Nine months ago, our family moved from Los Angeles to Albuquerque to be part of Cohousing ABQ before the homes are built.
The move with our two little kids, aged 2 and 5, was rough. There was serious drama with the moving company, and the night we arrived our dog was lost, frightened by the 4th of July fireworks. It was four days before we found our Sophie. Until then we couldn’t really begin to unpack, or breathe out.
And yet, while all the stress was happening, I noticed something. Although we hardly knew Albuquerque at all, we weren’t strangers here.
When we lost Sophie, our cohousing friends helped search the neighborhood and put up fliers. We had surprise visits, fresh baked bread and warm hugs. Friends who we’d only met on Zoom stopped by to read books and dry apples with our kids, and to take our family on adventurous hikes in the rain. We had backyard trampolines and pools opened to us, and home-cooked meals and more hugs.
We had moved to a place where our roots preceded us. It was a unique and surreal experience. Because amidst the chaos of unpacked boxes in an unfamiliar place, I felt the promise of community, care—and home.
As a young adult, I moved often and by choice. Bouncing off landscapes and cultures different from my own was a way of stretching myself into the person I wanted to become. But when I started a family, a new phase of life began. I knew I wanted roots. We began growing them in L.A., my hometown. We found the friendliest neighborhood in town and made some really good friends. I joined the neighborhood council and our local buy-nothing group. I created a block club.
And yet, after five and a half years, something was missing. So much time and energy went into planning and organizing. Everybody was so busy, neighbors moved often, and nobody sent their kids out to play.
After all that time and energy putting down roots, I didn’t really feel rooted.
When, in a podcast, I heard someone talking about what parenting was like in a cohousing community, I knew immediately that was what I wanted. Several common meals a week that you don’t have to plan. Relationships with people of all generations that deepen through working and playing together and through shared meals. Children who have the freedom to roam outside, play in unstructured, creative ways, and form meaningful relationships with other adults.
We began our search, looking for a cohousing community in a diverse town, with great access to nature and a good number of kids, and with homes available or construction starting soon.
That’s how we found Cohousing ABQ. We attended an info session, got to know the community and visited Albuquerque to see the land and meet our new friends in person. After that visit we understood that we had found our community, and with it, a way of life more in line with our values.
From vision to reality
The move to Albuquerque was unlike any move I’d made before. I mourned the warm home we’d made in L.A., the Friday night dinners with friends, and the neighbors who let my 2-year-old water their plants (inevitably getting the porch and porch furniture very wet). But the promise of even deeper roots gave us the courage to make that leap.
Soon, we’ll be 27 households committed to community, deeply invested in the place we’ll all call home. We’ll play in the river just beyond our doorsteps and make our homes in the buildings we’ve envisioned and are working so hard to make a reality.
Even now, in our temporary home across town from the site of our future neighborhood, I feel the community humming around us. Welcoming us, sharing their hope, their laughter and their bread.
After nine short months, Albuquerque has become home. I love watching the seasons change—the monsoon rains of summer, the cottonwood forests turning golden in fall, the occasional, exciting snowfall in winter. Just now, green is peeking out again and the days are warming. I love hiking through the varied landscapes, watching this new sky that seems to speak in shifting moods and everlasting truths. I love the people I’ve met here and the fact that there are good places to dance and eat and read a book.
In their nature-preschool, my kids slide down sandhills, play in rivers and explore the Sandia Mountains. And in a year’s time, they’ll have our community by the river to roam.