A year and a half-ish ago, while visiting my sister in a city that is not Provo, Utah, I posted the following to my Instagram:
I was in this funny state of in-betweenness. I had an apartment in Provo and classes in the fall and a job and roommates and my best friend (when she wasn’t abroad, bless her wanderlust spirit). But I also had this feeling that I was leaving Provo, at least for a while. I was headed home, and that was unexpected and scary and humbling but so, so right.
So I post this thing and I don’t think much of it–because it really is a joke. I mean, Provo is fabs, but some of it is so tough. The comparison. The vanity. The sheer…pressure of it all. Some of that is self-inflicted, sure, but I wasn’t alone in that.
When I left Provo I knew I’d miss the people, and the Chick-fil-a (bless the Chick-fil-a’s of Utah County, esp those on Bulldog Blvd and in the Wilk), and the Swig, but I never thought I’d miss the place. I left quickly. I didn’t really give myself time to think about it.
But now I know what I miss: I miss the In-N-Out runs at midnight. I miss the Payson Temple. I miss Zupa’s. I miss the Provo Temple, and the Provo City Center Temple. I miss the vending machine bagel sandwiches. I miss the JFSB courtyard–the prettiest place in any season. I miss the Maesar, and Karl–oh, Karl!! I miss J Dawg’s and the engineering building that I can’t remember the name of (the Clyde, maybe? The one with the tiny women’s restroom that was so difficult to find?). I miss the language lab on the second floor of the JKB, where you hear Mandarin, Arabic, and German spoken at tables right next to each other. And oh, international cinema! What a delight. And Art After Dark! So many great things.
I still feel myself to be a Cougar, true blue through and through, even though I won’t graduate from BYU (but hey, catch me in Laie on December 15th, won’t ya?). I still feel that way because for so long, BYU meant everything to me. (Even though I said forever that I had NO INTEREST in going to BYU. Even though I visited other schools and had never stepped foot in Utah until two weeks before the start of freshman year. Even though I complained about the weather and the lack of good chicken katsu.) BYU and Provo encompassed so much. They meant so much. Provo brought me some of my dearest, and truest, friends. Provo expanded my love of learning. Provo sent me on my mission, and my mission more or less saved me.
BYU-Hawai’i has meant everything to me. If Provo sent me on my mission, it’s my mission that sent me here. And being here has been the greatest blessing (check out any and all of my social media posts from the past year to see/hear overflowing, gushing expressions of gratitude for all that this plot-twist life experience has been). But I just want Provo to know:
You were my first love.
So have a good school year, BYU. I still love you tons. After all this time, always.