My mother always said you can’t go back. you can actually, it’s just that you probably shouldn’t.

I just got back from Washington DC this past week.  My husband and I moved our family from Chevy Chase, Maryland (an area right outside DC) to Los Alamos a little over 5 years ago.  We had taken the trip back to visit our family and old friends.  Every time we go back it is really emotionally hard.  Our best friends are the neighbors we had in this great little neighborhood we lived in, so we pretty much spent our visit there playing in our old backyard, looking at what we had left.  It was like going back in time, but someone else had taken our place and home and life.

When we moved in late 2007, I was so tired of DC that I would have gone anywhere, just to get away from there.  There’s a song that goes something like ‘this city makes us crazy and we must get out’… I think that song was stuck in my head for the last three years I lived there.

I was tired of the traffic, the crime,  paying an enormous amount of money for private school where I was also paying an enormous amount in property and county taxes.  I was done with the atmosphere of self importance, that nothing else mattered outside of what was happening in Washington.  I was sick of the feeling that I needed to keep up with the Jones’, that my house was not big enough, my car wasn’t new enough or worst of all, that someone else’s kids might be getting a better education than mine if I didn’t pay enough or live in the right zip code.  I was sick of the mosquitoes.

Anyway, we went back to visit and from the moment we got there I missed it all!  I wanted it all back! (except the mosquitoes) I was like a crazy person…I loved having every store and restaurant right at my fingertips!  I loved the traffic, the noise, the crowds, the constant sound of sirens…EVERYTHING!  I especially missed my friends, who took us in as if we had only been gone a couple of weeks.  Even my kids were moping around when it was time to pack up and come home.  It was depressing.  My husband was the only one that was rational about the whole thing.  I think he thought we were all nuts.  I can tell because he was so kind and understanding to us, he didn’t tell us we were being crazy (like how you would act to a real crazy person).  He actually didn’t ridicule me when I made him drive around looking for houses for sale.  It was bad.

So, the only little rational cell in my brain said “wait until you get home, see what it’s like to go back to Los Alamos, you might be just a little emotional right now.”  I agreed reluctantly.

I’m rambling, so I won’t go in to what a sad trip home it was, but I just want to get to the point of this long story…

An incredible thing happened!

It was great to be back!

My kids were happy to be back to school and their friends, (my youngest was just happy to be back to his train table…he’s easy to please) I was happy to be back to these wide open spaces, these trails, my home, my friends, no humidity, no mosquitoes.

No really, it all came back to me why I love Los Alamos.

It’s not a city.  It’s a town.

We moved here because we wanted a town.  And we found one that is truly special.

Where else can you find a place with, I’m going to make a list here:

  • incredible outdoor resources (we have miles and miles of incredible trails and a ski area people!)
  • an historically and culturally important past
  • International diversity
  • outstanding science and research, and the incredible people who are a part of that
  • virtually no crime!!!!
  • great schools and county services and yet such low taxes (for anyone who’s lived in a big city with high taxes and poor services and lots of crime, you know what I’m talking about!)

Where else would you find all these things and still be able to live a small town life?

On more than one occasion I have driven my kids to school in my pajamas.  My worst fear is that I will get a ticket and be listed in the Monitor’s Police Beat as the lady in her nightgown who failed to signal her turn.  I can’t go to Smith’s without seeing at least 3 people I know.  That means I definitely can’t run to the grocery store some of the days I drop my kids off at school.

I hope I don’t forget what I love about Los Alamos.  I want things for this town.  More restaurants, businesses, a rec center, my list is long.  But I hope I keep reminding myself what I don’t want for Los Alamos.  I don’t want it to be a city.