For someone who was, how shall we say, excited to leave Provo, I find myself missing some things about P-town. This is a little hard to admit but I think most of the things I miss are things people miss just by virtue of location change. Other than friends, family, and Cafe Rio, Provo didn't fulfill many of my needs. I loved living in a college town...when I was in college. Year after year of staying there just made me frustrated, spiritually, emotionally, physically. One thing I learned quickly is that too many Mormons are not good for my psyche. But now that I'm gone, there are things I miss and things I wish I'd taken advantage of. I miss the familiarity of Provo. I knew where everything was, who to call in any kind of jam, who the best babysitters were (usually my MIL and sister, Sierra), where to take my car for repairs, the best quilting stores, and other such things. I miss Costco and 24 Hr. Fitness being two minutes away (really I miss anything being two minutes away, it takes about 10 minutes to get anywhere here, thanks to the sprawling cow/pig/goat/duck pastures) Learning a new area (I can't say "a new town" because really this area is about 12 little towns and two bigger ones and everything is spread out) is a nice challenge, unless I need something and don't know where to go.

So, as I waxed nostalgic about the convenience of living in Provo while making the 15 minute schlep to the gym, I started thinking about why this change isn't so bad and not nearly as drastic a change as other friends from the MBA program are experiencing. There are lots of similarities between NWA (that's NorthWest Arkansas) and happy valley and all of them are good things.

1. The downtown areas of both Rogers and B-ville are grids, just like the entire state of Utah. It makes navigating a little easier. (I say prayers of gratitude daily for my GPS, though).
2. Rogers has a "tree streets" section of town, too. It is more commercial but it's still a nice thing to see. I also take Pleasant Grove Rd. to get home.
3. It's a very religious and conservative area. We're the only conservative county in AR and it's not unusual to see bumper stickers bashing Obama (my favorite said, "So how's that whole hope-y change-y thing going for you now?") or declaring to the world that they are indeed "Jesus freaks" (you have to have been raised outside Utah for this to truly warm your heart, think high school prayer flag ceremonies).
4. If they don't have one of those "ornaments" on their cars, they've got something designating them as official Razorback fans (usually it's a giant window decal or silver-plated  hog or license plate). One thing I love is being in an area where there are rabid (not avid, rabid) football fans. I loved being part of the BYU fan base and enjoying the games with friends. But one wonderful difference is here, in the South, they know how to tailgate and barbeque.
5. One thing there's never a shortage of in both happy valley and NWA is a plethora of minivans. Maybe because I'm secretly coveting other's vehicles (substitute this one for "thou shalt not covet another's a**", though maybe I do wish for someone else's derierre), but it seems that everyone here drives a minivan or a 3 row SUV. Love it.
6. The last part of NWA that makes me miss Provo a little less is this:
It's sad but I'm a die-hard Costco and Target girl. I'm slightly a snob and never set foot in a Sam's club or Walmart until college. As I forayed into the new territory of Sam's Club (the nearest Costco is 400 miles away and I figured Wally world pays for our lives, so I should have a little brand loyalty), my heart warmed to see familiar products lining the shelves. I'm a dork. I know. But I learned an important tidbit about our favorites bulk shopping stops. The "private label" (yes, I'm married to a marketer) brands for both Costco and Sam's are made at the same location, using the same ingredients, etc. Who knew?!

I LOVE my new area and have loved getting the feeling that we belong here. Every day I find something else that makes me realize that this is where we're supposed to be right now. Life is good. I am actually excited to discover new places and take advantage of all the great things this place has to offer. Plus, when all else fails, I have these to cheer me up and make me realize how truly blessed I am.

Again, sorry for the picture quality. I'm trying to learn how to use Ronell's camera and I stink at it. Also, the coordinated outfits were not planned. They picked their own clothes, except Portia wanted Teya to wear her blue dress, too.


Ben, Rebecca, Natali, & Isaac said...

You make moving sound so positive. I whined for along time, but I feel like we are finally settling into life here the heart of TX. I totally can relate to the whole Costco/Sams issue. No Costco but a Sams. At least I have that! But I can get to a Costco in a little over and hour. So I kept my card :) Such cute kids, can't wait to see what else you love and discover about NWA.

Jen said...

I have to tell you after 7 years that my hardest thing about living here is being at least 10 minutes away from everything and all the members around us. I don't like being so far from everything...but really love the people in NWA. My kids sure are growing different than I did in Utah...I didn't know anyone that wasn't LDS growing up, and here we shout for joy when 1 person moves into their school that is LDS. So glad that Katelyn and Palmer are in the same class....amazing and exciting! We love all the friends we have here....LDS and non-LDS.

Fowler family said...

That's funny- James and I were just talking tonight about how everyone here as a razorback license plate thingy on the front of their car here.

And we noticed the minivan plethora here too. In fact, on the 4th of July some people in our ward invited us over for a BBQ. There were 4 families there total. And get this- we all had silver minivans. Even the same kind/make. It was very odd and very funny.

Have a great Labor day!

Nick and Lexie said...

Makes me want to come visit you :)

Stacy Ainge said...

P-town isn't the same without your family there. It was just weird not seeing you while we were there recently. We have been taking kids to P-town for 13 years straight. Remember the traffic is crazy this time of year with all the new "zoobies" arriving.

Tracey said...

I had to laugh when I read your blog tonight. I missed Costco so much that summer. I actually got to sit down with a VP from Sam's Club for nearly 2 hours and tell them why I liked Costco over them. It was pretty fun. Now that I am back in Canada and there are no Sam's Clubs, I have to admit I miss them sometimes.

As for brand loyalty, Dave's boss got a good laugh his first day at his internship when he showed up with his Kirkland trail mix. Dave didn't even think about it when he walked into Wal-mart. He hid it in his desk the rest of the summer.

I did love the area though. Hope you are settling in and having fun. Just wait for the ice storms to come this winter!