My whole life I’ve wanted nothing more then to leave PA. I lived there since I was there, granted we moved all over, but still. I knew a lot of people who left & came back, never understood why.
In the winter of 2013 my wish was granted, I moved over 2,000 miles away from home, just James and I. No I didn’t just move either, I was offered a job at a company called 180 Fusion. I did something most people don’t do, yes they pickup and move, but not halfway across the country. We left all our friends and family behind.
You know moving to a different area things will be different, but you don’t know how different. I grew up in a small town of McVeytown, PA, moved to Hanover, PA when I was in high school and then spent four years living in York, PA. I also have been up and down the east cost visiting and staying, so I’ve been all kinds of people. PA is also a place for a lot of Amish live, so growing up with them you really don’t notice them. Also, PA is, well not crazy religious, but religious, most people are Protestant, Baptist, Presbyterian with your Catholics and Jehovah’s Witness thrown in there. Which for the most part they keep to themselves, other then the random nut jobs protesting on the coroner. Then you have your crazy Rednecks, which is in the part of PA where I grew-up. Crazy, but the nicest people ever, who will give the shirt off their back if needed. Don’t even get me started on night life, food, events, street fairs, etc, just ALWAYS something to do.
But when you grow-up with that you hate the people, you always think theirs nothing to do & if there is it’s boring. So you always want to leave, because you always think the grass is greener on the other side. So being young and naive like me, the grass was dead on my side and it was so GREEN and luscious on the other side. So what do you do, you go to the other side.
That other side was Utah for me. A place I knew only one person had ever visited. They said it wasn’t great, nice for a visit, but to never live. Everyone else stared at me and said good luck. I didn’t understand, they has never been here, what could be so bad.
We get here and it was interesting. We live on the side of a mountain. Not like back home where you live on the side of a beautiful mountain with tons of trees and it’s breath taking. It’s Utah, nothing grows, it’s all dirt. The only reason there is grass is because every patch of area has sprinklers, that run everyday or it would be brown. There are no pine trees or beautiful forests. It’s death all around. There is Utah lake, Salt Lake and things people call rivers here, but seriously are just streams. If what people call a river in Utah, my parents have a river next to their house. When I’d get bored or wanted to do a picnic we’d always go to a parks, then MANY that are in PA. National and State parks are huge in PA, with over 127 national parks just in PA. In Utah there are a whopping 17, none as amazing as Raystown, Lake Redmand, Codours Park or even Cowans Gap. Everyone said this was such an outdoorsy state, my version of hiking is not thru a dead area with barley any life. I never realized how much I’d miss just going to a state park.
When more than 70% is Mormon chances are everything will be based around their beliefs. I knew one Mormon, who didn’t even follow. All I ever knew about the religion was that they had MANY children, were outcasted, a man read some stuff out of a hat and that’s how the religion was brought about, Mitt Romney, they absolutely despise gays, wives stay at home and they have sex with small children. All things I’ve been told, read or seen on the news. I’m the kind of person who it doesn’t matter what religion you are I give you the benefit of the doubt, not every religious person is crazy and strict. The more I’ve lived here the more I learn about the religion & the type of people they are. I wasn’t raised with a religious background, my family is religious, but they don’t force it on anyone or talk about it. I have been to church and know many religious people. From teachings I was always taught you treat others how you want to be treated, you help those who are in need & above all else it doesn’t matter what religion, sex or color & along with that God is the only one who can judge and condemn you, no one else. To me, someone who is not religious what so ever, believes that. If someone needs my help, I will help them & what people do with their life is their life, I will not intrude or judge them, as long as they are not hurting someone. It is none of my business what religion or sexual orientation you have. No human can determine what color their skin will be, so why judge them on that.
