Wednesday, August 31, 2005

It's Becoming REAL!

Each day that passes, the reality of moving to Utah becomes more and more real. Last week, after spending a few days in Denver at our office there, I met Deb at the Salt Lake airport for the start of a three day neighborhood-hunting visit. It was both of our's first trip to Utah ever.

The first thing I noticed that was different was at the Hertz counter. The woman welcomed me to Utah and smiled at me. I knew right away that I was not in Philadelphia. I said this to her and she laughed. I wanted to give her a hug and a kiss! We stayed at the Residence Inn directly across from where my office will be. We went to bed almost immediately because we had a big day planned with the realtor on Friday.

Friday morning after breakfast, we met our realtor for the first time. Sheila Gelman has been in Utah since 1971 after moving from...Philadelphia! She's been in real estate since 1979 and knows every area like the back of her hand. She was a dream and made everything so easy for us. We spent the next seven hours or so getting in and out of Sheila's Audi looking at houses and taking notes.

One thing is for certain: Utah is the single most beautiful place I have ever seen in America. No question. EVERYWHERE you look - mountains. Not hills and small peaks...I am talking MOUNTAINS. Just for example - here is a picture of one of the many houses we looked at. The view is virtually the same at every place we saw.

The first half day was really eliminating a bunch of neighborhoods for one reason or another. We want to live in a more diverse area and our best bet is closer in to the city of Salt Lake. The further out you venture, the less diverse the community is. The statement that Mormons dominate Salt Lake is absolutely false. We learned a lot of things out there and this was one of them. First off, the Mormons are very wonderful people and very accepting of outsiders. Specifically, they are very close with the Jews. Seeing a Church of LDS on every three street corners can be a bit intimidating, however, they become part of the backdrop after a few days. Besides, the Ward Houses, as they are called, are absolutely immaculate. Beautifully landscaped and mostly newer buildings, the LDS Ward Houses merely add to the curb appeal of the city. They are some of the most gorgeous structures there.

The city has one real synagogue, Kol Ami. The picture here shows the view from the parking lot.

There are 300 families that belong to the ONLY synagogue. So different from here! We plan on joining right away. It's important to make immediate bonds with some of the Jewish families out there so we can continue to bring the kids up in a Jewish world.

Some interesting facts about our trip and about Salt Lake City:
  • There are exactly ZERO Dunkin Donuts in Salt Lake City. ZERO. Amazing not to see one every few miles on the road. There are several Starbucks - I think two. Mormons don't drink caffeine.
  • I put on NBC to watch Saturday Night Live on Saturday night. Not on. Turns out that the NBC affiliate in SLC won't show it. Too racy. We did, however, get to watch Steve Young give his testimony at BYU and cry about his devotion to his Mormon faith....on network TV.
  • We ate at a FANTASTIC Mexican restaurant (Red Iguana) and all the employees (save the chef) were white. We ate at an excellent sushi restaurant (Mikado) and all the employees (save the chef) were white. So different!!!!
  • At 10pm, as we were finishing at the sushi place, another couple noticed my Phillies shirt and asked if we were from Philly. Turns out, the guy grew up in West Chester! He met his wife at the University of Utah and moved here. They have two children the SAME age as our kids and live in a development that we were looking at!! I gave him my contact information. Small world!
  • It was 95 degrees there on all three days and I DID NOT SWEAT ONE BEAD. So wonderful!! A Borenstein didn't sweat! The maximum humidity was 35%. This explains why almost every home has a fully finished basement with bathrooms and bedrooms down there. There is almost no such thing as mold and mildew there. My allergies will be put to sleep!!

When it was time to come home, we had pretty much decided on a few neighborhoods we would concentrate on when it was time to buy. I will be traveling out there a few more times and, depending on when our house sells, it will be UP TO ME to pick the actual house we will be spending the next few years in. Gulp. Pray for me. Actually, I feel confident because Sheila has a good idea of that Deb likes and I may ask Mom to fly out there to check some out because she knows Deb's tastes pretty well, too.

Our house went on the market last week. If you know someone who wants to move to Cherry Hill in a GREAT location - send them this link!!

If you sell my house I will invite you to see the Mormon Tabernacle Choir FOR FREE when you come visit us in Utah!!!

That's all for now. No bats this week. If there are more bats, however, my father-in-law gave me an easy solution - throw a ball at it.

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