I've lived in Utah for six years and three (almost four) months now--since August 2005.
My parents and brothers came up for Thanksgiving and just left today. My youngest brother said countless times, "I just don't know how you live in Utah."
I think Utah and I have long since made peace and come to terms on our differences.
For example: I like it hot. Utah likes it cold.
Really, though, I have decided there are a lot of things I like about Utah. I frequently make mental note of all the things I'd miss if I left. Here are some of them...
- Cafe Rio (I guess I could drive 30 minutes to it from Glendora)
- Hole in the wall restaurants, big restaurants--so many options! (Nicolitalia, Tucano's, Hogi Yogi, Lone Star Taqueria, Red Ginger sushi, Happy Sumo, a million other sushi places, Guru's, Communal, Pizzeria 712, Vinto, Five Guys, Smashburger, Peiwei, Blue Lemon, Faustina, Einstein bagels, Mimi's Cafe, Noodles, Rumbi, etc.)
- Dessert places (Cold Stone, Cocoa Bean, Sweet Tooth Fairy, Nothing Bundt Cakes, random pastry shops, etc.)
- Good friends -- Rachel, Brianne/Nephi, cousin Marla, Audrey, Sydnie, Rob, Dan, so many others...
- Seeing three temples coming around the point of the mountain
- Being within driving distance to the temple even if I never go
- Beautiful sunny days
- Fall colors. We don't get them in California, really. Not like this...
- Huge grocery stores with lots of selection -- things you can get at the grocery store here just couldn't be found at a lot of stores in Glendora
- Good people -- policemen (or strangers) stopping to help replace citizens' tires, general politeness and honesty
- Lots of people to date -- there have been a lot of less-than-acceptable ones, but my chances are higher here than anywhere else, I think
- Affordable -- my one bedroom, 650-square foot apartment would definitely cost way more in California. Plus gas, food, theater tickets, everything is cheaper here.
- General safety and low crime in most parts
- The grid system -- being able to find a place without directions is so nice
- Music -- in downtown Salt Lake for free, in Provo at Muse for cheap, or at In the Venue for pretty cheap. We don't miss the good ones, usually
- Dry weather keeps some things from going bad.
Things I can't (and never will be able to) stand about Utah are as follows:
- Horrible drivers (among many Utahisms: at a two-way green, left turners thinking they have the right of way over right turners; general cluelessness; driving under the speed limit; tailgating; etc.)
- Judgment (mostly this big brother feeling occurs in Utah county)
- Never ending road construction
- Lack of diversity religiously and racially
- Produce. Terrible, terrible produce.
- No beach
- No theme parks -- Six Flags, Disneyland, Knott's, Raging Waters (sorry, Lagoon and 7 Peaks, but you're kind of lame)
- No (or very few) mom & pop donut shops!
- Dry weather dries out my skin somethin' fierce
I don't think I'd want to raise my family here. Maybe I'll feel differently once I actually have one. But the homogeneity really gets to me. I love where I grew up. Everything cool was in driving distance (mountains, desert, beach, etc.). There's just so much I feel my own little family would miss if we lived here.
But for now, this is OK. :)