My relationship status with Utah.
If I were Facebook friends with the state of Utah, our relationship status would be “it’s complicated.”
One of these days I will have to write out my experiences as (what sometimes felt like) the only non Mormon at Brigham Young University, but now doesn’t feel like the time to get into that.
I am torn, because I have so many dear memories of Utah. It was my first time living outside of California, I met and fell in love with my husband there, and met one of my dearest best friends, along with countless other great people there.
I learned so much both about myself, the world, and just plain book learning If there is one thing I will say time and time again, it is that the education I received at BYU was astounding. The Political Science department, the Model United Nations team, my peers… I was given amazing and unparalleled opportunities.
But it was a difficult time as well. It was a new culture to me, one that I didn’t ever quite feel I fit into. Guys would only tentatively date me, I was pressured to join the religion at times, and I had to face myself and many difficult choices and do a lot of soul searching.
That being said, I survived, I grew leaps and bounds, and I now have a tie to Utah for as long as I have extended family there. I never expected to meet someone, let alone someone I would marry, who came from Utah. Never. But my in laws and many of Charles relatives are still in the area, right in Orem in the house he grew up in. And they still have very strong ties to the Mormon church.
For years I laughed at the ‘Mormon receptions ‘ but before I realized what had happened, I was driving across the desert with my parents and husband to attend MINE.
And you know what? It wasn’t that bad, and it wasn’t the end of the world. There, I said it.
Except we did forget all of our nice clothing in the hotel we stayed at in Vegas on the way up. Picture us in the Orem Kohls trying desperately to find something to wear last minute. Yeah, it was kind of terrible, but we even survived that. Here is the fun we had on the way up:
I also stuffed my face with my favorite foods (BYU mint brownies, Zupas, Iggy’s cheese fries, etc) for the 48 hours we were actually in town.
We got to meet my newest niece, visit with my other nieces and nephews and meet friends and family.
We had the reception.
|My parents, Grandpa Oaks, and us.|
|All the brothers, wives, and children.|
Far and above, the best part of the trip was seeing Charles’ Grandma Ringger. She is the sweetest woman on the planet (and the best cook) and has such amazing life experiences, I just want to soak them in. On our way out of town, we visited her home and just sat with her before she went to church. Growing up and living in Switzerland, she has amazing stories to share.
Evidently as a young woman she left for art school in Berlin, and was living with a Jewish family. She was demanded to, “hail Hitler” and firmly refused. She told us she decided to “go back to Switzerland because she didn’t like being in Germany any longer after that.”
Wow. Right? Amazing woman, I tell you what. I wish we had more time with her.
Those moments were silver lining enough, but a fun night in Vegas on the way back made this a great trip to ease us back into life after two weeks in the Caribbean. We even got free champagne at dinner.
It may always be complicated- Utah and I, but we are working on it.