When I think of home… I picture clear azure skies, pink sandy earth and bewitching sunsets. I think tumbleweeds, turquoise, and tortillas. I remember walking through an arroyo filled with cacti and catching horny toads on my way to grade school. I taste pinto beans and sopapillas with honey, which I called “soapy pillows” as a child. I fondly remember festivals on the plaza with frito pie served in the bag and fresh squeezed watermelon juice and horchata. I hear mariachi bands and see lowriders with images of the Virgin of Guadalupe on their hoods and ballet folklorico dancers in twirling skirts with colorful ribbons. When I close my eyes, I can smell piñon, sage and roasting chile. I relish the wonder of Christmas with glowing faralito lights and savory biscochito cookies. More than anything, I think art—art museums, art festivals, art galleries—deep, spiritual, heartfelt art—retablos, patron saints and nichos.

I was blessed to grow up in the oldest capital city in North America, the “Land of Enchantment,” the charming, one-of-a-kind, “City Different” of Santa Fe, New Mexico. I’ve always marveled at how perfectly Georgia O’Keefe captured in a painting, what I find impossible to express with words—the haunting beauty of New Mexico. My love for New Mexico transcends words and leaves me speechless.

As we grow, the concept of “home” tends to change from that of the physical place of our birth or childhood, to the conceptual “home” provided by the families we are born into and later create through marriage and children. While Santa Fe will always have a place in my heart as my hometown, after years of pain and isolation from growing up a child of divorce and an unfavored and unwanted stepchild, I’ve long dreamed of creating my own family and a new home for myself.

I will always cherish Santa Fe and my mother and half-sisters for providing me with my first concept of home. But for me, the word “home” has come to mean the place of comfort and acceptance that was created upon starting my own family. My home is not the blue house on a cul de sac, in a suburb in the foothills of Colorado (ridiculously over-decorated with New Mexican folk art). My home is the family that I have worked tirelessly to create, as a wife and mother, the place where I belong and feel most…at home.