Monday, July 2, 2012

Home Sweet Home

If I am in Oregon and you were to ask me where I was from I would say Washington State. I learned at a young age that it is important to say state. Otherwise people ask you more questions or will make their own assumptions. I think half of my fifth grade class thought I was moving to Washington D.C. If I am outside of Oregon and you were to ask me where I was from I would say Oregon. So where is home?

I am actually from California and lived there for the first 11 years of my life. I love Washington more so I never say I'm from California. I had a couple of roommates over the years from California and I would always tease them that California is called the Golden State because it is golden brown. Nothing can compare to the Pacific Northwest. Yes we get more rain but it is the price you pay to live among green.

While attending BYU, Washington was definitely home. I would refer to my parent's ward as my home ward. It is where I spent my teenage years and where I knew most of the ward. Growing up in Washington was a huge blessing and not just because it is green. :o) When we first moved to Battle Ground we were surprised how friendly everyone was. We actually lived 10 minutes away from Battle Ground on five acres. Going from a small yard to acerage was a big jump. It was the perfect place to be. Live out in the country but have Portland not that far away if we wanted some city life.  I also met amazing people and was blessed with amazing friends. Battle Ground is quite a religious community. My closest friends were Methodist, Roman Catholic, some Romanian Denomination, to just name a few. All had high standards like me. A couple of them even had stricter parents than I did! Battle Ground will always hold a special place in my heart.

I lived in Provo off and on over a seven year period. It was my home away from home. I would say that I lived my "teenage" years there. No parents to tell you what to do. Now of course that doesn't mean I went off the deep end. I did most of my dating while going to school. Never had to introduce the guys to my parents. Freedom! I had fun roommates over the years spent in Provo. Good memories were made and new friendships formed. Off course I did do some studying. :o)

Tom and I spent the two first years of our married life in Utah. We attended a family ward. Tom is from Provo, so I really got to know his immediate and some of his extended family during that time. Provo started to feel more like home and not just a stopping place. At that time I felt blessed that I had two homes. We ended up living with his parents for a month once I graduated with my bachelor's degree and Tom with his master's degree. Tom's parents are amazing and I feel so blessed to have such supportive in-laws.

Once we moved from Provo we moved in with my parent's for the rest of the summer. We knew we would be moving to Eugene, but neither of us had been there before and we wanted to actually go and pick out an apartment. It was a fun filled summer! Probably one of my favorites. And we did make a trip to Eugene with my mom and found an apartment. Tom picked our first one in Utah (it was half of a small house), and I fell in love with Creekside/Valley River apartments. There were two that would be available around the time we wanted to move our stuff down. It wasn't a hard choice to make. Being on the third floor gives us the vaulted ceiling and out behind us is a wetlands that is protected. Looking out all of our windows you will find green. It reminds me of my home in Washington.

I do have to admit that I considered Eugene just another stopping point. We thought we would only be here four years at the most. Little did we realize that the program is a six year one. At first the biggest plus of living in Eugene was that my parents were just 2.5 hours away. In the beginning I think I went home every month for a week. It felt so good to be back in the Pacific Northwest. I was worried that I would miss Provo, but since Tom is from there I knew we would return. It wasn't really a goodbye.

Originally Tom and I thought we would probably end up back in Utah after he finished school. I wasn't excited about it, but it would mean being close to family and friends. I have found that the longer I am away from Utah the more I don't want to move there. Yes I love the mountains, but you don't get the natural green like you do in Eugene. Here they encourage wildflowers to bloom, trees to grow (they even cut them in a way that they don't hit the wires) and they are only allowed to cut down so many trees a year. The University of Oregon campus is like walking in my backyard. Ferns, wildflowers, and trees are everywhere. I like it better than BYU's campus. But what can I say? Eugene is known for being a green city.

It has taken a couple of years for Eugene to feel like home. I love our ward. They are so friendly and down to earth. They are always joking that our ward is the best one in the Pacific Northwest. At first I couldn't agree because I still felt more comfortable visiting my parent's ward. But things have changed. I have fallen in love with Eugene. I love the bike paths, the fact that we live so close to a river, that it is so easy to get around. Tom also has come to like Eugene. Tom has only one year of school left and I pray that he finds a job in Eugene. We both aren't ready to leave yet. Eugene is home. I don't think of it as a stopping place anymore. But who knows what the future will hold for us?


Thomas said...

Home, Sweet Home. This has been a really fun blog. I am glad to have you share about our home. I hope that whereever we go it will become a home for us.

Kathy said...

I'm so glad this feels like home to you. Praying that Tom can find work here!! We love you guys.

Anonymous said...

I know what you mean about loving the green and the trees. Eugene is truly beautiful. I'm so glad I got to visit you last year and see where you live. I hope you can enjoy where ever life takes you