Life, Love, and Where We Live

Kevin and I are coming up on our 7th anniversary and I could not have a better partner and friend to take on this world. We share the passions of cooking and travel and we also broaden each other’s interests, one getting the other involved in new hobbies and sports. Through many tears, he taught me how to snowboard and I have filled our house with the joy pets (causing some tears as well). We grow and learn about each other every day.

We both like to experience new things and get the itch to move about every three years. It is not that we don’t like where we are, but there are so many amazing places to experience. We met in Rome, Italy where we both lived for several years. What an amazing city, so much of it hidden to the average visitor. I miss taking the twists and turns of the narrow streets to get away from the tourists to find the little restaurant where they treat you like family. I love walking down the cobblestone streets and wonder who else has passed down these in the last thousand years or so. You can drive to ski resorts in the winter and the beach in the summer, including the incredible Anzio, Gaeta, and Sperlonga.  It’s beauty entwined with history. Professionally I went from owning a youth hostel to teaching English at the Senate and schools. Kevin studied at the Roman University, Tor Vergata. As his studies came to an end, it came time for a change. I missed my niece and nephew, I was ready for college, and Kevin was eager for more outdoors.

We left Italy for Missoula, Montana in the USA. Missoula is one of a kind. It is a college town in the Rocky Mountains. We spent the summers floating the river on inner tubes and the winters on our snowboards. The University keeps the town active and brings in some cultural diversity. From our front door, within minutes, we could be lost in the Rattlesnake wilderness among the deer, elk, coyotes, mountain goats, bighorn sheep, black bears, grizzly bears, moose, and mountain lions that call it home.  After four years in Missoula, we wanted to find a place that had the outdoor opportunities we came to love in MT but offered some big city amenities as well. Professionally I finished my International Business Degree and Kevin started his business as an IT consultant. We started to discuss our options; Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Utah and California. We took trips and visited many areas and then we found the Ogden Valley in Utah.

The Ogden Valley is in the Wasatch back in Northern Utah. We purchased our first home in Eden. With mountains, lakes, cliffs, and waterfalls it is draw dropping beautiful. The area is populated with a mix of rural farming, Ogden socialites, second home owners, and vacationers. It is not out of the ordinary to be at the Valley’s only grocery store and run into your kid’s teacher, your neighbor and someone like Ashton Kutcher. We adopted our son from the foster care system and his first night at our house we were sitting in the hot tub listening to Music in the Mountains from a nearby venue and he crossed his arms behind his head and said “I could get used to this.” We had two lakes to play at and three winter resorts: world class Snowbasin, Powder Mountain and Wolf Mountain.

Professionally I gained a lot of respect and experience. I went from being General Manager to the one and only hotel in the Ogden Valley to becoming an Executive Recruiter in Packaging. Kevin grew his business but was sick of basically being on call 24/7 and decided it was time to stop working as an independent and work for a company. The liquor store closed in the middle of huge scandal and the bar and grill down the road closed and we knew it was time to go.  Ready for action, we decided to move.

Again, we weighed the pros and cons of several areas across the US and Europe, took our and our son’s needs into consideration and decided on Salt Lake City. I truly feel that this is the perfect place for Kevin, Adrian and me at this time in our lives.  We love it here. There are so many festivals, activities and restaurants. The diversity is surprising especially considering the state’s history. Salt Lake City’s reputation is mainly built on its history, but many people  neglect to realize that there are an NBA and a Major League soccer team here and the city hosted the winter Olympics in 2002. The city was also recently named #1 Gayest City in America and The Next Great Vegan City. Salt Lake serves as the world capital to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, but we are also blocks from a large Jewish Community center and can hear the church bells from one of the many catholic churches. With a metropolitan area over 1 million, Salt Lake City has large Hispanic, Asian, Tongan and Samoan populations.

We are in an amazing neighborhood, just blocks from 15th and 15th with downtown a couple minute scooter ride away. We are deciding on where to get our season pass for snowboarding and the choices make us giddy. I have so many favorite restaurants including pizza places (one Italian and one New York Style), Mexican, Thai, Belgian, and I’m dying to try the Mofongo at Adobos Caribbean Grill. I love the 90-100 degree summer days and that it doesn’t cool down too much at night that you need a winter coat.  I love drinking a glass of wine on our porch on summer nights, watching the sun set. I am excited for winter to come and be surrounded in a winter wonder land.

Adrian is in a therapeutic summer camp, the only one of its kind west of the Mississippi and we are working with several schools to find the programs, some of which seem made for his special needs. Professionally, I am working from a home office still as an Executive Recruiter in Packaging.  I love my job. I love the industry I serve, I love the people I work with, and I think this job may have been made for me. Kevin found a company that is amazing. They gave him a great offer and they strive to have employee satisfaction and he is able to work flextime.

I know I will be looking for the next destination in not too long, but like all of our past choices of where to live, I could not be more thrilled to take it all in. Until we decide to move, I will enjoy all this city has to offer and, with two trips booked for the coming months, we will take advantage of the major airport as well. I know when the time comes, I will miss this city as much as I miss the other places I have lived.

What do I miss most about each place? Rome:  I miss the food and the lifestyle of Italians; I found they put the importance in life where it needs to be.  Missoula: I miss my family and the people; you will never find a more amazing population. Eden: I miss the strangest creature I have lived near, the Sandhill cranes, our house and with that view from the hot tub and resident golden eagle pair in our trees, and being minutes from Snowbasin.  Though I miss all of the places I have lived, I am lucky to say I have no regrets. Will we ever move back to any of these places? Who knows, I would guess from our list we would only consider moving back to Rome right now, but, if you would have asked me if I would ever live in Utah seven years ago, I would have not hesitated with a no.  I have no idea where our future will take us, which excites me, and I find myself fantasizing about possibilities.

I have seen (and continue to see) the world , I have found my soul mate, I feel the joy of motherhood, and I have loving, caring, yet quirky extended family and friends. I have so many places I can call home. We leave a trail of friendship and memories wherever we go. But most importantly, I am living my life the way I want and that is why I am so happy. We don’t make our decisions on what is cool or trendy or what makes someone else happy, but what works for us.

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