United New Mexicans: Rudy

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"Being New Mexican is a matter of attitude and gratitude. Since I born and raised in eastern Pennsylvania and thus not a New Mexican native, I am grateful in that I have always found the southwest in general, New Mexico in particular, and Santa Fe to be specific, to be truly the land of enchantment ever since I first read about the area in National Geographic when I was ten or so years old. To live and work here for so many years has indeed been a blessing which I count every day. And this blessing includes the acceptance and recognition by place and people. We are such an incredibly diverse collection of folk that this acknowledgement and respect of the other seems as natural as the very air we breathe. While clearly being one of the fifty United States, I sometimes feel when driving around the state on business or for pure pleasure that I live in a wonderful foreign land. With the astonishing variety of landscape, color, plant and animal life; with the delightful mixture of cultures, languages, foods, traditions and practices; with deeply moving gathering of faiths, religions and spirits there is very little to not love. Finally, and humbly offered, as a boy from the Pennsylvania Dutch country, I am damn proud to say I am now from New Mexico. I am finally home."

(Photo by Christopher Michael Roybal)