Since I’ve moved to Utah, being a non-Mormon, Asian female who has a white boyfriend and a baby on the way seriously hasn’t been the best situation. Since I’ve been here it has been I guess what it was kinda like when the white Christians came to America, horrible analogy I know. But everyone wants you to convert and come to church, then you aren’t white do they stare and make you feel unwanted. It’s like you are an alien from another planet. Then to be dating someone not of my own race it’s uncalled for, it’s like it’s the 1940s here, apparently not 2013 almost 2014. Then to be 23 and not married with at least two children is apparently unheard of. I’m use to people being 25-35 before they even get married and start having kids. Most people I know are single or are just in relationships and aren’t even thinking if marriage. So it’s been interesting.
But off that dead horse. But I’ve learned Mormons don’t drink alcohol. We have one actual bar in the town of Draper. When you live in PA you have one bar on every corner, sometimes two. You buy your beer by the case, but in Utah you buy it one at a time. Oh and cheep crappy beers are actually sold in stores. The REALLY creepy part is when you go somewhere to get a mixed drink or a beer on tap it’s not made at the bar, it’s made in the back. So since we’ve lived in Utah we haven’t ordered anything unless it’s been in a sealed bottle, opened in publics eye. One word ROFFIES!! One time was enough for me, I’m pretty sure I don’t want it to happen again. I’ll stick to bottled beer until I go back to a normal state. Also, you can’t get a drink with double shots, they have an alcohol percentage per drink. So we won’t be having Mad Elf this year.
Also, we went to a chalk festival, craft festival and a street fair. HIGHLY disappointed. Lewistowns tiny Art Show, McVeytowns Country Memories Day, Hanovers Dutch Days can put the stuff they put on her to shame. The craft festival, everyone hyped about, said it was amazing, we stopped at EVERY vendor and it took us exactly 45 minutes. The street fair we went to wasn’t even a 1/4 of the size of McVeytowns Country Memories Day. These were events held in Salt Lake, the largest city in Utah. Come on, a town of less then 100 people can throw an event better then yours that’s kinda sad. Another thing I took for granted while living back on the East Coast.
I miss being able to go to the Aquarium at the Inner Harbor, the Smithsonians, Atlantic City, Ocean City, Hershey Park, Chocolate World, Knobles Grove, the Zoo (where I don’t have to pay an arm and a leg to get into), the White House, the amazing Planetarium, the leaves changing, etc. All things I though, blah we’ll find something more amazing and fun. There’s zoo is expensive, there is no ocean or casinos, one amusement park, a half as planetarium that needs to be updates & everything’s dead.
Another thing you take for granted, other humans like you, aka friends and family. Yes there’s email, Skype, social media, but it’s never the same. I didn’t think I’d miss anyone. But you miss humans just like you. You miss spontaneous lunch dates, movie nights, fun parties, just watching tv together. To me it’s been like losing a part of me, like a kidney. You don’t need it to survive, but it’s there and you like it.
Also, FOOD. I didn’t realize how much food changes from different areas. We tried to go to a place that served what they called “authentic Philly cheesesteak”. But how is that possible when you have no wiz?! Onions, Wiz, Meat and a crappy sub roll to soak up the grease, needless to say we left. Then we went to some place called the Pie to be an authentic New York Pizza, I’m convinced they’ve never been to New York. My pizza dough was so thick, I couldn’t fold it, no grease, my cheese just didn’t taste right. I felt like I was eating all dough that was dry. They don’t have any Utah specialty food, except I guess is fry sauce, that’s just mayo and ketchup. Which back home I remember mostly only children ate that, but hey. No molasses cookies, whoopie pies, shoe-fly pie, ham pot-pie no not a pie, corn soup with rivals, no smell of Snyder’s Pretzels or Lions Club French fries. Just fry sauce.
All and all an experience I’m VERY happy I’ve done. It was a great learning experience, I think everyone should try picking up and just moving. Just let everything and go. You’ll have an amazing story to tell & you’ll know it’s like. You have to live it for yourself, not thur someone else. One day I’ll make it back home & one day I’ll get to tell my grandkids about this experience.