This is my last week at Bandelier National Monument as a Transportation Scholar. Somehow my 12 month contract turned into 37 months, lucky for me, they kept asking me to renew! As I walked along the Main Loop Trail this week on a break, I remembered something that a friend told me about Bandelier.
I met this friend at Cornell but we are both from New Mexico. He had recently been on a trip around Bandelier and Chimayo when I first heard that I got the job back in 2013. An elderly man from the area told him that people go to Chimayo to ASK for something (as in when pilgrims come from miles around on foot to pray for health during Easter weekend), but they go to Bandelier to CLAIM something.
Bandelier for me has been a place of growth. I've grown professionally as a planner, I've grown my family by having our daughter while working there, and I've grown my confidence in writing and sharing my knowledge. I wrote my book and published it during my tenure here.
Bandelier has been wonderful to me, both professionally and personally. I can't say that I've claimed any one thing, just that I've tapped into sides of myself that I was searching for. Thank you Bandelier for all that you have done for me.