Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Living in Utah

As I was driving in to work I got to thinking that I've only worn a coat maybe 10 times since October.  I'm pretty sure it's been a warmer than average winter and I'm a Utah Girl which means that coats are generally reserved for days that are less than about 20 degrees.  Gloves and hats get brought out when its below 15.  If it goes above 35 short sleeves and shorts are commonly seen.  I draw the line there because these white and frequently unshaven legs don't need to be seen this time of year.

I grew up here and I planned to leave for college but it didn't work out for me.  I got accepted to a school in Oakland CA and they gave me a financial aid package.  I turned it down.  My dad was sick, my parents had no extra money, I was dating someone, it was for a music major and I wasn't 100% sure of that path, I was scared and the college was so small that it looked like Girl Scout Camp.  So I did a late admission to the University of Utah and stayed.  Do I regret it?  Most of the time no.  It would be nice to see what its like to live somewhere else but in general I like it here.  I love the dry air; humidity kills me.  I can handle heat and cold because its not intensified by humidity.  We have mountains and can be somewhere to ski in 15-20 minutes.  There is plenty to do every season.  And we have all four although I frequently hear people say that we don't really have Spring.  Its Spring enough in my humble opinion.

Growing up in Utah as a Catholic was maybe a bit of a challenge.  When I was in 1st grade my sister came home from school and said her teacher was talking about how "some people are bad and drink alcohol; like Catholics."  The very next year, my sister and brother were attending St. Vincent and I was on the waiting list to get in (I was on the list one year and then I was able to start in 3rd grade- that is pronounced terd grade BTW when you have Irish nuns for teachers).  I had a friend from my neighborhood tell me that I was a devil worshiper because I was Catholic.  Those are really the only two "damaging events" of my childhood.  We did have all the quirkiness of: coffee is evil, you may have polygamists in your class/neighborhood (we did), figuring out the difference between a ward and a stake when everyone else has parishes or synagogues.  Green jello is a food group.  Having tourists ask you if you are Mormon and then when you say no they ask if you can point out a Mormon (sure, but they don't have horns, very few are polygamists, they don't wear prairie dresses and yes, they are very nice normal people.)  I have way too many friends and family who are Mormons to make it an "us vs them" situation.  Yes I drink my wine, beer and hard alcohol.  As much as I would like to be able to get at least wine in the grocery/convenience store, I plan ahead and make sure I have a stock on hand.  I go to the liquor store about once a month and just get extra.  It's generally fine.  I just pass up the green jello.  I hate jello.  My father in law claims that he has the Jello gene.  He grew up Mormon in Central Utah so it was a staple for him.  Even though he left the church long ago he can't shake the Jello.  My husband has the gene too......  In their defense, my Irish Catholic grandmother used to make green Jello with carrots and raisins so its not just and isolated gene.  I just got lucky and it passed me up.

All in all I guess I have to say the even though it would be nice to have the experience of living elsewhere I am content with my life here in Utah.  I have friends, most of my family, and a supportive community.  Plus the scenery is amazing.

20 minute drive to the basin.  Because it is a "bowl" snow pack lasts longer and results in the most amazing wildflowers.
Greatest Snow on Earth

 It takes about three hours to get to the desert but it is well worth the drive.
The Salt Lake from the north.  Yes, it stinks from the brine shrimp and the South side doesn't have good beaches.  But if you make the trip to Antelope Island the scenery is amazing and it doesn't have the smell.

Lake Powell.  Probably my favorite place in Utah
 In contrast to the desert we have beautiful forests

Warm water lakes make for great places to hike, swim, ski and boat.

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