first impressions

I have been in Salt Lake City exact­ly one month. Our apart­ment is great (albeit with a tiny kitchen), we have our Utah dri­ver licens­es and our plates (Har­ry Pot­ter themed, of course), and I’ve found a Luther­an church. The dogs are used to not hav­ing a dog door, we’ve gone on a few hik­ing adven­tures, and we have unpacked most of our box­es. I’ve met Car­l’s col­leagues, church peo­ple, knit­ters, and gamers.

SLC is pret­ty great. The moun­tains are right there, and even cold days aren’t bit­ing­ly cold like in Kansas (or Iowa, good­ness). Peo­ple are friend­ly, and com­mu­ni­ties come togeth­er real­ly eas­i­ly. We’ve moved down the crazy scale from Kansas pol­i­tics (though not by tons), so that’s a plus. SLC elect­ed its first open­ly gay may­or two weeks ago, and the gov­er­nor isn’t active­ly try­ing to destroy the state.

There seems to be an “us ver­sus them” men­tal­i­ty here though, between Mor­mons and non-Mor­mons. The LDS peo­ple I’ve met here have been friend­ly and open, and I’ve had some frank dis­cus­sions about beliefs and lifestyles. From the non-LDS peo­ple, how­ev­er, I’ve heard things along the lines of, “I tried to keep an open mind at first, but I just don’t under­stand,” and “I have some Mor­mon friends, but I hang out much more with my ‘nor­mal’ friends.” The line often seems to be demar­cat­ed by what a per­son drinks. There seems to be a high­er preva­lence of drink­ing among non-Mor­mons, almost a shib­bo­leth. I like drink­ing, but hav­ing it as a mark­er of my cul­ture and/or reli­gion makes me uncom­fort­able.

Over­all, I’m real­ly enjoy­ing being here. One thing I heard from mul­ti­ple friends in KC was that they had a hard time telling if I liked them at first (two peo­ple were con­vinced I active­ly dis­liked them). I’m work­ing on that, try­ing to make my face less… what? grumpy? shy? I noticed it at church yes­ter­day morn­ing. I went to choir, and as I was intro­duced to peo­ple, I would give a small smile and say hi, but not bright­ly, and so after wor­ship, I made a point to talk to the peo­ple that I had­n’t real­ly engaged ear­li­er. First impres­sions mat­ter.