O Zion! dear Zion!

While we were on vacation in San Diego, I overheard Dean casually tell our friends who live there, “When I’m down here, I start trying to think of ways I could get a job in the San Diego area.”  I spent the rest of our vacation asking Dean when he was going to start sending out resumés.

There are many things I love about Utah.  I feel a strong connection to my beloved Rocky Mountains and to the beautiful red rock landscapes to the south.  I’m proud of and grateful for Utah’s pioneer heritage.  And I have dear friends here who’ve blessed my life profoundly.

But I think the first seven years of my life in sunny Northern California must have imprinted on me in a permanent way, and I’ve never learned to love the four seasons.  The longer I live in Utah, instead of getting used to the bleak, dry, dark, bitter weeks of deepest winter (from mid-January through February) the more I dread them, and the more they prove every bit as loathesome as I’d feared.  It’s particularly bad for a mom of young kids, because when you get housebound with sick kids (as can happen several times a year, and for weeks at a time) you have to seize every healthy moment to get out of the house and taste freedom.  But it’s not much of an escape to leave the house in dreary, slushy, February.

And even if the worst part of winter is only about six weeks long, the impact of those six weeks is much greater for me, since I start dreading them in August when school starts, and it takes me until the following August to recover.

So, even though I grew up here, love being near my family, am happy to see my kids thriving, and am thrilled that Dean enjoys his job at BYU, I couldn’t hear Dean’s casual comment about moving to San Diego without my mind flying off into fantasies of a lighter, brighter life, unpocked by the scars of Seasonal Affective Disorder, and unmired by seven soggy coats and seven pairs of muddy boots on my kitchen floor.

Right before BYU’s Fall Semester started, I was invited to go to a meeting at the Marriot Center where it would be announced (among lots of other awards and university business) that Dean had won a faculty award.  (The award was called the “Young Scholar Award.”  Another guy won the “BYU Class of 1949 Young Faculty Award.”)

(And here’s a tangent anecdote:  While I was arriving alone and parking my minivan at the Marriot Center, talking to myself aloud about finding a parking spot in the shade, I saw a plump middle-aged woman leave a van and make her way toward the building. I heard myself say, “There’s one just like me.  That makes me happy.”)

After the meeting, I told Dean that I had enjoyed listening to BYU President Samuelson’s candid remarks about management decisions for the university, including the challenges of keeping things going in a tight economy, and of LDS Church leaders’ caring involvement in decisions.  This session at the Marriot Center was part of a week-long annual conference held the week before school starts, which I think of as a week-long pep talk, with speakers that include education experts and General Authorities of the Church.

Later in the week, Dean told me, “I wish you could have attended some of the other meetings.”

“So, they’ve been really inspiring, huh?”

“Yes.  I start to feel like, ‘I would work here for free!'”

“Yeah.  Not that I would let you.  So . . . no more plans to move to San Diego?”

“No.  Not right now.”

“So I should ask you again in February?”

Dean laughed.  “Yeah, ask me again in February.”

So for now, at least, my family is safe from the ruined economy, traffic, overcrowding, and crazy real estate prices of Southern California.

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13 Responses to O Zion! dear Zion!

  1. Hannah says:

    I also think that moving to San Diego is a good idea. The problem is that it’s just an “idea.”

    Also Ethan just saw the last photo of Hazel and said, “ethan!” He thought it was a picture of him. Apparently, I’m not the only one dreaming of sunny beaches as fall approaches.

  2. Lili says:

    Oh Zina, Dear Zina.

  3. Lili says:

    It’s funny how you compare living in N. Cali to Utah, and Utah seems harder in the winter, because what happens to me is that I compare winter in Utah to winter in Ireland/England, where the sun went down at 3:30 on the shortest day of the year (if it ever comes out through all the clouds at all), and ever since, winter here is so much easier to bear. (Not easy to bear, just easier)

    It’s all relative, I suppose!

    • zstitches says:

      Yup, it’s all relative. The funny thing is that I did grow to love the Belgian climate, so I ought to learn to love Utah’s–but haven’t managed to.

      But no place is perfect–which helps us to miss and long for our heavenly home.

    • Deedah says:

      Relative indeed. SD winter? Try SD as in South Dakota. Winter from October thru April. Snow fallen in November that finally melts come March. Weeks on end without ever (day or night) seeing temperatures rise to the positive side of fahrenheit. Me, I perpetually yearn for the temperate Puget Sound.

  4. Rachel says:

    Zina,
    Huntington Beach is pretty great too. The church is pretty strong here and we’re close to several universities (UC Irvine, Cal State Long Beach, Chapman). But I have to agree that Utah often sounds nice to me…much bigger, cheaper houses being the main draw. And I miss the snow. And the fall leaves. But CA is home to me, and where my family is, and where my kids’ dad has a job, so here I’ll stay. So while I’m poor here, I’ll still enjoy the ward that I love and the beach (every member of our bishopric surfs), and especially all the benefits of family being nearby. Please enjoy nature for me there!
    🙂

  5. Thora says:

    It’s funny. My biggest, fondest dream in life is for Avram to get a job at BYU as a professor. But, I grew up in Utah. I like the Midwest, and Ohio, and I could live here forever. But every Summer, when it gets humid, I about die. I don’t think I’ll ever get used to humidity, even if I live with it for the rest of my life. Of course, I’ve never experienced no winter – maybe if I did I’d be sold on California. In fact, I’m sure I would secretly love no winter. But, unfortunately, the rest of the nation also loves no winter, which is why they live in California, and the thought of bad traffic and expensive housing makes me cringe. I do think that no where is perfect – even the early saints in Utah spent their time dreaming of returning to Missouri someday.

  6. danithew says:

    New York is where the church began and its where the members of the church should be. All members of the church outside of New York are in exile.

    I am, of course, completely objective about these things.

  7. Mikilani says:

    Berkeley ruined my life too! I can’t help but compare everyplace that I’ve lived since graduate school to NorCal and they never stand up. The climate, the food, the people, the culture… The list goes on and on (and on). Too bad there’s no BYU – Oakland! 😉

  8. Jen says:

    I laughed so hard about your tangential anecdote, “Oh, there’s one like me. That makes me happy.” I think it is really funny that you talk out loud to yourself the way I sometimes do. I also think it’s funny that you consider yourself middle aged, when I do not think of you as even close to that.

    When I was a missionary and had a really hard day, sometimes I would make my companion get in or out of the car so I could be alone and talk myself through it for a minute.

  9. Emily S. says:

    Come to San Diego, and you can be near us! The weather is heavenly. Truly.

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