Since we are moving to New York we figured it would be a good idea to visit any family on the west coast during the break. This meant going to Utah... in the winter. When I lived in Utah 11 years ago there was the worst snow storm in 50 years. When I left Utah (besides never wanting to come back) I felt I had an understanding, I didn't mess with Utah and it would do the same. When we checked the weather before leaving we read a storm was coming in over the Pacific, so we left a day early. As we listened to the radio while driving we heard that half of Portland's power got knocked out by the windstorm. We decided to drive straight through without stopping at our friends and made it to L.'s friends house without incident without snow or ice in sight. However, the next morning the snow hit. You guessed it, worst storm in 11 years. We just bummed around the house for the day and the snow plow was so behind schedule they didn't plow the street until the next day.
When I lived in Utah the culture was "yes, there are other cultures out there, but they are wrong". Now from this trip I really get the sense that there is enough population or something that the culture has changed to "there are no other cultures besides ours". A big step in the wrong direction. The advertising and stores catering to the lifestyle was just over the top (case in point- giant inflated missionary on the roof at the mall). We went to a couple of Christmas services and they all had the same message: Did the people who experienced the first Christmas really know what they were experiencing. The message I got was: "The people who experienced the first Christmas didn't know how significant what they were witnessing was, but we do, (therefore we as a group must be better then the people who experienced the first Christmas)".
With my wife growing up in Utah it was funny to see how L. reacted to everything. She was complaining about all the stuff that I did when I first moved there. It was especially amusing to see her yelling about and at the driving there. My take is that everyone is in a hurry for church or family related matter so in their mind they feel that other drivers will understand if they bend the rules in their favor. Now in New York or Italy I experienced aggressive driving. In Utah is seems more like just driving with blinders on.
One of the fun things that we did while there was to go on an old train ride. It was made up to look like the Polar Express on a trip to the North Pole. Everyone got cookies and hot chocolate and read the story for the 13 mile trip. at the end of the track Santa came on the train and talked to all the kids and handed out sleigh bells while they switched the track around for the trip back. All my nieces and nephews had a blast.