So we've lived in Washington for almost four years now, and today I was thinking about all of the things that are different here than they are in Utah where I lived most of my life, so here are a few.
Tons more rain and humidity which has some wonderful benefits like all the beautiful trees, flowers and plants growing wild everywhere, we only have to water the lawn occasionally in the late summer months, the flowers I plant actually grow without having to be watered daily, and rarely get scorched by the sun, in Utah if you miss a day of watering in late summer your plants are scorched! In Washington we are always trimming the trees and bushes because they grow like mad. In Utah we watered and fertilized like crazy to get things to grow.
Seattle is called "The Emerald City", and it's not just because of the pine trees! Moss grows everywhere, I just love it some places, like on the rocks and some trees, but if it starts growing in the lawn it takes over, not good! Anything that sits outside for any period of time has a lovely green film. Patio furniture, pots, walkways, and fences. Our motor home has a nice green tint and now matches my old green Expedition! Even the bread turns green over night sometimes!
I love living here among the 50 foot plus trees all around our yard and neighborhood. When we first moved here it felt so different, it was hard for me to get my bearings because you cannot see past the trees to see any land marks. I have a terrible sense of direction and never knew which way I was headed, sometimes I would call Drew on my cel phone and say, "help! which way do I go?" He doesn't share my direction impairment and could always point me in the right direction! In Salt Lake you can see the whole valley from most places. Downtown SLC was north, Provo was south, big mountains were east, and small mountains west, and the grid system makes it very easy to find an address. Thankfully our area here is on somewhat of a grid system as well, but with all the lakes and rivers there are always odd detours to get me lost! Thank goodness for GPS and mapquest! Last time I was in Utah I was driving up on the east side 220 freeway and thought "Wow, you can see all the way to the Oquirrh Mountains from here, I forgot about that! When my dad comes to visit, he always keeps saying "sooo many trees, too many trees, aren't you afraid they will fall on your house!" And yes sometimes that does happen, a few years ago a huge tree fell on the house behind us, now we have a nice view out back of the bottom of the 10 foot stump.
It doesn't get as cold or as hot here. Some winters this area gets almost no snow but the last few years we have had our share, and I love it! The snow looks beautiful on all of the pine trees and rarely stays long enough for me to get sick of it, others here don't share my love of the snow. Most people here have no idea how to drive in it so everything shuts down when it snows and people panic, sometimes abandoning their cars along the road, really, all over the place! The first time we saw this we just couldn't believe it! The boys had 5 snow days one year and I'm sure there wasn't more than 5 or 6 inches on the ground! I can only remember one snow day the whole time we lived in Utah! We experienced first hand how bad it can be when we were heading to Utah for Christmas this year, there was a terrible snow storm the day we were leaving, and due to lack of snow removal equipment and de-icers for the airplanes, we sat on a plane for 7 hours before taking off for our 2 hour flight to Salt Lake! In Salt Lake they are so used to the snow and de-icing planes, it only takes 20 minutes or less.
I have to say most of the drivers here are much more courteous than in Utah and people in general don't speed. I really notice this when I come back to Utah and drive on the freeway, people just fly by and drive sooo aggressively. Here in Washington, almost everyone will let people in ahead of them, sometimes stopping all traffic to let people in. Drivers rarely speed even on the freeway, I'm sure in part due to the fact that tickets are very expensive!
The one thing I miss most about Utah is the warm, dry climate in the summer. I miss going outside and feeling the hot sun on my skin. Sometimes it is so hard to get warm here because of the humidity. We do have beautiful summers with a mild climate but I just miss that hot, hot sunshine. Drew says he doesn't miss it at all and loves the cooler summers. At first the rainy weather didn't really get to me too much, but this year has been harder, probably because I spent so much time cooped up inside with my leg injury. I actually have to take a prescription strength vitamin D supplement because my vitamin D levels are so low! I am so looking forward to summer and sunshine!
Prayers in church are slightly different, in Utah people always say how grateful they are for the rain and moisture. I've never heard that in a prayer here in Washington, we only say how grateful we are for the sunshine! You just can not truly appreciate sunshine until you've lived in a place like Seattle!!!
If you're not a member of my church you won't get this but I've noticed how much the Youth here enjoy and appreciate early morning seminary. The youth in our church grades 9-12 attend seminary (scripture study). In Utah where there are so many members, they have a "release time" option, they can take a seminary (scripture study) class during any class period during school, they take a short walk across the street to a LDS Seminary building to take their class. I must admit that I am sooooo not a morning person and I was dreading early morning seminary for Coleman, (I used to joke that they needed a "late night" class for us night owls!) All the youth say how much they enjoy early morning seminary and wouldn't miss it, they love starting out their day with their fellow church member friends and the wonderful teachers who volunteer their time to teach. (In Utah it is a full time paid position, not to discount the wonderful, talented, and dedicated seminary teachers in Utah, because they are amazing!) I think sometimes our youth in Utah (at least my older kids did!) take seminary for granted because it is always there and so easy for them to take the classes that they don't truly appreciate the opportunity. Outside of Utah the students and the teachers make the sacrifice of sleep to learn and study and associate with fellow members and seem to appreciate it so much more. ( this has just been our experience and I know many, many youth in Utah do take full advantage and appreciate the seminary opportunity!) Coleman loves seminary and will actually choose to go even if he has a Dr. or Dentist appointment first thing in the morning. He always goes to seminary, even the day he was leaving for his trip to China he got up and went to Seminary before we left for the airport, I wish I had his dedication! So a big, big THANK YOU to all of the Seminary Teachers who prepare and teach our Youth all over the World, you're awesome!!!
I am enjoying the experience of living in the beautiful Northwest and look forward to finding more areas explore and visit here, but Utah will always be "Home" to me!