I just feel like writing... something. First, we are experiencing a bit of culture shock. I am at least. And I'm not talking about seeing a church on every corner either. It's the accent. I grew up here, so it really shouldn't be weird to me, but come on--if you "fill" like taking a "pitcher" of me, I just might start crying. I don't mean to offend anyone that may actually say "pitcher" instead of "picture", but we have heard several people say it since we got here and frankly, it's kind of weirding me out. On the bright side, since I spent half my growing up years here and did pick up some "Utahn", I can now say "bolth" again freely, not that I ever learned how to say that one right anyway, and "freeway" instead of "highway" without getting made fun of. Just please, pleeease don't let me pick up "pitcher" and "fill", to name a few.
On a positive note, there have been some pleasant changes as well. One was when Jared went in for his first day of work, they handed him a paper with his salary on it and it was more than what they had told him. It was actually the amount that he had asked for when he got the offer, but they told him they couldn't raise the salary. Instead, they gave him a sweet relocation package to make up for it. So not only did we get the relocation package, but we got the amount we wanted as well. First day on the job and he already got a raise. Sweet! Although, he hasn't had a raise since...
I kept hearing about the cost of living being lower here, but I don't know, everything seemed affordable enough in Florida. It was all we ever knew. As it turns out, a lot of things are actually cheaper here, like cheese and milk. Today I called to get some rates for car insurance and found out that we can get it for 75% less than in Florida! And our home owner's insurance for a year is just over the amount we were paying for one month! I guess the hurricane risk is a bit lower here. I am so glad I am going this direction and not the other. These people probably think I'm so weird when they tell me the rates because I keep asking if they are mistaken and repeating the numbers. It's a little baffling, to be honest, but a great change. Seriously, these Utah people don't know how good they have it.
Everything has seemed to go really smoothly so far with the move, and I owe almost all of it to the previously mentioned relocation package. It really has been such a blessing! I fill--I mean I feel so spoiled. All of our stuff arrived here on Saturday, and mostly all in one piece. There were four different stickers marking our things to show which place it needed to go and whether the packers boxed it or the mover marked it. Just a little complicated. I was so impressed by how good these people were. We had the best driver and the best helpers. They were amazingly fast. I cannot even imagine trying to pack and move everything ourselves. Our driver said it would have taken at least two U-Hauls. It ended up being 12,500 lbs. I don't know if that sounds like a lot or a little. Sometimes I feel like a hoarder and that I should have dumped half of it, but our driver reassured us that this was actually not a lot of stuff. We put about 1/3 into the basement apartment and 2/3 of into a 10' x 20' storage unit which, I am a little embarrassed to say, is almost completely full. The movers packed it as tight as they do a truck. Yeah, it's probably too much stuff. But, in my defense, there is a lot of food storage, furniture and lawn equipment in there. That's all stuff we want to keep. Plus, I'm sure that a good portion of it is made up of packing material.
The next piece of the puzzle was getting our cars. They arrived yesterday, quite dirty, but other than that, just how we left them--minus the duct tape that was holding on the door handle. Yep, that's the kind of car we drive. I was so happy to see them, and even happier to drive them. You would think I would have liked the brand new SUV rental better than our 12 year old mini-van, but driving it was a source of comfort, I guess. And it was much easier to get the kids in and out of, not to mention the double stroller. They said they were dropping the cars off between 9:00 and 10:00 am and needed $2300 in cash or certified check, neither of which I had or would have by 10:00 am. So, since Jared took the rental car, I walked to the grocery store with the kids to get a certified check because the bank there opened at 10:00. "Do you have an account here?", the nice man asked. "No, but I have this debit card... it's my husband's, because I left my wallet in the rental car... ha...ha... Sooo, that also means I don't have my license. I have a passport though... with my maiden name on it... oh, and also, it's been expired for four years." Looking back, I have no idea why he gave me that check for $2300 when the name on the debit card had absolutely no relation to the name or picture on the passport. It's like these people just expect you to be honest or something. I mean, I was and all. But in case you are someone that's not, this would be a good way to get $2300. Here's a hint though, take four kids with you. It ups your credibility, I can only imagine.
The other day driving back from our weekend at Jared's parents', Marissa said, "I just want to go home." It was at that moment Jared and I realized that this isn't home. I mean, it just doesn't feel like home yet. Not at all. That could have something to do with the fact that we don't actually have a home here yet and are still living out of suitcases. Our routines are all skiwampus and we've been roaming from house to house trying to make sense of this place. I'm sure things will get better once we are more settled in our temporary dwelling.
We've also been having meetings with our builder trying to finalize all of our architectural changes and design decisions, which are extensive. Good grief. They make it sound like this house is so inexpensive until you find out what all the upgrades are. "Oh, you wanted windows and a roof?" Okay, it's not that bad, but the things we want are really adding up. We are trying to limit it to things that we can't change later, like the third car garage, the cold storage and the laundry room drain (yes, that's an upgrade--and we're getting it because it's on the second floor). Even so, we are definitely over budget. And these decisions are hard, like matching floors, cabinets and counter tops while still being economical. It will be done soon and the building process will begin. I feel so good about this home and have never had any second thoughts about it since we made the decision. I love the neighborhood, the plan... everything. Sometimes it seems so arbitrary and random, how you pick a place to live, but I do think God has a hand in these decisions and guides you to the right place. I can only go by my feelings, and I do feel like it is the right place.
All these big changes, and being homeless, have kind of all come crashing down on me lately, and as a result, I think I am manifesting it in being boring and socially awkward. Has time really sapped me of all fun? I used to like fun. I can only blame the stress, so as to convince myself that this phase is temporary. I don't think I idealized Utah in any way, but I am finding it hard to find my place socially. I mean even among family. I don't feel like I fit anywhere yet. I hope I can at some point. About half way through the big family reunion we had on the 4th I just gave up trying. It was a good day for a lot of people, but I guess not really for me. I wished I had been at the 4th of July party that we have gone to for years in Florida, with my friends that I already know I would have fun with. Oh well. Like I said before, there is a lot of good here in Utah and I will find my place, whatever that may be.