Paradise ponders: Utah gratitude edition... I fled to Utah from California just three years ago, after living in that sunny land for 43 years. When I first came to California, in 1971, I was coming from New Jersey. The California of 1971 was a paradise by comparison to the hell-on-earth that was New Jersey. Back then, even California's government was better.
It was all downhill from there. By the time we retired in 2013, it was obvious to Debbie and I that our long-planned retirement in the mountains of San Diego wasn't going to be the dream we'd thought it would be. We made up our minds to leave, and we chose Utah for many reasons.
It turns out, though, that we'd underestimated (by a lot!) just how well we'd fit in here in Utah. We'd expected the natural beauty, as we'd traveled here many times. We knew the weather would include actual seasons. We hoped that the government would prove to be less intrusive, more common-sensical, and it has. But we did not expect the people here to be so welcoming, despite our not being of the predominant faith here (LDS). We also didn't expect some other things, slightly subtler, but that turn out to be very important to us.
I'd say the biggest one, for me, is the general assumption of honesty here. In general, people just trust one another. If you tell a craftsman that you agree with their price, they'll just proceed with the work and trust that you'll pay them. If you leave your wallet somewhere, you can trust that it will be held for you, contents intact. If you leave your car unlocked, you can trust that it will not be stolen. If you carry ten items to the cash register in a store and tell the clerk you have ten of them, she'll just ring you up for ten without even counting. And so on. I'm talking about out here in the countryside, where we live – the story is different in the cities, of course. Out here, though, people just assume that you're honest in your dealings. How refreshing, especially compared with our experiences in California!
Another slightly subtle surprise for us: we can depend on others around here for help, and they assume they can depend on us. I still get surprised by this quite often – people are all the time volunteering to help out, and they really mean it.
And some of our neighbors have become good friends, despite the vast differences in our backgrounds and experiences.
We're very grateful for the wonderful home that Utah has made for us.
And when we read things about California, like this or this, we're even more grateful for Utah providing us with refuge!