As of this week, I have now lived in Utah for ten years. Minus two years in Brazil and one summer in New York City.
I like to claim Utah as home, now, despite having grown up in California until the age of 18. That state was always my answer in college whenever anybody would ask, "Where are you from?" But the place that I did the most formative growing up is, arguably, the answer I give whenever anybody asks me now.
At least I try to answer "Utah" now. Old habits die hard.
But Utah, whether I always claim it or not, is home to me. I love the stretches of field and mountains, the people, the history, the quiet. I love that to get to work every day, I have to drive through several different places that you wouldn't guess are separate farm towns because they bleed together as one, and I get to go slow enough most of the drive that my average miles per gallon makes me feel like I drive a hybrid.
Fact: I have lived in Utah so long that in the time that I've been here, both of us have totally changed our minds about gay marriage. I don't know if that's significant.
I love camping in Utah. I love hiking in Utah. I love churchgoing in Utah. I love my friends and family in Utah. I love the sound of Utah crickets in my ears as I go to sleep knowing that Utah spiders are in my windowsill.
When I leave Utah for stretches, I love arriving again in Provo and opening my door and smelling and listening to my house. I hope that I can contribute back a fraction of what I have received from Utah. My home.