We never wanted or expected to live in Utah.
It was a culture shock, but we made the best of it, as military families have to do.
We lived there for four years.
My husband deployed a few months after we arrived. On our anniversary. I spent the first winter of my life alone with four kids. Our cat died and the basement flooded while he was deployed.
The Best of Hill AFB
We’re not so much into winter, but I hear the skiing is wonderful. I did like how sunny winters are and it doesn’t feel very cold. We enjoyed hiking, fishing, and camping. We explored national and state parks. It is beautiful there!
We rented a humongous house with a huge back yard and there were lots of nice houses for sale. There were new ones being built all over! We knew many who chose to retire there.
Deals for Families
Since Utah is known for large families, there are many deals for kids and families. Lots of museums and other attractions have family passes or free admission for kids. There were lots of consignment sales and thrift stores.
The Worst of Hill AFB
The Mormon Tabernacle is in Salt Lake City. Many LDS military members put Hill AFB on their wish list to make their pilgrimage.
I wasn’t so surprised to be treated differently because we’re not Mormon, but I was surprised to learn that even non-Utah Mormons are given the cold shoulder.
And separation of church and state? Not so much in Utah. There were blanks on even gymnastics forms for my kids as to which ward we belonged. It came up way too often in conversation for our comfort.
Once my daughter reached age 12, she was excluded from activities in our neighborhood. This is the age that kids are more indoctrinated into their church. At the high school, kids even take classes at their ward for their mission.
Our kids couldn’t even play with any other children in the neighborhood on Sundays. Mormons take their Sabbath Day seriously.
The alcohol rules and laws are very weird in Utah. I’ve never felt so like an incompetent child as going to a restaurant and being told I can’t have a cocktail without ordering food first. I grew up in the South, so Blue Laws aren’t news to me, but Utah alcohol sales laws baffle me. Liquor stores close at dinnertime, even on Friday and Saturday nights.
During dry, warm days…the brine shrimp in the Great Salt Lake cast a disgusting rotten fishy smell over the whole valley.
The Inversion in late winter makes going outdoors unpleasant. Those with breathing problems should stay inside.