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:
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.