Thursday, May 25, 2006

A Fish out of Water!

Last night after work, I was to meet my father at the Layton Hills Mall, so we could buy me some maternity clothes as a late birthday present. So I picked up Rebecca, and we went to look around while waiting for my Dad, who would get off about an hour later.
At first, the weirdness was the uncrowded atmosphere of the mall. Where are all the people? How do the stores make enough money to stay open? Rebecca and I kept seeing signs for "help wanted" and Rebecca's comment was "What for? Who would they sell to?"
The second weirdness was that we slowly strolled through some stores and no sales person came up to us. Do they not need their commission? We were not just quickly walking through. We stopped and gawked at the prices, hardly believing the stores could make money at such cheap prices. Of course, Rebecca is used to seeing the price tags at Bloomingdales. The only person who tried to sell us anything was the guy at T-Mobile. Maybe he is hurting for some extra cash. Who knows.
The weirdest part of the night for me was Deseret Book. I have been to Deseret Book several times in my life, but this time it felt different. Surreal, actually. As if this was a strange new planet. There really was a book on the shelf called "What Da Vinci Didn't Know-an LDS Perspective on the Da Vinci Code". Do people really think they could know what Da Vinci did or did not know? I don't even think Dan Brown, author of the Da Vinci Code, claimed to "know" what Da Vinci knew. I think he was writing a book of fiction. Maybe I am wrong.
The store itself was wide, with bright lights shining. The music quiet. Almost to inspire a "heaven-like" atmosphere, I guess. It was strange to me to see the comercialization of mormonism. In New York, I had gotten used to the church as a church. I am now back where the church is a big business. "Sell me the Spirit!" Now, I know there are worthwhile books, and I own many of them myself. Perhaps I have just become too worldly to enter into the likes of Deseret Book. I also heard a commercial for a bank, talking about a loan rate, and mentioning a fathers son on a mission. Not only strange, but doesn't the prophet counsel us against debt?
So begins my life in Utah.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

I've made it!

We came into Utah on Sunday afternoon, and I promptly started work on Monday. Everyone has warned me over and over again about traffic, so I have left extra prepared. However, I just end up at work early. So in the few minutes before my actual shift starts, I just thought I would let everyone know that we are here. Of course, Arwin is still in New York, which is not the happiest thing, but he seems to be doing okay. My new office is very nice. In Utah they have more space to create office buildings I guess. It is exciting to have my own office, my own computer, my own secretary, etc. Makes me feel very grown up.
The rest of the drive was uneventful, except for the fact that I HATE WYOMING!!!! I am sorry if I offend anyone who lives there. Jackson Hole is nice, but driving through Wyoming is awful. I did not enjoy it at all. I think it is the acne of mother nature. Just a personal opinion.
Well, hopefully after I get settled I will be able to write something more exciting.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Perpetual Pennsylvania

We are now in Toledo, Ohio. How nice that the hotel has computer access. Rebecca was more excited about the waffle maker at the free breakfast. In a few moments we will begin again.
The trip has not been exciting. This is because Pennsylvania feels like it goes on for an eternity. It does not help that it is impossible to speed with a moving truck. I almost cried when we hit the Ohio state line, because we were finally in another state.
Rebecca and her father have been the commanders of the truck. More power to them. I rode with Rebecca in the truck for a little while, and knew that I could not drive that thing. I think I would be so panicked that I would tip the whole thing over. However, Rebecca thinks it makes her feel tough.
Well, we better get on the road again. Wish us luck. Nebraska is worse than Pennsylvania, so I hope I do not loose my mind!

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Passionate Prayers

Today at work we had a memorial service for a young man who died at the residence where I work. It was very moving, very passionate. The people speaking, saying the prayers, etc, were so touching. They truly loved this little boy, and believed he had gone to a better place.
The nicest part was the diversity of reliogion found in that room. We had Jewish, we had baptist, we had catholic, myself(LDS), etc, etc, etc. We all came together to honor a life well lived, and put aside our differences. Every one put their own beliefs into their words, and respected those who believed different than they do. I felt so happy seeing everyone respect one another.
We (Arwin, Rebecca, and I) enjoy watching "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" every week on Sundays. This week there was a Hindu family in Queens. I was so impressed how the crew of the show honored this families religion, and prepared a home in that honor.
I wish we could all have that respect for each others beliefs. I wish we could all get together and celebrate life, rather than thinking "my way is better than your way". I wish there were no wars and no contentions over religion. I think God was proud of the service we had today. I don't see any reason why my prayers would be heard more than anyone else's in the room. What a great moment today was.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Hidden Blessings of Piano Lessons

It is no secret that being clumsy runs in my family. My mother was very thrilled when she finally made it through a whole trip to New York not falling down (only to trip at the very end in the drug store at the bottom of the Empire State building.)
Well, the apple didn't fall too far from the tree. I am consistently falling, dropping things, breaking things. Glass objects do not seem to last long in my apartment.
Yesterday I was walking up the steps of the CUNY Graduate center when I lost my balance and began to fall. I was a little nervous because I was falling toward my stomach, and people say that can be a danger to the baby. So my only thought was to stop my fall. However, I only had my right hand free. So I placed out my right hand to catch my entire body.
It worked! It was amazing. I held my body up sideways by one hand. There was a sharp shooting pain in my wrist, and I was worried that I could have broken it. However, I could move it right away, and a day later there is still no swelling.
Only one thing could have provided me with a wrist that strong. Years and years of piano lessons. What a great lesson to learn. Have your kids take piano lessons, it can help them avoid nasty falls and save wrists from breaking. Thanks Mom and Dad for your willingness to help me get strong wrists!

