Sweet Home Utah Part 2

CA to UTWhen we decided to move from Orange County California to South Jordan Utah, we expected a culture change.  In 50 years, we’d become used to the mostly wonderful climate, the plethora of entertainment venues and eateries, the gorgeous beaches and regional parks.  We’d also adapted to the somewhat frenetic lifestyle, freeways so crowded we planned our life around rush hours and the sometimes overwhelming materialism of the wealthy.  What we got was an introduction to living in a beautiful new house during a pandemic, a pandemic during which my wife Muri dealt with breast cancer.  Without face-to-face contact with anyone but our daughter’s family and one couple next door.  We shopped in masks and ordered restaurant food from curbside pickup.   My wife’s cancer treatment was grueling but effective and we didn’t catch COVID (until two months ago).  We emerged from 2020 ready to learn what it was like to live unrestricted in Utah.  Here’s what we found.

Given the open spaces and beautiful surroundings, Utahns are dedicated toutahmtns enjoying the outvdoors,  Nearly everyone has a motorhome and the neighborhoods are crisscrossed with bike and running trails.  Lots of people actually use them.   It makes me sad that I am beyond my cycling and running years but I do walk them regularly.   Theer are beautiful places to visit but they can be crowded with outdoors-loving people.  Except on Sundays.   Mormons spend two or three hours in church on Sundays and observant Mormons do not engage in commerce on Sunday, so stores and restaurants are relatively empty … if they are open.  Many close on Sunday.  Incidentally, hard liquor and wine are only sold in State Liquor Stores, which charge substantially more than what we were used to.   For some reason, you can buy beer and hard seltzer (gack) in supermarkets.

We were used to having dozens of restaurants we loved within a 45 minute drive in California.   Here, not so much.   Fast food restaurants are everywhere and chicken strips are king.   One restaurant, Cane’s, claims they are their One Love.  Yikes.  Burger places are everywhere, as are Mexican restaurants, though we have yet to find one we like as much as our favorites in CA.   In our area there are mostly chain restaurants like Chili’s or Olive Garden.   We have gradually found a few fine dining places but they are very expensive.  Still, as we age, our appetites are smaller and we don’t crave luxury as often.  Perhaps the area we thought we’d miss the most was live theater. After all, the LA area is probably second to New York in venues for live theater.   But we have had subscriptions to two local theaters that do an interesting mix of plays in a very professional manner.   In particular, The Pioneer Theater on the University of Utah campus comes close to most of our California venues.

So, Utah is our home.  It doesn’t feel quite so much so that our grandkids (and their parents) have moved away, but we are OK,   And at seventy-something, OK is good.

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