Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Reflections on Living in Utah

Everyone warned me about the Utah Mormons.  Turns out they are just the same as anywhere else, just judged a lot by everyone else.  HAHAHA.  Or maybe I am one of the Utah Mormons now.. who knows.  But here are five things I have noticed about Utah after living here almost four years (this summer marks FOUR years!)

1) Not all blondes are real blondes.  Okay, technically, I learned this when I lived with Jackie, a blonde girl, in my 20s.  She would get her hair done every so often, as much as I would get my facials, she'd be off getting her hair "did."  In Utah, not only are non-white people rare, we are all assumed to not be Mormon.  Random people will ask me where I'm from and when the conversation turns to how I ended up in Utah and the fact that I am indeed LDS, there's a shocking but attempted subdued reaction every time.  But here, I hear a lot of moms talking about "I need to get my hair done," or "I just got my hair done" and "it looks so great!" as much as you'd hear the Asians back home talking about their monthly facials.  Different place, different stuff.. right?

2) Relative ethnic standards.  I learned there is such a label as "white people spicy."  That means not as spicy.  Asian or Hispanic or any other ethnicity for that matter that is not white, is spicier.  Likewise, a lot of white people have classified Andy and me as "foodies," a term we do not take lightly, given all of our true foodie friends from California.  Here, because we want to be adventurous and eat at hole in the walls or places with high ratings, we are "foodies."  In California, we don't even come close.  Our true foodie friends would laugh at us.

3) People love waving here.  If I'm driving, and someone is walking on the side of the road, I feel like I'm supposed to wave.  But I'm never very confident about it, so it's always a half uncommitted wave.  When I'm walking, EVERYONE who drives by me, waves at me.  When we first moved here and Andy waved to people as we drove, I would ask him if he knew them.  He never did.  Why, in the world then, would you wave?  It's just a Utah thing.

4) People love their soda here.  I'm definitely more of a soda person now than ever before, mostly because Andy's family's Sunday dinners always consist of some and it takes so long to grab water from the fridge (I know, the sink is fine.. but it's a California thing, we don't like tap water).  Soda chains are rampant here, like the boba chains from Southern California that I'm used to.

5) The Holy War - The rivalry between the University of Utah and BYU is a big deal here.  The only other place I've been where people wear SO MUCH of their alma mater wear has got to be Michigan, where the school is spread out over the city of Ann Arbor.  I don't think I see as much UCLA or USC gear in So Cal as I do here.  Looking at my own husband, half of his wardrobe is dedicated to BYU, and same with my kids.  I have a few BYU shirts I can wear to games, and I've slowly and effortlessly accumulated a lot of blue and avoided red.  I like the color red because of its symbolic relationship to my Chinese culture, but I also don't appreciate the assumption that I'm dressing for Utah everytime I'm in red, so I mostly avoid it.  I don't make fun of the Utes, I feel like I shouldn't since my husband works there, but the amount of ridicule I hear from both sides is embarrassing.  How two sides could harbor such hate for the other is beyond me.

6) It's all relative.  People have a lot of kids here, Mormon or not.  You might think the non-Mormons have small families, but it rubs off.  It's all relative.  It's super rare to meet someone with only one child.  In California, that seemed the norm. Everything is so kid-friendly here.  Have to go grocery shopping?  Use click list, grocery store pick-up, or show up with a fantastic huge cart that can shuttle your three or four kids around safely in buckled contained seats.  Yes, skinny fools can still make their way out.. oh well.

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