The world is a big place filled with all kinds of different types of environments and people.
There are urban areas and rural areas that are as different as night and day. Every town, city and neighborhood are different in its own way, but the transition from big city living to small town living, or from small town living to big city living, can be a culture shock for a person.
The small town of Portales, New Mexico, has many people from all over the world. Eastern New Mexico University plays a big role in why so many people from all places move to Portales. Due to the university, a diverse population of people from all over the place end up in Portales. Many people from around the world bring their culture while taking on some of Portales’ culture at the same time, giving the people who live in Portales a national and global experience.
Every place is different, but to some, different is adjustable. Living in Portales compared to living in the city or on an island can take some time getting used to, but people manage.
“There is certainly no kind of ocean or green around here,” said Koki Al Fuimaono, who is currently stationed at Cannon Air Force Base. “Although Portales was different than my home, I was surrounded by good people, which made me feel right at home.”
Fuimaono is originally from the island of Samoa. He moved to Portales after being stationed at the base.
He shared that some of the biggest differences between Portales and his home are that “there are more fast food places here (Portales) than back on the Island” and that “the people that are locals are completely different” than what he had seen growing up.
Despite all the differences he faced, Fuimaono has adjusted to living in Portales comfortably.
Clarence Cowart, an ENMU senior from Miami, Florida, said, “Football was the only reason I attended Eastern,” adding that he doubts he would have ever attended Eastern if he took a school visit.
Despite Cowart’s response, he said he appreciated how peaceful and easy to navigate Portales is compared to Miami. He said that “Portales is, and will forever be, too small” to bring what he missed most from Miami to Portales.
Although Cowart’s experience in Portales and at Eastern has been short of the experience students at Miami University experience, he said that he has enjoyed his college journey at Eastern, adding that he has “made lifelong friends” who have made his time in Portales unforgettable.
It’s clear that South Beach or the fresh vegetation and ocean breeze of Samoa will never be available to experience in Portales, but after observing Portales and Eastern, many believe it is the people who live here that make it a big place.