from we... Image via WikipediaDad left and it was a few weeks before we heard from him. He finally called and said he had found a job and a nice apartment. We began packing and I began once again saying goodbye to my friends. Little did I know just how different this move would turn out to be. As soon as we hit Christmas break, we finished packing and left to spend Christmas with my grandparents. My mom left from there to go see my dad and check out the situation.

When she got there, she found the apartment was in the wrong part of town and the job was dead-end. She was furious. They had a huge fight and she drove across town and rented an apartment. After Christmas, we loaded everything we owned into a moving van and moved to Albuquerque. If you've never had the chance to move from below sea-level to one mile altitude, I don't recommend it. I was sure they had removed all the oxygen from the city before I got there.
 
School was an adventure too. Before I moved, I was in a school that ran from 7th through 9th grade. When I moved, 9th grade was in high school. I went from top of the heap to low man on the totem pole. I couldn't breathe, I was pond-scum in the big pond, and my mom and dad were getting a divorce.

To say I was miserable, would be putting it mildly.
 
ALBUQUERQUE, NM - OCTOBER 04:  Hor air balloon...Image by Getty Images via @daylife
Eventually, I learned the charms of the area. I could stand on my balcony and watch the hot air balloons and hang-gliders coming off the mountain. I loved to watch the clouds coming over the mountains, which meant snow. I spent a couple of weekends with my dad (after he moved to a better part of town). After a while, I began a life-long love affair with the New Mexican cuisine. I learned the proper answer to the question "Red or green?" for me, is always "Green" and the hotter the better.

Red Green Chili PeppersImage by svenwerk via Flickr
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Tuesday, August 17, 2010