Living in the southwest has been full of ups and downs. When I originally came out here for college, I landed in Phoenix, Arizona. For a boy who was used to cold winters and mild summers, Phoenix was absolutely brutal. Many summer afternoons saw highs drift close to 110 degrees. And since the city is in the middle of the desert, there aren’t cool breezes or cold temperature spells throughout the summer. I suffered in Phoenix for five years before I couldn’t take it any longer. You end up relying on air conditioning as much as you rely on water, although evaporative cooling is possible whenever the humidity level is below 50%. With this experience, moving to Albuquerque, New Mexico was surprising to me. I was shocked that summer temperatures rarely went over 95 degrees, even at their hottest moments. My old apartment on Lomas Boulevard was within view of the University of New Mexico, but it was also close enough to Old Town that I could get there on foot. It was in full sunlight with no natural shade of any kind, and I had no problems staying cool in the summer with a quality window air conditioner. By the time I bought my first house, I had access to a quality air conditioner that made it even more comfortable living in this area. Albuquerque is by far my favorite city in the southwest. Living in Phoenix felt like torture and there weren’t any natural attractions comparable to Sandia Peak and the other mountains that wrap around Albuquerque to the west and to the east.