Thursday, May 04, 2006


Okay, so last night I went to what is most likely my last Broadway play for awhile. Not ever, because I will be back frequently. Once you become part of the city, you can't really leave it behind.
Of course, we saw Wicked again. Yes, I have seen this show too many times, but each time I love it just the same. However, Arwin and I were very sad, because the reason we got these tickets (purchased way back in February) was to see one of our favorite actresses, Eden Espinosa. We unfortunately saw the understudy.
The understudy was fabulous. We really enjoyed the show. It is just sad when you really hope to see someone else. I know I cannot complain. I did get to see the original cast several times. Instead, I want to take a moment to say that I think being an understudy would be a very hard job. The woman playing Elphaba, Saycon Sengbloh, seemed a little nervous at first, but by the end was breathtaking. As a person who as spent the last few years learning a new job in short amount of time (I have been averaging six months in between promotions) I know that being put on the spot can be nerve racking. I can't imagine going to work, expecting to play a chorus person, and being told, "Well, paint yourself green, you are on in three hours." What a challenge it must be to focus and prepare for such a performance. Besides knowing that many people will be disappointed that you are the one they are seeing, not the star they paid for.
So, considering all of that, Saycon was very talented. I have seen three women play Elphaba, and she was a close second best. Of course, people always tend to favor the original, so Idina will always be my favorite.

How can I leave?

So the time has come to return to Utah. I am 27 years old, and I have been living in the New York City area for almost three years. I started in Manhattan, then had a brief stay in Queens, and settled for the long haul in Brooklyn. When I came to New York I was a 24 year old single woman who had just barely graduated from college. I am now a 27 year old married, pregnant professional. I dreamt of living in the big city all my life. I had it in my head "If I could make it here, I could make it anywhere!" And, not to brag, but I did pretty well. I had several promotions in my company, was able to take a year long masters certificate program at the City University of New York on full scholarship, and do something I really never found possible in Utah, find a husband!
So, why then, am I leaving? Mainly because my mother has cancer, and I feel that it is time to move home and be with her. Other strong factors: As much as I love the city, I want my baby to have a backyard to play in. I want my baby to have cousins to hang out with. I want to be able to afford the cost of living, and not pay a full paycheck toward a roach infested shoebox of an apartment. I want to have a separation between work and home. I do not want to spend my entire life sitting on the subway.
Reactions from friends and co-workers are usually of two separate minds. There are those who are appalled that I would go back to the "country" after experiencing what "real life" has to offer. Others, when they see the cost of living, and think of their own tired lives, ask me if a Jewish woman would be able to find friends in Utah, because they want to come along. I even had a Physical Therapist at my work wonder out loud if he could commute by plane from SLC to NYC when he saw the cost of houses. He said the plane ride daily may end up cheaper than his current condo payment.
So, how do I feel? I admit that my emotions are very mixed. I will limit my emotions to three catergories: What I will miss, What I will not miss, and What I am scared of.
What I will miss: Culture. I will miss the fact that the people I work with are from ten different countries, rather than just serving missions there. I will miss the smells of lunch at work, where someone is eating a dish from the West Indies, while another is eating a Kosher Sandwich, someone else has Halal meat, while I am eating left over Filippino food. I will miss the fact that people have so many different religions and beliefs, and that we can discuss and share all of them. I will miss being different from everyone else in a good way (because in Utah I am seen as different from the "Mormon" norm in a bad way.) I will miss the ocean. Oh, will I miss the ocean so much! I will miss the members of my ward, and the fact that the majority are converts, and the majority do not speak English as their first language. I will miss shopping at Shop-Rite on Friday night, when the lines are extremely short because of the Shabbat. I will miss the food at ward parties. I will miss seeing people at church in pants, with tatoos, and any other number of "scandalous" attire. I will miss being able to sing louder than the congregation. I will miss Broadway, of course. I will miss fruit stands. I will miss tax free food and clothing. I will miss the people I work with. I will miss being needed in the ward rather than being a number. The list could go on and on.
What I will not miss: I will not miss the smells of the subway. I will not miss seeing someone throw up on the subway. I will not miss riding the train while pregnant. I will not miss the laundromat. I will not miss my high car insurance payment. I will not miss the high price of gas. I will not miss needing to ride the subway for half an hour just to enjoy a patch of grass. I will not miss alternate side of the street parking. I will not miss parallel parking. I will not miss the elevated cost of a burger at Wendy's. I will not miss the fact that it takes over an hour to get just about anywhere! I will not miss paying over ten dollars to see a movie. I will not miss humidity. Although I will miss the sisters of my ward, I will not miss the pressure of being RS president. I will not miss tolls on tunnels, bridges, roads, etc. I will not miss hearing about family activies rather than attending them. Again, this list could also go forever.
What I am scared of: Going to church. I am not looking forward to returning to a Utah ward where everyone looks, dresses, and acts the same. I am scared that I have developed a lot of impatience, and I will snap at the perky person bagging my groceries, or honk at every person who slows down in front of me. I am scared to death of enrichment activities that include glue guns and scrapbooking and any number of "crafty" activities. I am scared of having conversations with people who think of Anita Stansfield as a best seller and Michael McClean as a hit record. I am scared of the judging looks I will get as I continue to work after my baby is born, and even continue to work on a Master's degree. I am scared of the pointing fingers and judgmental attitudes that made me want to leave Utah in the first place. I am scared of being separated from my husband while he finishes the school year. (It was the best way to work everything out, for me to take a job in Utah now, and for him to finish teaching here in Brooklyn for the school year.)
Maybe I am irrational. I hope to find people who I can bond with. I have always had friends in Utah in the past, and I know there is diversity there if you look close enough. In some ways I hope my worries are unfounded, but unfortunately I imagine some of them will be right on the nail.