I myself have very strong feelings about Utah--I'm not sure I will be able to adequately express my views in this post, but I'll try my darndest. Having been away from my home state for most of the last year, and then being back in Utah again for the last several weeks, has really got me thinking about Utah's pluses and minuses. So here's my (somewhat) orderly list:
- The traffic here is terrible. I used to hate it when people talked about "Utah drivers", and just assumed it was a way of being whinny about the local traffic. Now I see that Utah drivers are not fun play pals. They are always jealous of you and will do anything to show you that they are better, faster, braver, and smarter. They want to be first in line, and even though they cut in front of you, they sure won't let you in. Either that or they are just really old people who should probably have their license revoked.
- Everything--malls, grocery stores, gas stations, movie theaters etc.--is far away. It takes a long time to get anywhere, especially when you would prefer to live in Alpine--all tucked away in a little mountain cove.
- It is getting more and more expensive to live in Utah. Everybody (at least everybody who's a Mormon), wants to live here. The most beautiful places are getting crowded and filled up with either really big and ugly brown stucco homes, or rows and rows of really ugly brown stucco condos/matchstick box houses. If I do someday move back to my hometown, I'll probably have to shell out about a million bucks just to get a decent house.
- I'm not really sure if this is a minus, but here goes. There are so many LDS people here that it is almost too easy to blend in and become underused and underappreciated. My recent experience outside of Utah has opened my eyes to the importance of individuals in the church. In Utah I feel easily replaced--there's always somebody else in line to jump in if you falter. Whereas in "the mission field" there really is no one to replace you; if you slack off and don't do your job, everybody else is too busy with their two to three other callings to take care of it for you. So even though it is decidedly more easy to live in Utah, it has been much more rewarding for me personally to live outside of it.
- It is so beautiful in Utah. There is nowhere like the Rocky Mountains. I have missed the mountains more than I ever dreamed possible. I love being able to wake up in the morning, go out the door, and hike right up a mountain. It feels as though the glories of nature, and even God, are at your fingers tips. The entire state is packed full of national parks, wildlife, and all different kinds of scenery. There are lakes all around for fishing or playing in, mountains powdered with snow for sledding or skiing on, and down south there are gorgeous red rocks and sand dunes.
- Utah has four seasons. Winter, Spring, Summer, and Autumn are all distinct time periods with different temperatures and pleasures. Each season is beautiful in it's turn, and never too harsh or unbearable. I am the type of person who needs to have a constant, flowing change in the seasons, and it's handed to me on a silver platter in Utah.
- BYU. What can I say? I'm an alumnus and my husband enjoys the football games.
- There are probably about eight temples within a half hour drive of where I live. Not only is it nice to have an array of choice, but it's also nice just to be able to go on a regular basis. Yes, in the land of Bismarck there is a temple, but it isn't open everyday at almost all hours; also, most people in the mission field don't have this advantage.
- Mormons! For some people this is an obvious minus, but I don't see it that way. I have heard complaints that people become complacent when there are too many LDS folk around them, saying that their children don't have to work as hard for their light to shine and stand up for what they believe in. Others are just weirded out by so many Mormons in one place. My take on that is--if we don't want everyone to be a Mormon then what are we doing missionary work for? And what in the world do you think the celestial kingdom is gonna be like? (Please don't take me wrong here. I am SO not saying that the celestial kingdom is going to represent Utah Valley. Or that there aren't good people who aren't LDS. I'm just defending my land and the people in it.) Sure, there are some complacent folks in Utah that live gospel standards, but they also exist elsewhere. In the mission field, usually these people are reffered to as "inactive", because they don't have as many people helping them to get to church. I love the everyday interraction with my LDS neighbors. Yes, I also enjoy my other neighbors, but you have to admit that you do know your neighbors much better when you're all in the same ward.
- I love fry sauce.
- I am hestitant to mention this point, but it is a true plus for me. My family is in Utah--granted, not all of them are here, but the bulk of my relations are here. I know I can make friends wherever I go--this has been proven time and again throughout this last year--but obviously nothing can quite take the place of your family.
- Utah is my home. This point is possibly even more important to me than the last. Even if everyone I knew left, I still know Utah. I grew up here, became the person I am today right here in Utah. Also, I know the area. I feel quite comfortable and at home.
So there are my thoughts about living in Utah. If you didn't notice I am more pro Utah than con. When Charming and I are done in North Dakota, we'll see if the folks here can scooch over a bit and make some room for us. That being said, I am open to any fabulous offers in the surrounding states--Nevada not included.
How do you feel about Utah?