When I was young, my father served in the US Army. I’d lived in 5 different places before I entered middle school. But my parents’ divorce caused my dad to reconsider his career path, and he retired from the Army while I was in middle school. From 4th grade until my sophomore year in college I called Virginia home.
But when people ask me where I’m from, I never know what to say. The first 10 years of my life were full of moving boxes and making new friends and learning about fascinating places. But the second half of my youth I stayed put in the same house, growing up with familiar friends and neighbors.
The Short Answer
I’m from Virginia. It’s where my family owned our first home, where my parents got divorced, where I went on my first date, had my first kiss, and graduated high school. My conversion to the gospel began in Virginia and I was baptized there. I met my husband in Williamsburg and we were married in the nearest LDS temple to us in Washington DC. I went to college for a year and a half in Virginia and it’s where we moved back to after graduating. It took me over a year to finally slip out of the depressive homesickness that overtook me after we moved to Utah.
Virginia is in my blood. Part of my identity is as a G.R.I.T.S. – a girl raised in the south.
This summer we’ll celebrate our 3rd year here in Utah. After a very rough start, I’ve grown to love this new home. Utah has woven itself into my heart.
Utah has been a refiner’s fire. Difficult extended family relationships, our experience with IVF, a second c-section, and finding peace in my renewed motherhood have tested and tried me like I would never have anticipated. But Utah has strengthened my marriage, given me my miracle baby, and helped me understand how to stay connected to Elle. Living here these past 3 years has changed the trajectory of my life forever.
Jen, Where Are You From?
I was born in Texas and got to live in a lot of cool places as a kid, including Puerto Rico and Germany. My family settled in Virginia when I started 4th grade and that was my home until I met and married my husband and we left to live in Idaho for 4 years. We went back to Virginia for 4 years, although it was on the opposite side of the state, and then decided to move here, to Utah.
And now, now I’m an Army brat Virginian from Texas who absolutely loves living in Utah.
Where are you from?