Slurpees from The 'Sev.
Addresses based on a logical N-S-E-W grid pattern.
Picnics in Big Cottonwood canyon.
Oh, man, I'm missing Utah already! I just flew back to North Carolina from Salt Lake International yesterday after spending the past ten days in the Beehive state. Deseret. The 8-0-1. My home. The Normal Mormon Wife's younger sister got married in Utah last week so we split our time between my family in South Jordan and her family in Roosevelt. I didn't want it to end. Especially since my parents finished their basement with a state-of-the-art home theater, a pool table, foozball table, and have DirectTV. Oh, yeah, and I love them, too.
With the exception of one year in Idaho (Rick's College) and 2 years in Chile (LDS mission), I spent the first 26 years of my life in the shadows of the Oquirrh and Wasatch mountains. Every time I go home and take I-15 to 215, everything just feels natural. Over the past seven years I have lived in Arizona, Nevada and now beautiful North Carolina. Each of these places are special to me, but every time I go home it just confirms to me that I'm a Utah boy. Plain and simple. I spent my childhood wasting quarters at the 49th Street Galleria, eating Mushroom Things at Scott's, avoiding Magna water, and dodging semi-automatic weapons and knife fights at West Fest at Granger High. I guess Utah is permanently woven into my DNA. And I miss it!
There is a famous movie line about how there is no place quite like home. What movie was that from, again? I'm drawing a complete blank right now....I think it involves a dog, a witch, a twister...Oh, yeah, I just remembered. It's Happy Gilmore. You remember that scene of cinematic brilliance when Happy misses a putt and screams at his golf ball, "Why don't you just go home!? That's you're home! Are you too good for your home!? Answer me!!!!"
While the golf ball never answered Happy, I will. And I'm not only answering Happy, but also my parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, in-laws, grandparents, nieces, nephews, friends, and people who want to recruit me into their Network Marketing organization who asked me the same questions about 459,872 times last week. I am pretty sure that my answer will generate some good comments from many of you because the "living in Utah" topic can get pretty passionate. My web counter allows me to track state-by-state where people live who visit my blog, and 25% of you live in Utah. The other 75% of you have most likely either lived in Utah, have family in Utah, or may end up living there one day. So, Happy (and everybody else), here is your answer.
Question: "Why don't you just go home!?"
Answer: "It's complicated."
Okay, that's a complete cop out, but it truly is complicated. First of all, the NMW and I are very, very happy in North Carolina. We have been here for five years and we love our friends, our ward, our house, the moderate temperature, and how old-school southerners begin their sentences with, "Well I'll tell you what...".
Second, my job is here and I have been given challenging opportunities and promotions by my employer that I did not expect to have this early in my career. The company I work for has treated me well and I would most likely have to leave my employer to get closer to home.
The third reason may sound kind of strange to some of you, but we really feel like the Lord guided us here and needs us here for a period of time. We needed to be here for our own personal development and we have been able to give meaningful service in the church. While it is true that we can grow and the Lord can put us to work anywhere we live, the NMW and I are pretty sure that this is the right place for us right now.
But the last reason is the most important of all - the Normal Mormon Wife does not want to live in Utah. Ever. She spent most of her life in Arizona and only lived in Utah during her college years, so it is not her home. Her reasons are very practical and I understand where she is coming from when we talk about it. We do not argue about it nor do we allow it to come between us, we just simply have differing points of view. The NMW wants to be closer to our families as badly as I do and would be perfectly happy living in Las Vegas, Albuquerque, or maybe somewhere warm in Arizona.
Just not Utah.
And she is not alone.
In my travels around the country I have spoken with hundreds of people who sit on opposite sides of the "living in Utah" fence. There are those who love Utah and will never leave. Many of them can trace their Utah ancestry back to the pioneers and have hundreds of extended family members scattered from Tremonton to Hurricane (pronounced "Hurr-ih-cun" for you out-of-staters.) They want to raise their families where the church is strong and their kid does not have to be the only member of the church in a 2,000-person high school. You know, like Chubbs being the only one-handed black golfer on the PGA Tour in Happy Gilmore. Others love the mountains, the seasons, going to BYU, U of U, and Jazz games, or hitting Chuck-a-Rama after General Priesthood Conference.
On the other hand, there are those who think that there are too many complacent "Utah Mormons" out there who take the church for granted. I hear the "Utah Mormon" reason all the time, and it completely puzzles me. There are good and not-so-good members of the church from Hurr-ih-cun to Hong Kong. Some parents want their child to be the only member of the church in his or her school so that he or she has to develop a strong testimony without simply relying on a strong group of LDS friends. These parents want their children to stand out from the crowd, like the unconventional Happy Gilmore on the PGA Tour, only in a more positive way. Others just simply hate the snow and could never be happy buried in the cold, wet, white stuff the entire winter.
The reasons for living or not living in Utah are endless. The feelings are usually passionate. I would love to move back. The NMW would not. In our own minds, we are both right. Please feel free to answer the poll questions and post some comments about where you stand on living, or not living, in Utah. In the meantime I will be sitting at home in North Carolina daydreaming about skiing at Yuba Lake.
And going to BYU campus.
And eating crispy bean burritos from Taco Time.
And seeing temples everywhere.
And the beauty of Bridal Vail Falls.