The last time we moved (back from Hawaii) it was such a HUGE ordeal that I never wanted to move again. Ever. I remember telling Micah he'd have to scrape my dead body off the kitchen floor before we ever moved houses again. Yet here I am, 3 years and 4 months later, feeling that itch to move again. It doesn't seem sensible after all the time we've spent planting roots here, but the more I think about it, our roots still don't run very deep.
Sure we've chopped down the old pine trees in the front yard and Micah has planted long-term fruit bearing trees for us to enjoy in the years to come. And sure we've planted raspberries all along the front lawn and the asparagus crop will be ready to harvest in another year. Providing long-term food sources has been a big priority to my husband as we've made a point to settle down here.
Plus we've made a few adjustments to the house to make it feel more like home to us. I've given myself the liberty to paint the upstairs bedrooms in all the boldest, brightest colors possible, making my home feel more like...me! I really don't see any potential buyers loving my periwinkle and squash colored walls like I do. Or my yellow door.
However, as I take this all in--our home, our trees, our garden, our painted walls- there's still some pieces missing here for me in beautiful Southern Utah. Our roots don't seem to want to hold on as tight as I'd like to think because however breathtaking and beautiful and wonderful Southern Utah can be, It's been difficult to feel like I belong here as a person.
I've talked this subject over with Micah again and again and we both feel the same way and have come to the same conclusion: There's nowhere perfect in the world to live and you have to make compromises anywhere you go. i.e. The Big island was awesome but we couldn't afford to live on Oahu, which is the ideal Hawaii living experience for me (us). If we lived there long-term and bought a home we also couldn't afford to ever leave, which would forfeit any plans to travel and show our children the world. So, we moved back to Cedar City where real estate was cheap and there were so many awesome wilderness opportunities. Life has been good to us here. Micah has a great job and our children love the outdoors.
But, here's the things I don't like, and the things that don't work for me, and the compromises we've had to make:
*There's no homeschool community here that we can be a part of. The homeschooling community that does partially exist here is not the right fit for us. The people are nice but it ends there. No offense to the nice people, we just have different ideals, and different perceptions on what we want out of homeschooling. So basically homeschooling my kids here has been an isolating experience. I see how co-ops are done in other places and I know it can be something amazing and beneficial to homeschooling families, but It's just not happening here. The compromise has been homeschooling my kids anyways, sending them to public schools at times, and enjoying the awesome experiences in the natural surroundings we have. I also see a special bond between my boys that we have formed in our family from years of just being with us. They are each other's best friends and companions.
*The Mormon Culture here is wacky. In Mormon culture (not religion) which dominates the Utah population, many people here confuse church culture with the true gospel of Christ. Sadly, I see so many people trying so hard to get away from the culture of the church that they incidentally move farther and farther away from the blessings of the gospel.
The true gospel is the glorious plan of God that allows us to follow the Savior and return to live with our Heavenly father. Our ultimate goal is to have eternal life in the presence of God! We can have this by living the true gospel! Having an established and organized church on earth is God's way of orchestrating all of it into one magnificent structure of purpose and goodness.
However, with any organized religion also comes cultural customs and traditions that get passed down and passed on without thought. Latter-Day-Saints already have a very distinct set of commandments and instructions on how to live the gospel and reach eternal life so by adding unnecessary rules and customs constructed through cultural traditions, we are taking away from the real purposes of the gospel. (The church is not a social club.)
Many of these wacky traditions have stuck here in Utah and they are constantly confused with living righteously. I often don't feel like we fit in here because we don't subscribe to the cultural norms, yet we still live and believe our religion. It frustrates me to no end when someone is surprised to find out I'm LDS right here in my little community (because it has happened several times.) Or when I meet a new friend and I can tell they want to share the gospel with me until I break it to them that I've been a devout LDS for 15 years, I just don't "look" like a Utah Mormon. grrrrrr.
