This is the fourth time in my life I have lived in Utah. I was born in Utah, to start with. We moved to Minnesota when I was three. We moved back to Utah when I was fifteen and I lived there all through high school and college, for a total of six years. Then the Badger and I moved to Idaho, Oregon, Kansas... and then back to Utah for eight months while he was between jobs. That was five years ago. And now here I am for the fourth time.
In between all the times I have lived here,
I have visited many times, since most of my extended family live here. I grew up taking a yearly family vacation to Utah to see grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. When the Badger and I have been living away from Utah we have tried to do the annual trip so that our kids can see grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. Currently, my parents and the Badger's parents live less than a mile away from each other, which is incredibly convenient.
So I feel like I know Utah pretty well. I am well-versed in the culture (at least the culture of the Wasatch front), some elements of which I like and some of which I do not. But, with all its quirks, it has felt like home to me.
However, after spending the last year and a half living in a quiet, remote small town, coming back here has been a shock to my system. Utah has grown a lot... when I moved here in 1994 as a teenager I did not think Salt Lake was a big city, compared to Minneapolis and St. Paul. But in the last 20 years it has exploded and now I would definitely call it a big city.
Bumping along I-15 the other night, pulling our overloaded little trailer, with all the traffic whizzing past us, my senses were shocked at all the commercialism: the huge stores, massive car sales lots, billboards billboards billboards.... this stuff used to be normal to me, but I have gotten used to my quiet town with minimal shopping options, and even the larger town we would travel to for stuff like Costco was not this big or crazy.
All I could think was, do I really have to live here? Utah didn't feel like home anymore. Country mouse wants to leave the city and go back to her little pastoral burrow.
But I am sure I will adjust. I will get used to driving in traffic again. I will be glad I can quick run to Target for something instead of having to wait a month or two. I will go get a salad at Cafe Rio and enjoy every bite. And the more time I spend with my family the happier I will be to be here again.