Posts tagged ‘Roots’

June 19, 2011

What I Love… Russian Olives

It’s been three years since I was back home in Salt Lake City during June. Although, June happens to be my favorite month in Utah, it has been impossible to travel home this time of year as I usually end up home for holidays and family events that always manage to occur at different times throughout the year. This year, I purposely planned a trip to be home in order to smell the Russian Olives blooming in the early summer. Unfortunately, the smell was not as potent as it could be due to the atypical cold weather and bouts of pouring rain not common to the area. Regardless, I still got what I wanted, to smell the sweet aroma of the Russian Olive in the early evening the first few nights I was there. Sunday afternoon before heading back home to Portland, I was taken by surprise,  when I went outside onto the patio at my mother’s condo to watch the thunderstorm that was blowing through the valley. The sweet mix of rain and Russian Olives reminded me of why I love Salt Lake City.

Almost three years ago, I packed up my car and moved as far as possible from the state I grew up in with no desire to return, even for vacation. I fit the stereotype of a young  kid who hated their small hometown and always dreamed of moving far away and finally did after college. It was not even a year after I moved that I returned to help my mom who became ill the spring after I moved. Ever since then I find myself traveling back to Salt Lake City four or five times a year, mostly for family. At first I went reluctantly and now I go willingly, happy to see my friends and family.  Sometimes, I find it hard to leave, but the moment the plane starts to land in Portland, I realize how much Portland is now my home, even though I miss my family and friends back in Salt Lake.

Utah has a stigma and not a good stigma, from what I’ve learned when I tell people where I am from.  I usually get the same questions over and over again, the same questions that I was running away from. Yes, this used to irritate me, but now I just have to laugh. Without going into a rant and rave about where I grew up south of Salt Lake, I will say that I believe that stigma is earned.  However, I can’t say that Salt Lake is a horrible place. In fact, Salt Lake City is becoming a cool metropolitan area. Going back home over the last few years has shown me how much it has changed and how liberal, open, and tolerant Salt Lake City is becoming.

I am who I am today because of where I grew up and in spite of where I grew up. For that reason Utah will always hold a special place in my heart and the Russian Olives will forever be one of my favorite spring smells for all the happy memories it brings back.