I can see why Utah is one of the fastest-growing states in the USA and the Mountain West (Boise, Denver) is also growing so rapidly. It is the quality of life. The dry climate and sunny skies are so much better than wet climates with many overcast days. The views and access to outdoor pursuits are also world-class so I see why people are deciding to leave Ohio/Indiana/Pennsylvania etc and set up a life in places like Salt Lake City. Much of the growth is internal because LDS members marry young and are encouraged to have many children, although this is changing. The growth in population has brought diversity and the percentage of LDS members is probably around 50%. It is still a very white, conservative place. I would like to see the state maintain its unique characteristics and manage growth so it doesn’t ruin the place. A threat to the great lifestyle here is drought and the possibility of Utah and Salt Lakes drying up, which would add to the already growing concern of low air quality.
We spent the 4th of July at a classic backyard BBQ with friends in the suburb of Highland. It is closer to the Wasatch Range and with the backdrop of mountains on three sides, pure blue skies and a large pool and green lawn, it made for a stunning backdrop to a fun day. We discovered the sport of cornhole, which I want to bring back to our school in Tashkent. It is similar to horseshoes and can be played by anyone. We also ate hamburgers from the grill, potato salad, and an ice cream/popsicle mix called “Creamies” which is famous in Utah. I love regional differences and besides creamies, we also discovered that Utah specializes in french fry sauces. Thanks to the MacPherson family for hosting us!
We’ve been playing a lot of tennis on the courts in the development. We haven’t seen anyone else playing tennis and Owen and I are always surprised that Americans do not do more exercise and use the free courts. In Tashkent, we need to reserve courts and pay a fee and sometimes they are difficult to get court times. I feel like we are playing our Indian Wells Masters tournament with the desert environment around the courts. Attending the Indian Wells Masters is on my bucket list but the tourney is usually in March when we are in school.
Last night we went to the soccer field of a local high school that overlooks the SLC valley. We watched literally hundreds of fireworks ignited by private citizens. It was quite a stunning scene and the cool mountain breeze made it a perfect evening to watch. The highlight was a fire that was most likely caused by fireworks gone astray. I think it was in Centerville and I got the photo below from the city’s Facebook page. The city did not have an official fireworks display this year because of the drought conditions. We saw several firetrucks speeding down the freeway to the fire.