Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Utah is...

Well here we are, all of us in Utah.  Julian and I have been here for two months, Sean about 3 1/2 weeks.  I put together a short list of my newly acquired Utah experiences so let's have it, shall we.

Utah Is...

1. A spa retreat.  That was a common phrased i used to describe to people how I felt when we first arrived. Immediately i began to notice that I could breathe, really breathe, for the first time in a long time. And it felt good, real good.  We spent a long time at my parents' house living a community household lifestyle which, i have to say, was rather marvelous. Julian and I did yoga in the backyard and basically just writhed around in the luxurious grass at every possible moment. I think a major element of my childhood and the memories and feelings I associate to it have to do with the grass in the summertime. Bit by bit my memories have begun coming back to me and I'm loving it. I'm just soaking it all in.  Also at the house, we picked apricots and ate from my parents' garden. I can't tell you how nice it is to harvest the fruits of someone else's labors. Because I'm pretty sure I will never in my life have a garden like that.   Picking tomatoes was my favorite. It became a treasure hunt since the plants turned into giant tomato beasts, sprawling all over the place, vines so thick i had to lift them up and have a keen eye to spot the goods.  But also there were cucumbers, squash, peppers, beans, carrots, and others i don't even know the name of, or how to cook with.  I marveled at this. For a good while I sat in a stupor at the fact that people just... go out back and pick stuff.. and then bring it in... and eat it. They just eat it. "Oh I want to make a salad so I'll just go in the backyard and get ALL the stuff for it."   
This is me: 

2. Huge sky. Just big wide open expanse of sky. As far as the eyes can see, until it smacks into the gigantic mountains, that is.   But it's just so BIG.  And the sunsets are as spectacular as I remember. I used to climb up onto the roof of my house and take pictures of them and i forgot how amazing they are. Just brilliant. Mind blowing, really.  Can't believe people live here and are like, yeah yeah, it's a sunset.  I spend as much time outside as i can and just soak, soak it in. Sometimes I just gaze and shake my head, I'm just overcome.  The view is amazing, a shock to me, and I hope to never get over it. 

3. Cheap.  Julian took swimming lessons from a swimmer girl, one on one for like $60.  In NY this would have been 3 times as expensive with someone weird or mean and it would also be impossible because i can't actually see this happening, unless we hired an ex-olympic swimmer, swim teacher to celebrity children and not for 4 more years since we'd have to be wait-listed. One on one?? Absurd!  

4. Sprawling.  I keep getting lost.  In my own hometown. It all looks the same and the streets are just 400E. 300E.  It makes sense but it all means nothing to me.  I need landmarks-- beacons! Guides!  But it's ok because i eventually find my way and am learning the lay of the land, and also there's GPS. 

5. Friendly.  We drove through the drive-thru (-- prob a better way to say that) of Chik-fil-a and i about died at the whole experience. They have these teenage gems standing outside ready to take orders. They learn your name at the first stop and then they enter in your order so that the next kid who's around the corner has received it by the time you come around and he's like, "Hello, Jennifer..." and you give him your money. Then you pick up food at the 3rd stop, someone at the window, and by that time they're like, "Here you go, Jen! Have a great day with Julian and hope you're adjusting to the move! Let me know if you need anything! Here are your nuggets"  *hug*       Seriously. It was just like that. 

6.  Quiet. Quiet as the far side of the moon.  The din of the city had begun to seep deep into my brain and it became stuck, and almost deafening in its irritatingly constant presence.  I have to remind you, and myself, that I still do truly love the city, but there was a breaking point and that was the state of things when we left.  I am naturally a contemplative person. I love my introspection. I could sit and think my thoughts until the cows came home and then went back out again and feel like I had a most productive day.  And here I can hear them. They've replaced all the city noise and they're calmer, clearer, less agitated at having to compete all the time, trying to be noticed. The quiet is so loud and marked that it feels like a person,  one I love and want to wrap my arms around. And like a cat in the sunshine, I bask. I bask in the quiet.

7. Easy.  So easy. Easy like I knew it would but a still shock at how easy it is. And it's turning out to be exactly what I feared and hoped.  Which was an easier life in some areas, areas I felt like I was putting too much stupid effort and thought and sweat into but also a life of too much ease so I didn't have to get off my rear as much. Basically it comes down to I need to figure out a way to exercise without doing things I loathe.  Before, it was automatic with the city life. I did it because i had to. Still i was aware that was how i was getting my exercise and therefore i had some appreciation.  So now I'm doing a few things:

a) I aim to fully appreciate this new easy life and to acknowledge its ease by remembering the old life. To never forget.  To appreciate the opposition living the other life has provided.  To say OH how nice that i can just drive up to this place and park nearby. Isn't it wonderful? Isn't life wonderful?

b) to still be active.  this means a few things. maybe stupid things like carrying groceries to the car instead of pushing them. but also to get out more and figure out a way to explore this beautiful land.  I have been using my beloved amish scooter and sometimes take it to pick Julian up from school.  This is something that's completely unnecessary and also strange, as NO ONE is on the sidewalks around here. I could also easily take the car and suffer very little for it (i.e. traffic or parking problems).  But I l-o-v-e my scooter and Julian loves it too. We chat when we ride, I work my tail off hoofing it up that hill, and it also makes me feel like a little bit of Bklyn has seeped into my life, which is great. It's seriously lacking that important authentic bklyn element called necessity, but still.  I like it. I'll take it.
One could argue that you belong to a place because you start there and it forms who you are. But I don't know. I think it's a conscious decision. There must be some embracing involved.   After a few years of living in NY I remember my mom telling me "Jennifer, remember your roots."  I asked her if she thought I wasn't and she said no, but felt the need to tell me anyway.  I thought about it and my reaction was basically like, yeah yeah, I {heart} NY!   But here I am, starting over, and these are just a few things that I am discovering about Utah right now.  I should say "re-discovering" since I grew up here but I cannot, because I just didn't realize it back then.  There were things I appreciated because they appealed to me particularly (the sky, etc) but now that I've been away for over a decade and have returned, seeing all the beauty it has, partly because i've lived in a place that is such a stark contrast, and also having decided to deliberately choose Utah, I feel like a Utahn for the first time.

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