SoJo

3 May

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I’ve been thinking a lot about hometowns and nostalgia and what makes a place meaningful.

I’m from the suburb-of-all-suburbs, South Jordan, Utah.  Our claims to fame include a completely average mini golf course, a Coldstone, and a bug-infested trail along “The Jordan River.”  That’s the type of suburb we are.  Everything is named after something else.

I love it.

This week I gave the official SoJo tour to a friend who had heard a lot about this little corner of the Salt Lake Valley.  A friend who kind of nodded when he heard me gush like, “All right, Jill. This is another one of your things.”  A friend I was determined to show just how great a suburb can be.

When I sat down to plan out our SoJo route I quickly realized that this tour was going to live or die on my energy levels.  Like if I am showing off two Harmon’s grocery stores I’m going to have to do it while singing or something, because, frankly, it’s not all that exciting.

This did not bode well.   Live or die on my energy levels means DIE. DEATH.  PERISH.

As I sat and stared at my blank “SoJo Tour” paper wondering how I could get out of the whole thing, I realized something that I already knew, but needed to remind myself.

South Jordan, for me, is not about the chain stores or the Town Square or even The Greatest Movie Theater I’ve Ever Been To.  The restaurants aren’t the reason I got homesick in London.   The local attractions aren’t what made me rush back home on my spring break.  South Jordan is about the memories and the people. And can you really take someone on that tour?

I thought about it.

I could show him Ashley’s house where I woke up on my 18th birthday to my surrogate family, a “Happy Birthday” banner, and pile of presents.

I could show him my high school where I so wonderfully naively thought I had figured everything out.

I could show him the place I came when I realized I didn’t.

I could show him the porch where my family took our last round of matching pictures.  (May coordinated outfits rest in peace.)

I could show him where I had my first kiss.  And the place where I first heard someone say they loved me and I realized “we were in love.”

I could show him my library, the place where I would move in if they would let me.

I could show him Breanne’s basement where my teenage friends and I sat down to predict where our lives would be at 25.  The place I listened to my friends state exactly what they wanted out of life and realized that I had no idea.  The place where I got emotional and said, “I just want to be happy.  When I’m 25, I hope I’m happy.”

I could show him my home, where I came back after a year in Malibu and realized, guess what–I’m 25. My life is nothing like what I thought it would be.  I’m still figuring things out.  And I’m happy.

I ended up just taking my friend to Café Rio.  Because that’s what you do in South Jordan.

And that other tour?  That’s for me.

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3 Responses to “SoJo”

  1. Linnea May 3, 2013 at 4:21 pm #

    I have to disagree, I think there are some unique things in SoJo. And our claim to fame is definitely being the only city with 2 temples. 😉

    How about the house cut in half on what is it…114th? A milkshake at Riley’s? All of the parks up by my house – the greenbelts, horse park, gulley park, the baseball diamond – but of course I grew up in such a different part of South Jordan than you did. And of course, Bingham. How could you not have longed to take him back to Bingham?? 😉

    Okay, I guess for me I’d really have to widen the radius a little bit – include Leatherby’s and Butterfield Canyon. Those are places I have real emotional ties to from my adolescent years.

    I love this post, though. It doesn’t matter if life isn’t figured out – it never really will be.

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