The compromise is that there are a lot of good, well-meaning Christians all around us and people are nice here. We have good neighbors and can feel the safety and security of living in a sheltered area where crime is low and all your neighbors bring you cookies at Christmas.
*Next, it's been really hard to make friends.
This is such a beautiful and unique little community that many people come here to go to college and then leave. There's an 80% turnover rate in our ward alone for college students that graduate and move on every couple years. On the flip side there are families that have been here for generations that never leave. Most of the established families we know have generations of family surrounding them...aunts, uncles, cousins, grandmas, moms and dads-they're all still living here in Cedar City or surrounding areas.
So for us, as transplants with no family here, and who arent' from here, and who aren't school students, but want to feel established here, it's hard to get our foot in the door to find like-minded people who want to hang out.
Most of the good friends I've made have graduated and have moved or are moving soon, and the established families don't have a lot of extra room for us. I don't blame them! If I had lots of family here it would be harder for me to spend a lot of time and energy reaching out to lonely transplants when I could just call up my sister or my aunt to hang out. I look around us, especially during the holidays, and see people's homes filled with cousins and grandmas and moms and nieces and nephews and I get it!-- but it's still hard. It's hard to realize that we live in a place where we have a million kind acquaintances, but few real friends.
The compromise is to keep enjoying the wonderful folks we've gotten to know and serve through our ward, and of course to keep trying---to keep reaching out to meet new friends who may need a friend. Also to enjoy the closeness that our little family feels when again and again we are doing things with just us to celebrate the holidays and the swiftly moving years of their childhoods. Our kids are great friends!
*I don't like the cold. I really don't. The snow is beautiful for about a week and then I'm done. Plus winter-time exacerbates my feelings of isolation and sadness. The compromise is (my compromise) is that my children love it (and my husband, too.) Their little faces get so excited when it snows! They can spend hours out there playing and sledding and discovering cool shapes and textures in the ice and snow. Their love for snow is contagious! Another compromise is that I get to snowboard a couple times a year. It's fun and helps me recharge my busy mom batteries. I can't say I love snowboarding, but it's a fun distraction from the cold. Plus I'm naturally pretty good at it so it boosts my feelings of awesomeness. j/k
So these are just a few thoughts about moving I've been having lately. Like I said, these thoughts are to be taken lightly because there are so many wonderful things we do love about Southern Utah. And moving is a stressful huge ordeal that I'd like to avoid. I also want to do what's best for our growing children. There's only 8 more years til Z-boy is 18 and going on his mission. I feel like we need to take the next 8 years of special family time into careful consideration. Time is precious. Families are precious and need to be protected.
Is moving the best option? Is the grass sometimes greener somewhere else when really we just need to keep blooming here? Another thought is that I always to want to move every Winter. haha. These thoughts may flee as soon as springtime comes around.
There's also the question of where would we move to?
We've thought in the past about moving to the Northwest to be closer to my family up in Seattle and Oregon. We also really like the culture and natural beauty up there, but we've also considered the impact the overcast and rainy skies would have on my depression. There are much fewer sunny days even compared to Cedar City, so that can't be good long-term. Plus, there's the possibility that we could move there and then my mom, sister, and two brothers could all move away. haha. I don't want to put all our eggs in one basket, so to speak, although I think it would be fun to have family to be around for once.
Another option is sunny San Diego. There are a few neighborhoods we've looked into that have neutral climates, sunny skies, awesome gardening opportunities, mountains with snow within an hour's drive, and an ocean nearby, which would be so wonderful to be near the sea again!
Then there's Australia. Oh Australia! Micah and I both have an obsession, although he's actually been there to visit and knows he loves it there and I have only seen pictures and heard the stories. Moving out of the country would be so hard for me, yet the allure of Australia keeps coming back. Micah has wanted to move there for years. I'm not sure if I could do it.
Darn moving thoughts! Time for thinking, praying, and considering all options.
To be continued.....