Utah and I have had a tenuous relationship in the past. I'm a born and bred Californian, and when I moved to Utah in 1994 to go to school, I decided on principle that I should dislike the land of milk and honey out of nothing but respect for my home state. No offense, of course, to those who love Utah. After all, it wasn't Utah's fault that they weren't California. And most Californians can attest to the fact that we're taught from a very young age to devote all our pride and love to our own land, much like Texans, only a little less "we want to be our own country". Stay with me here, this story has a happy ending for Utahns.
I cried when I had to change my plates on my car. Mostly because, at the time, Utah didn't allow seven digits and I couldn't switch over my vanity plates with DZNYGRL. And even more so, because now that I was sporting the Utah plates, people were going to think I was FROM here. A real, bonified Utahn. And no one could say it better than Alicia Silverstone...as if! I felt like I was betraying the mother ship.
Being from California, of course I was met with the new-found challenge of driving in the snow. And being from California, of course I was cocky and stubborn and thought those who slowed down for a few fluffy white flakes were put in my path to try my patience. As I often do, even still, I learned my lesson the hard way when I took to the snowy roads faster than a speeding demon and went right through a fence and hit a parked helicopter. That is NEVER a phone call you want to make to dad. Trust me.
Then I moved to Alaska, on a whim, really. And I love Alaska. If I had two hearts, one of them would be entirely devoted to the majesty and grandeur of the Great North. As it turns out, I only have one heart, and I think Utah stole it away from Alaska this winter. You could say I was converted. Ha ha. Maybe it's because I'm getting old(er) or maybe I'm just having an early midlife crisis, but for the first time ever - and I do mean EVER - I fell in love with Utah. It's not green. It's not lush. It's nothing like Alaska. But everyone I love is in Utah, and that trumps everything else Alaska, or even California, has to offer. So coming home was definitely bittersweet. As I drove off the ferry and down the familiar streets with amazing views, I couldn't help but feel a little empty and more than a little sad. Yes, I definitely left my heart in Utah. Just don't tell California.