As Winter Comes

For the first time since Thanksgiving we can see the grass in our yard. The snow is melting and the weather is getting warmer. Although I’m sure there are still a few more random days of snow ahead, I have survived my first real winter in SLC and really my first real winter anywhere.

I’ve never lived anywhere with a true winter. My years spent in North Carolina and Southern California brought little to no snow and I had a handful of wintery days while living in Texas, but nothing compares to this past winter. Even last year’s winter here was more than I’ve experienced, but mild compared to most as I’ve come to understand. Utah is a winter wonderland and I’ve learned that I enjoy it!

I managed to get around in it and have gotten used to driving in snow (which is a big deal for me as it used to terrify me). I’ve hiked, ran, and walked my dog on the snowy mountain trails. I built a snowman in our backyard. I have learned to embrace winter and all the wonderful things that come with it. Here a few pictures that sum up this winter season.

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The one year mark 

Today marks one year since we arrived in Salt Lake City. I’ve spent a lot thinking about our move this last week and all that has changed in our lives over the last year. It’s amazing to see how everything seems to have just fallen into place here. I know that has nothing to do with us, but God.

This time last year, there were a lot of emotions. Excitement about living in a new place. Sadness at saying good-bye to the many people we loved in Texas. Stress at the packing, the job searching, the overall change, etc. Fear about whether we were making the right decision and whether things would work out for us in Salt Lake. This year, one full year later, I feel content. We are happy here. Salt Lake now feels like home.

And what a first year it has been! We got jobs, we moved into an apartment, we traveled, we met a lot of people, we bought a house, we traveled some more, we had tons of visitors, and we spent a lot of time exploring the city we now call home. Derek turned 30 here and I will in about 6 weeks. Life has changed greatly for us in the last year, but right now the change seems pretty normal. This is our new normal life.

I’ve discovered a lot about myself and learned so many lessons over the last year. No one really tells you what to expect when you make a major change in your life.  Like making new friends-I never considered what it would be like to meet new people in a new city in your late 20s. Although have made friends and gotten involved in the community, Derek and I relied a lot on each other (maybe me more so than him) and spent more time together this year then we have in previous years. Which, ultimately, makes me proud as it is a true testament of the strength of the friendship in our marriage.

And I love so much about Salt Lake. I love that everywhere I go and no matter where I am in the city, I’m greeted by the mountains. I love the sunsets over the mountains, I love that you can see the snow just at the tops of them at the beginning of winter, and I love hiking the trails in the fall with the leaves crunching under my feet. I love our neighborhood, Liberty Wells.  I love that at random times throughout the day I can hear a train whistle in the distance even though I don’t know where it’s coming from and on Sunday afternoons the sound of bongo drums can be heard being played by the hippies gathering at Liberty Park. I love the food, the music, the outdoor activities, I love it all! I still have moments where something gets me and I think, “Oh my gosh, I live here.”

To look back on this journey, to see it start with so many unknowns and now seem so simple, reminds me of how faithful God is. We had to trust so much that the call we felt to pick up and go was part of His plan, that He would work out all the unanswered questions, and that He would be there each step of the way. And the major lesson I take away from this last year is this-God truly never fails. An overall easy lesson it would seem from the surface, but once you really test this by step out into something that could be pretty scary or go very wrong and then feel God the whole way through; then I think there is a deeper truth to that statement. It means more to fully know that He is always with you and when you put your full trust in Him, He will guide you through all the unknowns.

So, this last year has definitely been one to remember and I know there is even more in store for us in the coming days, weeks, months, and years. Here’s to many more big adventures in Salt Lake City!

Exploring Salt Lake City 

A few weeks ago, before the craziness of Sundance began, I decided to spend a day in the city on my own while Derek worked the Outdoor Retailers show. It’s been a long time since I’ve lived in a new city and I’ve found that the best way to get to know Salt Lake is to just take off and walk and see where I end up.

I began the day by taking my pup, Wallace, for a walk around nearby Liberty Park. He was excited to sniff everything and stopped frequently, so I just enjoyed walking amongst the rays of sun that came pouring through the trees as we wandered around the park. It was quiet and not many people were out, so it was a great time to breath in the fresh air and build my excitement for the rest of the day.

After dropping Wallace off, I took the TRAX system to the Rio Grande station where the Winter Market was being held. I walked the ground floor and the mezzanine of the building checking out all the home grown fruits, vegetables, cheeses, breads, chocolates, and other goodies. I’ve been to the market a few times since we’ve moved here and dragged Derek along when I could, so I already had some favorite booths lined up to stop at. My first stop was Drake Family Farms, a local farm that makes and sells delicious foods made from goat’s milk. I decided to try some of their goat milk yogurt and added that to my bag as the first purchase of the day. It’s always tempting to by so many other things because it all looks so tasty, but I refrained and headed to make one more must have purchase, salsa from Salsa el Diablo. Derek devours this salsa every time I bring it home and it’s his only request when he knows I’m headed to the market.

 

From the library, I headed a few blocks over to the the Salt Lake City Film Society’s Broadway Theater and caught a showing of Wild. I had just finished reading the book by Cheryl Strayed and thought it would be fun to see the movie on my day out. It did not disappoint. I’m no movie critic, but I enjoyed the film and love a good story about a strong woman conquering any challenge.

I finished the day wandering a few city blocks and taking the TRAX back towards my apartment. I stopped along the way to snap a few more pictures of the beautiful sights around this city.

With each passing day, Salt Lake City feels more and more like home. I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be. Spending a day just me and the city helped me feel even more connected to this great city than I already love so much. I plan on having many more days of just me, my camera, and the city.img_7280img_7290img_8300img_8297img_8299img_8303img_8306img_8305img_8307img_5858img_5859img_5865img_5852img_7329