Ode to Provo

This one has been marinating for a while.  And sometimes when a post marinates for a while, it’s just about written and perfect by the time I actually sit down and type it.  And then other times, like this time, it’s not done marinating, but it’s never going to be done marinating and I just have to write it, even though I know with absolute certainly that it’s just going to come out all wrong.  I’m pretty sure I’m not going to like how it turns out, but I’m going to try anyway.  Tomorrow is my very last day here until we drive away for good, and by the time you read this I’ll be halfway to Missouri!

 

Provo is my home and has been my home for seven years.

Land of mormons, home of the cougars, this is where I ventured, an unsure but excited and optimistic freshman. Where I blossomed and explored and became. Where I spend hours wandering sidewalks and sitting on picnic tables on the phone with old friends that I missed dearly before making new ones that would be come just as dear. Where I lived with girls who became my confidants, my study buddies, my ride to the grocery store, my shoulder to cry on, the mouths to feed my first culinary attempts to and the ears to hear my first guitar pluckings. They were everything to me and the best people in the entire world. I heard and told 10 million date recaps, gave and received outfit advice, watched jealously as all those shorties shared clothes, but not with me because I was a foot taller than any of them.  I ate lots of hot dog and tater tot casserole. And goulash. I stayed up all night with them every year the night before cleaning checks because we never started packing until after finals.  I made fun of them for watching their favorite parts of chick flicks over and over and over, repeatedly rewinding.  Every fall we bought peaches at a roadside stand and drove up Provo’s canyon to see the colors. We talked and talked and talked and talked and talked because that’s what 20 year old girls do. They strengthened my faith, bore my burdens, rejoiced at my successes, and helped me heal from my falls. And along the way we laughed. Hard and often.

Here I shared myself, opened my heart, framed opinions, strengthened convictions. Here, I ran.  Up hills, around temples, along the river, miles and miles with much on my mind.  This is where I fell in and out of love. For the first time, and for the last time. Here, I held hands and I kissed and I loved. I watched movies, went to shows, rode on the back of their motorcycles and studied with them in the library. Here I fell in love with my husband. We hiked so many trails and peaks and talked and planned and dreamed up our lives together. We bowled in Provo’s bowling alley’s, we drank her jamba juices, we played her air hockey tables.  He proposed to me up on the mountain and after we married we had our first apartment here.  And our second and our third.  We bought our first car and that adorable little Buddy scooter, and a bench for our kitchen table.  We rejoiced every time it snowed and skied every chance we got. Even if it meant late nights in the library afterwards.

Oh, the library. The good old Harold B. Lee.  Here, I studied.  On this campus my mind was opened and a wealth of knowledge was poured inside.  I read and read and read.  I wrote and revised, I failed and succeeded.  I learned and I loved it.  I reveled in it, wanting more always.  I threw pots (you know, like on a wheel), I spoke spanish, I designed on CAD programs, I analyzed Shakespeare, I presented papers.  I decided to become an industrial designer, and then an architect, an engineer, and then an English major.  And then I decided to become a writer.  I walked BYU’s campus endlessly, trudged those stairs daily, frequented that testing center, ate from those vending machines. In the Marriott Center where I’d seen basketball games, ballroom dance competitions, devotionals, and other graduations, I walked across a stage in long blue robes and a funny hat and I received my diploma.  And I got to watch my husband do the same 3 years later.

I cheered in that stadium where I saw many a football game, Carrie Underwood and a firework show, and once–broke into that stadium.  Late at night during a brilliant freak October snowstorm and watched the snow pile up on the bleachers. I lived at Wyview, Bountiful Court, Raintree, and my grandparent’s house, plus 3 apartments with Tanner, with summer’s home and in Guatemala in between. I moved more than a dozen times, packing and unpacking but always–in Provo.  Those apartments with tiny bedrooms, impossibly loud bathroom fans, saggy couches, leaky everythings, and awkward neighbors who liked to make out in in the stairwells, smoke marijuana, cook smelly food, fight with spouses.

Provo’s hospital is where I visited my dying grandmother and gave her an invitation to my wedding that she wouldn’t live to see.  That hospital is where I unexpectedly lost my other grandmother three weeks later, mourning with my family in the halls of it’s ER.  In Provo’s cemeteries they are buried.  That hospital employed my husband and paid our bills.  It is also the hospital where I delivered my first child and became a mother.  After months of a growing belly, weird pains and exciting appointments–I held my little baby Camryn.  I took her home to that cute little blue house on 5th East with the yellow front door and learned how to be a mom, and nurse a newborn, and function without sleep.  Here I walked many neighborhood sidewalks with a new baby in my stroller, trying to get some fresh air, and break up the often lonely days of new motherhood.

I trained for Lotoja, biking what seemed like every single road in and out of Provo.  Past the cemetery, to the lake, University Avenue, up and down Provo Canyon, past Timpanogos park, Nun’s park, bridal veil falls, Vivian park. Here I learned to bookbind, started and built my small little business that I love. I worshipped in Provo’s temple, was taken care of by her relief societies,  frequented Smith’s grocery store, loathed Walmart,  endlessly cursed orange barrels, loved and hated her winters. I worked at Blickenstaff’s at the Riverwoods and then a Pinnacle Security call center (because who makes it 7 years in Provo without ever working for a security company?) Almost every single day, I looked up at Mt. Timpanogos in awe and said “look how beautiful that mountain is”. I had jaw surgery, I rockclimbed in Rock Canyon, I barbequed at Kiwanis park, I went to BYU’s gym and Gold’s gym and did yoga on University avenue, washed my clothes in the Wash hut, spent Saturday mornings at the farmers market, took my toddler to the splash pad.  I went to movies, rooftop conerts, art walks, June brass band nights in the park, and ate at Station 22.

Here I made so. many. friends. too many to name, but you know who you are.  My roommate friends, my school friends, my boyfriends, my Guate friends.  The ones I rollerbladed with, lunched with, studied with, practiced yoga with, passed long toddler-watching hours at the park with.  So many of you have moved away already, meaning that the friends I am saying goodbye to this week are just a small portion of my “Provo friends”, but every one of you have made this place mean so much to me.   So, Provo, you have a piece of my heart. Thanks for the good times, it’s been real. Goodbye and farewell.

 

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