Monday, August 08, 2005

Arizona: Still a Bitch

I miss home. Wow, what a baby, you’re thinking. But no, hear me out. Really, what I miss is Utah. Weird, I know. Most people in Utah are saying stuff like, “Man, I hate this place. I can’t wait to get out of here.” I heard that from nearly everyone in Logan (northern Utah, where I went to college … for 8 years. Lots of people go to college for 8 years. I know, they’re called doctors) and everyone in Salt Lake too. Well, except for all the people who have moved there from New York and whatnot. They love it there and from them you only hear stuff about how oppressed they are because of the Mormons running the state and blah blah blah.

Secretly, I usually think they can just go to hell for all that complaining, because it's annoying and rude to whine to me about it. They moved to Salt Lake from crappy, high crime places like New York City and Detroit and whatever because Utah has wide open spaces and less crime and in general, a great feeling to it because of all those oppressive Mormons who are into, more than anything, being with their families and being honest. Sure some of them are weirdos, I’ll admit it. But there are fewer weirdos there than in somewhere like Detroit or NYC (mainly due to population differences).

But for all their complaining about Mormons, they rarely say they hate the place. They actually say, usually, that they love it and they moved there because it’s a beautiful, clean city, and they moved there so they could ski all winter, or rock climb or have a ranch and a horse named Ms. Kitty, all just a short drive from the city.

I moved here to be with Stoker. When we first started dating and he said he’d be going to school down here, I thought to myself, “Holy crap, this boy is amazing. I’d go to Arizona to be with him in a heartbeat. Yeah, no problem.” And I envisioned the sacrifices I’d make to be down here with Stoker. One of the sacrifices I envisioned was what an acquaintance of mine’s girlfriend/wife did when he showed up in Logan to get his master’s. And that was ending up working at Wendy’s. But I don’t want to work at Wendy’s. Back when Stoker and I began dating, the idea was just a romantic thought, a sort of, hell-yes-I’d-walk-across-the-desert-
to-find-you, kind of thought and I imagined myself handing a to-go-sack of $.99 bacon cheeseburgers out the window with my little drive-thru headset on, saying, “Thanks for coming to Wendy’s. Come again.” Now that it’s really here, I’m saying, hell no. I’m not working at Wendy’s. Unless of course, they pay me $15/hr, because you can’t beat that.

Anyway, what I’m saying is, I miss Utah. My friends call and talk to me and ask me how I like Arizona and I say I feel out of place, I hate it here, I can’t get a job, I feel like a foreigner because they are so many Mexicans and all. Not that I have a problem with Mexicans. I love Mexicans. All of them. No seriously, I don’t have a problem with Mexicans. But I do feel like I’m in Mexico here. Everything is in Spanish and English. I wish I spoke Spanish, I really do. Because part of the problem with having so many Mexican people is that I don’t understand Spanish and that creates, in me, a feeling of alienation when there’s a group of people speaking Spanish. And a little fear, to be quite honest. Anyway, the good thing about all the Mexican people is obviously the Mexican food. I absolutely love carne asada tacos. Authentic Mexican food is, as we all know, the best. Veronica, my cousin’s wife (who is Mexican), taught me how to make authentic enchiladas. They melt in your mouth. If only I could make them like she makes them.

So, aside from the phenomenal Mexican food, I just don’t love Arizona. It’s still being quite bitchy to me. No job yet. Nothing. I mean, I’ve had a few interviews and I just don’t have the endurance to be out of work this long. I feel like I’m emailing my résumé’s to the void. Bastard void. Everything is SO hard. How can it be so difficult? I’m trying to get on with substitute teaching, but even that’s murder. I have to get my fingerprints done, I have to get my rubella shot, I have to jump through this hoop, jump through that hoop, jump through this flaming hoop, oh, now jump through the flaming hoop WITH the pool of crocodiles underneath it. Aww, the crocodiles got her. Too bad. Next substitute victim!

Okay, but really my problem is my driving pessimism. Just joking. I’m not a pessimist, I’m a realist.

So, what I’m really longing for, I guess, is comfort. I’m out of my comfort zone here and flailing like a fool. I miss the familiar things about life back in Utah. I miss the linear aspect of the Wasatch Front. How the mountains are always on the east and I-15 runs north and south and if you want to get to Logan, you just get off I-15 in Brigham City and follow the road through Sardine Canyon, past Mantua (pronounced, for who knows what reason, “Man-a-way.” Indian word, I guess), and drive out of the canyon onto the foothills of the Wellsvilles (steepest slope, from base to peak of any range in the U.S., I think) and there, Cache Valley unfolds all pastoral and beautiful in the summer dusk. In the spring everything is green and lush, in the fall everything is red and yellow, dusty golden in the autumn twilight. Magical.

