So, as most of you know, I recently moved to Logan, Utah to attend school at Utah State University, where I will be majoring in social work. It was a big step, not just for me, but for my entire family. Because it's not just me, anymore. I have big, important ties to people now, and everything I do affects them. It was a big deal for us to pick up and move down here, but we did it. We've been here three weeks now, and I can honestly say that I couldn't be happier. Here are some things I love about my new city:
- Family. Two of my little brothers are in school and live here, too. My oldest brother and his wife are expecting a baby in January, so I get to be around for that and I am super excited. My second oldest brother may end up graduating at the same time as me, which would be awesome. I'm just really excited that we're all here and we can hang out together and stuff. You kind of miss that once you leave home and go your separate ways. Also, we left behind some awesome family support with my husband's parents and brothers in Burley. My mother-in-law has babysat the girls since Piper was born and has had a major hand in raising them, which I will be eternally grateful for. So I was a little concerned about moving here, especially when it came to the whole daycare thing. My brothers are busy with their own lives and everything and I didn't want to bother them. My oldest brother and his wife came over the other day though and were asking me about that stuff and if I'd found anything yet, and apparently, they had been talking about maybe her just watch the girls for us. She doesn't work and hasn't been able to get a job because they're in income-based housing so they can't go over that limit, plus she's pregnant and would have to take maternity leave in 5 months. Anyways, she's going to come over here every afternoon to watch the girls while I go to class. We'll still pay her, but we worked out something that was affordable for us and still reasonable for her. Plus she's family and I trust her, so that was a huge relief, and a huge weight off my shoulders. It's awesome to have family support. I would never be able to do any of this school stuff without it.
- Reconnecting with old friends. A few months ago, I found out that one of my very best friends from California had recently moved to Logan with her husband, so of course, I've been even more excited to move here ever since. We've kept in touch over the years, but it always makes me a little nervous to see people I haven't seen in a long time, because experience has taught me that people change and sometimes you don't click as well as you used to, and for some reason, that's always really devastating to me. Anyways, we met up last week and went to lunch at Olive Garden, and it was so much fun. We still have a lot in common and talked and laughed so much. She was one of the people who kind of got me interested in writing, so we talked about that a little, and it turns out she still writes, too, so that was really awesome. I left and realized that even though I'd said and done some of my usual socially awkward things--things I'm usually squirming about for days afterwards--I wasn't squirming. I wasn't embarrassed. We were best friends as kids, and now we're both grown up, and it feels like we're still best friends, and that's so awesome. I haven't had a friend like that to hang out with in a really long time, and I am definitely looking forward to hanging out with her again and reconnecting.
- Food and Shopping. So this is very materialistic of me, but I don't care. One thing that drove me a little crazy about Burley was that there weren't many choices when it came to going out to eat or going shopping or even just buying groceries. I definitely don't have that problem anymore. Need some new clothes (which I do, right now)? I don't have to settle for something I don't really like just because there's nothing else available to me (and let me tell you something--this is always a challenge if you are a woman over 5' 5" with ginormous feet and picky about your clothes. Can't find the obscure ingredient I need for food? That's ok, I'll drive a few blocks and try some other store. There are two Walmarts here. TWO! And two Smiths. One of which has an amazingly large selection of actually really nice clothing and shoes. And in Idaho, when Alex and I would go on dates, we used to go to the same restaurants over and over again because that's all there was. I seriously think we could live here ten years and not eat at even half the places in town. It's amazing.
- THE LIBRARY. THE LIBRARY GUYS!!! Do you know how long it has been since I have lived in a city with a decent library? TEN YEARS! Ten freaking long years. I mean, sure, the Burley library was okay-ish. But it was so small and they really didn't have much. Especially when it came to YA, fantasy/sci-fi, and books on writing (which is most of what I read). Plus you had to pay for a card if you lived outside city limits, and city limits were very limiting. We technically lived outside city limits for all but 1.5 years we were there. So anyways, I went to the library today. And I am still reveling in the awesomeness. It was glorious. So many books. I was there for an hour, and I didn't even see everything I wanted to see. Their YA section is HUGE, as is their sci-fi/fantasy selection. They have at least a hundred books on writing (I will finally be able to read Stephen King's On Writing, since I checked it out today). They have an entire section dedicated to "Social Issues," which I'm sure will come in handy when I inevitably have to write papers for my social work classes. They let you check out 50 things at a time. 50! Not that I ever would, but knowing that I can is immensely satisfying. The best part? They have several bookcases dedicated to graphic novels, including the complete Fullmetal Alchemist manga. I think I may have died and gone to heaven. Like, the angels were singing and everything. Glorious. Absolutely glorious.
- Diversity. To put things bluntly, in Burley, there are white people and Latinos. A few other members of various minorities, but when I say a few, I literally mean a few. White people and Latinos. Not that there is anything wrong with white people and Latinos. But one of the biggest reasons why I hated Burley was that so many people were so narrow-minded when it came to people who were different from them. Even the Latino population faced a lot of prejudice, and hearing people make judgmental comments just really grated on me. I'm not saying it will be perfect here, because it won't. I'm sure there are bigots here, too. But there are also a lot of different types of people here, and I think that helps, maybe. There are black people and white people and Asians and Muslims and Christians and Jews and Latinos and Arabs and Indians and all kinds of people. I love it. Seeing so much diversity when I haven't really seen it in a long time is awesome. I love learning about different kinds of people and cultures and the problems they face and how they overcome their challenges and so on. That's why I'm studying social work. It's just awesome to live in a city with so much more diversity than what I experienced in Burley.
- Radio Stations. Another thing Burley lacked was radio stations. Unless you like country music (and I don't). I always just used to listen to the music on my phone, which is great and all, but it's kind of fun to listen to the radio and not know what's coming next and occassionally hear songs you've never heard before. There are a ton of radio stations here, and better, a ton of non-country radio stations. I'm still picking out my favorite ones to program to the preset buttons on my car.
- College town. This is a huge college town, so just exploring a little, I have seen a ton of places that offer student discounts and stuff like that. There's also a ton of school spirit. Everyone is selling blue Utah State t-shirts, sweaters, and caps. The Smith's down the road from us has this ongoing "find the bull" plushie game in the store for kids and a big display of Pepsi cases in the shape of an A. (A for Aggie...I still have no idea what an Aggie is, but the mascot is a bull....so maybe it's some type of cattle?) I mean, admittedly, I'm was never one for being big on school spirit and all that, but it's kind of cool to see. And student discounts are awesome.
- It's gorgeous. There are mountains all around us, and Logan is kind of situated at the highest point in this canyon that leads up into Pocatello, ID on one side and back down to the freeway and Salt Lake on the other side. It's really green and the mountains are pretty, but the canyon is absolutely beautiful. I drove the canyon to the freeway a couple weeks ago, and I'd never been that way before, and it was so freaking pretty. Probably a little dangerous in winter, but so pretty. I wouldn't mind driving that every day.