And while we do have our fair share of public housing, trailer parks, graffiti, drunks and gangs, on the whole, when I use the word, I'm referring to it's simple Spanish meaning, which is neighborhood. (It's Barrios Bajos that means slum, or bad neighborhood.)
I also often refer to my neighborhood as the land of cracker box houses, and you can probably guess where that analogy came from. And yes - this is actual Google Earth image of my neighborhood with my very own little house pictured near the upper left hand corner...
While my little barrio may be a tad bit lacking in terms of architectural beauty, it makes up for it many times over in a plethora of other ways.
So... here are just a few of the things I love about my neighborhood.
I get to have a HUGE house with a giant yard that has plentiful gardening space. Well, I suppose it's still a tiny house by suburban standards, but it's huge for me... 900 square feet with a full basement, plus a detached 2.5 car garage which is bigger than the entire apartment that I lived in before I bought the house. All this, and my mortgage costs less than it would cost to rent a studio apartment. OK - the fact that I bought 15 years ago helps, but still...
Plus... If I want to go somewhere I can be downtown in 15 minutes if I drive... 30 minutes if I take the bus and/or light rail, or 40 minutes on the bike path. Or I can head west and in the same amount of time I can be in the open space at the foothills of the great Rocky Mountains. If I want a real adventure, just drive a few minutes further and I can be in the wilderness.
But aside from the wonderful location, what I love about my neighborhood is that it's an actual real neighborhood. You know what I mean... the kids all still walk to school, and play in the streets, and people know each other. Neighbors lend a helping hand with projects and tools, etc. and when I've got a bumper crop of tomatoes or zucchini, I can always find someone over one fence or another who is eager for the surplus.
Plus, if you go for a walk on a nice day, the air is filled with mariachi music, which I totally LOVE.
And guess what. As if it wasn't cool enough already, we're getting a very important visitor next week. Yup, President Obama himself is gonna speak outside of our local high school! How totally cool is that!
Now I know that there are a lot of disgruntled liberals out there, and while I am certainly disgruntled with politics, my issues are not really with Obama (sorry to disappoint you.) I was actually gonna make this a post about all the reasons that if the left had any political sense at all they'd be doing everything they could to support Obama instead of tearing him down, but I didn't think I could handle yet another depressing political topic.
So for the moment, I'm just gonna sit back and enjoy the fact that my beautiful little barrio is having it's moment in the national spotlight.