All glum things aside, the best thing that’s happened so far is that the little gray cat decided to move in. She showed up the other day at the door with her suitcase full of a cat litter box and a feather-mouse-bell toy. We let her in because how could we resist? She’s fluffy and adorable and completely house-trained. Deciding on a name has been tough. We’re leaning towards Bastet because of the beloved (by me, anyway) Amelia Peabody series by Elizabeth Peters.


Matthew said...

I can relate to how you feel. My job search is going dismally. However, I do not have the additional stressor of being away from home. I should have responded to that employment ad for elementary school teachers in Spain.

Our schools are doing us a disservice by not introducing us to foreign languages at an early age. This is probably a lame suggestion, but could you enroll in Spanish language lessons? You could learn Spanish, it would occupy your time, and it could possibly lead to something good. I suppose that would cost money, though.

Hang in there. Things will look up. You will find a job, and maybe Arizona will grow on you.

Anonymous said...
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Greg said...

It's really fascinating reading your reactions to this place, because they're somewhat different than mine, but leading to the same place - I don't like it either. The problem with AZ, I think, is that there is no comfort zone. Everyone is from somewhere else, and therefore there's very little sense of community, so there's very little chance of creating a comfort zone. I wish I could help with the job search, but I don't know of any schools that are hiring.

Ana Rodriguez said...

Just remember that nothing is ever permanent. That's the beauty about change. The majority of the time change is for good. And things will change and get a lot better and you will look back at laugh at your unemployment phase. I know you are going to get a bitching job soon. Hang in there because I know you are strong. Utah misses you.

Aries327 said...

Matthew -- I'm sorry about your job search. It's nice to have a network of support, but mine is all far away. Thank goodness for cell phones and that whole in-network free call stuff. And thank goodness for this blog and all the people who read it and tell me good stuff. It really helps to have people saying, "Hey, I feel for you..."

As for Spanish language classes, I could do that. Stoker speaks Spanish and he's taught me some stuff. But Stoker also mentioned that it's pointless for him to know Spanish and speak it fluently when there are guys working with him who speak both English and Spanish as their native languages. They smoke him as far as speaking it naturally and beautifully.

And you're right. Maybe Arizona will grow on me...I hope it does. I really do. There are beautiful things about this place. It's just tough to see them when you're in the gutter. Joking, I'm not in the gutter, necessarily.

Greg -- You're great. And you're right. There's no sense of community. I can't go to the local bookstore or cd shop so much, and talk to the salespeople and have them know me. Although, there is a sense of community within the smaller groups, like the climbing crowd. If I go to the gym regularly, perhaps they'll get to know me and I'll feel at home. (What I do love is all the rain lately. I love rain storms).

Thanks for wishing you could help with the job search. The problem, anyway, with the schools is that I don't have a teaching certificate. I'm working on the substitute thing and working on getting some tutoring jobs though, and that will help in the future.

Ana Rodriguez -- You're a damn sweetheart, that's what you are. Thanks for the comment and for coming to my blog. Those were great words, about change and all. Thanks. You're great. I miss you and Christy and Mike and James Taylor and Ana Knudsen and Jason Campbell and the Baughs and everyone else.

linda said...

The last time I went an extended period without being able to find a job I liked, I accidentally became a web designer (a job I like very much).

You will probably accidentally find something you like soon, also -- in the meantime, try to enjoy the fact that you're in a state that contains the letter z; the vast majority of Americans cannot make this boast.

Aries327 said...

Linda -- You kill me. You're one of my best finds from blogging.

Greg said...

The rain is excellent. It's especially weird to have it during the day, so that's very cool. You picked a bizarre summer to move here, apparently.

Dainty Fairy said...

Aww I'm sorry to hear about how you feel. I hope you get a job soon and although your not having much luck at the moment, I am sure you will do soon. Just try to remember why you're there - Stoker.
Very cute about the cat, I wish I had a pet :)

Emily Kate said...

I just found your blog from someone else's links and I HAD to comment on this post. I do live in Utah, (I go to BYU) and it always upsets me when people have such horrible things to say about it. I work with a lot of people who make snide remarks all day about the Mormons. Just today it was about how the cops don't have anything to do on Sundays because nobody's out! Um...forgive us for going to church! But really, Utah is a beautiful, wonderful state. And we'd be glad to have ya back. :)

Aries327 said...

Greg -- I went to Irvine, CA this weekend and it rained there. I think the rain is following me.

Dainty Fairy -- thanks for the encouragment.

Emily Kate -- Thanks for the comment. I hope to end up back in Utah -- my friend Dina calls it a beautiful secret (she just moved back after a brief stint in Ohio). I love the climate and the mountains there, but most importantly, I want to be close to mine and Stoker's families. It doesn't hurt that I think it's beautiful, though.