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. :)
This entry was posted in las vegas, road trip, the swiss, utah.
  • https://www.blogger.com/profile/17810752235082725343 Megan

    Mmm… BYU Mint Brownies… I hope you ate one for me too! ­čśë

    You're not the only person who has a complicated relationship with Utah… I definitely am in the same boat with you! It's definitely a different culture. I am happy to visit my family there once, maybe twice, a year and be done with it! :)

    I think it's so rad that you're now related to Elder Oaks. I really respect and admire him!

    Anyway, many tangents in this comment, but ultimately I'm glad that you survived your "Mormon reception", were properly clad, and got to spend some time with good people!

  • https://www.blogger.com/profile/01416933862186543047 Tracie

    I can relate! I will openly state that I never want to live in Utah again. I don't care for it at all!

  • https://www.blogger.com/profile/15602794470283962696 Ashley R

    I am glad someone else understands!!

    And I definitely feel lucky to be related to him. He is such a smart guy and I feel like he has so much to teach, LDS or not. I respect him too.

    p.s. Now I want more mint brownies, hehe ­čśë

  • https://www.blogger.com/profile/07844251943710124957 Shauna

    you know… i had a hard time getting used to the culture of utah – and I'm a mormon! I've always thought to myself how tough that would be to not be a member of the church and to grow up or live there. we loved it while we were there…made many amazing friends and would not mind ending up there.
    But I hope that you had more positive experiences than negative :)

    on another note, you should never be pressured to join any religion. as much as i believe in my religion and want to share it with others because of how it has affected my life and who i am, i don't believe in pressuring anyone to join the church. if you're going to join a faith, it should be because you WANT to!
    seeing that you are now in an LDS family, im sure the church will be brought up for the rest of your life. hopefully it doesn't cause any wedges between you guys :)
    anyways…that's enough from me.
    you're awesome!

  • https://www.blogger.com/profile/15602794470283962696 Ashley R

    Thanks for this comment. :) People ask me about my experiences a lot and I like to say that it is like any group of people- there are going to be great people and some who aren't as as great. Some of my best friends are Mormon, and the best people I have ever known. So I try not to let one person/one bad experience, etc color my opinion of a group.

    Luckily, I have a strong personality and I can hold my own… that doesn't hurt ;). I know there will be bumps/issues along the way with a family the holds different beliefs, but I also think it is a growing experience for all of us- and I am just glad to have a supportive family on both sides :)

  • http://leahjoan.wordpress.com/ leahjoan

    I'm LDS myself, and I can relate to this haha. sorry you had a lukewarm experience with Utah. I live here now, and when it comes to the culture, I'd frankly rather not be here — but when it comes to all the cool outdoor stuff in the area, it's hard to beat. my husband and I can drive ten minutes and be at one of the most beautiful camping/hiking spots I've ever seen! and all the national parks are wonderful. so that's what I focus on while I'm here. (but we WILL be moving out as soon as reasonably possible hahaha) By the way. stumbled upon your blog and it is SO COOL! love it! I have big dreams of traveling the world and I'm really looking forward to following along and getting some good ideas.

  • http://leahjoan.wordpress.com/ leahjoan

    I'm LDS myself, and I can relate to this haha. sorry you had a lukewarm experience with Utah. I live here now, and when it comes to the culture, I'd frankly rather not be here — but when it comes to all the cool outdoor stuff in the area, it's hard to beat. my husband and I can drive ten minutes and be at one of the most beautiful camping/hiking spots I've ever seen! and all the national parks are wonderful. so that's what I focus on while I'm here. (but we WILL be moving out as soon as reasonably possible hahaha) By the way. stumbled upon your blog and it is SO COOL! love it! I have big dreams of traveling the world and I'm really looking forward to following along and getting some good ideas.

  • http://leahjoan.wordpress.com/ leahjoan

    I'm LDS myself, and I can relate to this haha. sorry you had a lukewarm experience with Utah. I live here now, and when it comes to the culture, I'd frankly rather not be here — but when it comes to all the cool outdoor stuff in the area, it's hard to beat. my husband and I can drive ten minutes and be at one of the most beautiful camping/hiking spots I've ever seen! and all the national parks are wonderful. so that's what I focus on while I'm here. (but we WILL be moving out as soon as reasonably possible hahaha) By the way. stumbled upon your blog and it is SO COOL! love it! I have big dreams of traveling the world and I'm really looking forward to following along and getting some good ideas.