Coming from a year in a foreign country, I felt more culture shock moving to Utah. Perhaps it was about expectations. I thought a place in the U.S., a quick 14 hour drive from Omaha, would feel more like home than a country in Eastern Europe. However, in that small town in Utah’s mountains, I felt more like an outsider. With a 98% Mormon population, it often felt as though nearly everyone I met was more interested in converting me than getting to know me. After that feeling set in, I was never able to shake it.
While I complain about the state, not everything in Utah was horrible. I loved working at an academic journal. I had wonderful, caring bosses who pushed me to improve, never doubting my potential. I learned the fine art of detail-oriented editing.
At times, it felt like a personal attack when that misplaced comma slipped past me. Frustrated, I’d shore up my defenses so it wouldn’t slip past again. The team—our amazing copy editor, the other academic fellow, and any interns—worked in tandem to publish award-winning articles. Stuffing envelopes with the completed works we’d spent months perfecting felt nerve-wracking and thrilling. Once those journals were in the mail, there were no more revisions.
In Utah, I had friends who were generous and patient. I met amazing and talented people in class. I casually dated a guy who put up with my demands to see movies at the drive-in theater an hour away. For a while that relationship worked until I realized we wanted very different things from the future. When I told him that I didn’t want him to follow me after I graduated, he took that to mean that he should move to Nebraska and somehow I’d become a stay-at-home wife while he traveled to Africa, participating in a very sketchy pyramid scheme.
As someone whose primary “love language” is gift giving, my birthday gift from him sped up our relationship collapse. It was a giant, dusty scratched-up jewelry box with hideous gold-colored hardware. To be clear: my rather large collection of earrings was color coded in a flat plastic box with a removable lid. I dislike gold and items that add clutter while making things less convenient or accessible. I looked at it and thought, “He A. doesn’t know me at all and B. didn’t even try.” My friends echoed this sentiment, telling me they tried to warn him.
I waited until he got back from a business trip and broke up with him…two days before Valentine’s Day. Needless to say, he didn’t take it well and seemed to think I should’ve waited, even though we had plans to go to Disneyland with friends the next week and the week after was his birthday. When I encountered his mother a few months later, she gave me the silent treatment. Yep, a middle-aged woman would not speak to or acknowledge me because I broke up with her adult son weeks before.
Static Expressions – Tilly & the Wall
Lies – Marina & the Diamonds
Oh! – Eric Hutchinson
Undermine – Nashville Cast
All I Want – Kate Earl
Closer – Tegan and Sara
Sex to the Devil – Icky Blossoms
Homewrecker – Marina & the Diamonds
Maneater – Hall & Oates
Gun for a Mouth – Nashville Cast
Gold, Guns, Girls – Metric
Little Numbers – Boy
Make a New Dance Up – Hey Ocean
Bella’s Finals (Price Tag, etc.) – Pitch Perfect
Can’t Hold Us – Macklemore
A Little Party Never Killed Nobody – Fergie
Global Concepts – Robert DeLong
Anything Can Happen – Ellie Goulding
I Love It – Icona Pop
This is How We Do It – Montell Jordan
That summer I had plans to move to a less shitty apartment, to go home for a few weeks to do research and shore up energy from my native land, and to road trip to a huge music festival with my best friend. Summers in Utah were a combination of the normal excitement that summer brings and the quiet calmness of being in a college town off-season.
Summer Mix 2013 is defiant and optimistic, a combination I don’t particularly remember feeling. With the exception of “Static Expressions” and “Lies,” these songs reflect hope and excitement about the upcoming summer. The songs “Maneater” and “I Love It” glorify a disdain for my ex and highlight a sad lack of compassion on my behalf. But “Make a New Dance Up” and “Anything Can Happen,” among others, celebrate the potential of the summer ahead.
Summer Mix 2013 Highlights
Perhaps these summer mixes are where my karaoke skills began, because I bring down the house with “This is How We Do It.”