Monday, December 31, 2012

15 Things I Miss About Utah

We moved from Utah to Minnesota four and a half months ago. In many ways, it was an easy move. We have family and friends here already, and we had been intending to move here for years. I never thought I would stay in Utah forever. Of course, I miss my family and friends in Utah. I am still in touch and feel that many of the relationships I have there are lasting, but it is difficult to shift the dynamic of the relationship.

Though I lived in Minnesota for 15 months as a live-in nanny for good friends, it's a completely different lifestyle for me to be a married mom of a toddler. It was hard to let go of the routines I had in Utah. This could also be re-framed as "Things I Appreciated About Utah" or "Family-Friendly Activities in Utah" but I kept it personal to me.

These are some things I miss about the Beehive State, and Utah Valley in particular:

1. Breathing very little second-hand cigarette smoke. Fewer people smoke in Utah than most other places.
toddler bowling at Provo Beach Resort
pony ride at Farm Country

2. The Riverwoods--particularly Provo Beach Resort (which Alexandra asked to go to a hundred times after we moved), and also Blickenstaff's. Less often, but still regularly, we enjoyed visiting The Museum of Ancient Life and Farm Country, both part of Thanksgiving Point.

3. The not-great, but convenient playground at the shopping mall 3 minutes from my apartment

4. Never driving more than 10 minutes to a restaurant, and having almost all weekly activities or errands within 15 minutes of home

5. Cafe Rio

6. Not getting lost quite as frequently, as there is basically one freeway running through the whole state, and the streets are usually grid (so you know that if you are on 100 South and you need to get to 200 North, you drive 3 blocks north)

7. Knowing which way was north based on the Wasatch mountains

4th of July carnival, in a 1912 fire truck, Provo
 8. A culture that catered to young families: a plethora of maternity and child shopping, year-round (especially summertime) affordable and/or free family-friendly activities just around the corner; large network of friends in the same phase of life (with whom to chat at the playground, empathize, commiserate, and share clothes and gear). We liked living across the street from the Scera Shell, which had outdoor musicals in the summertime.

9. Handmade vendors and local artists with affordable goods, like at Bijou Market.

Monte L. Bean Life Science Museum at BYU

UVU basketball game (see her UVU onesie?)
 10. Accessible university campuses; Utah Valley University and Brigham Young University (and Utah State University and University of Utah and others...) have lovely museums, exhibits, guest lecturers, concerts, and events, often free to the public.

11. I thought parking in downtown Salt Lake City was a hassle. Then I tried to park in downtown Minneapolis. Silly me.

12. Not needing to drive the freeway during rush hour very often. There were lots of places to shop or eat (like Barnes & Noble, Rubio's, University Mall...) that I could get to without fighting traffic if I wanted to get out of the house in the evening.

Mt. Timpanogos LDS Temple
"The Christus" at Temple Square, Salt Lake City
 13. Easy access to services and goods particular to my religion (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints). While many aspects of the cultural permeation, homogeneity, and commercialization of my faith annoyed me, it was comforting, convenient, and inspiring to easily buy board books with beautiful paintings of Jesus or an issue of the Friend, to buy supplemental materials for religious instruction or practice, to have my congregation in my neighborhood, to visit historical sites of my church, and, I'll admit it, to feel "normal".

14. Relatively close proximity to hot springs, national/state parks, including Bryce Canyon, Zion, and Yellowstone

 15. Breathtaking mountain/canyon views every single day

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