"But I'll never live in St. Johns" were the last words I mustered as we drove to the airport.
You see, I had it all figured out- my life that is, until I didn't. Let me rewind 10 years.....
I was set up on a blind date by my parents home teacher. (someone, who through my church, is assigned to make monthly visits, checks on the needs of the family, etc.) I immediately turned my nose up because Kasey wasn't 6'2" or taller (shallow, I know :() While I was turning my nose up, he was doing the same thing. He wanted a low key low maintenance kind of girl and didn't think that was me. Once he learned that I had a fishing license, he decided to take a chance. So our first date was fishing, where this "high maintenance girl" out fished him 5 to none! At that point he was 'hooked' and so was I. And almost a year to the day later, I married my 5'11" boyfriend.
We had planned on staying in Provo, Utah until Kasey graduated from BYU. Which is 10 miles away from my parents home- anyone that knows me, knows that I love my parents and didn't want to be any farther from them. But, reluctantly, that wasn't in the cards for us. You see, the Engineering Program at BYU is pretty fierce and the waiting list is even more daunting. So we listened to that gut feeling, packed our bags and headed to BYU-I in Rexburg, Idaho. While looking for an apartment, one of the first ones we looked at was Cougar Court Apartments. I, once again, immediately turned my nose up. Cougar Court sounded too much like BYU fan headquarters to me. Although my husband is a die hard BYU fan, I am not. University of Utah, anyone?? After searching and searching at the end of the day, Cougar Court is where we signed on the dotted line.
Graduation day finally came with a job offer at the power plant in Kasey's home town of Kemmerer ,WY. A quick 2 hour drive to my hometown- I was sold. So we once again, we packed our bags and moved to Wyoming, to where we thought we would be the rest of our lives.
When the power plant was purchased by another company, that meant new rules which included more hours, less pay and fewer benefits. Then throw fertility issues into the mix and we were in a hot mess! We were humbled, whether we wanted to be or not. We knew that change had to happen. That's when the call from TEP came. We flew to Phoenix and made the drive to Round Valley. I dropped Kasey off for his interview and I began scouring the mountain for living arrangements. I think I drove up every street in Round Valley. I fell in love. The smell of the pine trees, two grocery stores, a Sonic :)! I got to the St. Johns city limit sign and flipped around. I turned my nose up yet again. While driving back to the airport, I gave Kasey specific details of Eagar and that's when I bluntly stated "but I will NEVER live in St. Johns!"
The job was offered and a home was purchased, in St. Johns.
I look back over the past 10 years and the best things that have happen to me are ALL of the ones that I initially turned my nose up to. Ones that I had to let go of what I thought I wanted and go with my gut. Ones that have molded me into the person that I am today.
I couldn't ask for a better husband- Height has nothing to do with the character of a man. He has taught to me always look for the good in people and to not focus on the negative or think the worse.
The experiences in my tiny 600 foot apartment solidified my marriage. Neither of us could run home to mom and dad when problems arose. We only had each other, that's who we had to turn to. Living in married BYU housing truly taught me how blessed I was and am.
And lastly St. Johns. Boy, was I wrong. If there was a town to define the phrase- 'Don't judge a book by the cover,' St. Johns would be it.
I've never lived in a town where people are so genuinely concerned for the well being of others. Bumping into someone at the store leads to conversations, not just a quick hello. I've strived to be a better person because of the examples of the good people of this town.
Opinions can't be based on appearances. We need to look past- height, names, small towns, or whatever we are facing, to see the true character of what we are looking at. I wonder, in my life, how many friendships weren't established or how many opportunities weren't experienced because I turned my nose up.
Written by Holly Nelson