21 October 2013

Collision and Closing

What has changed about me?

My dad asked me that question on the way back to campus after spending the last half of fall break at my parent's house. He was asking in acknowledgement that after 18 years, he has gotten to know me as a person very well, and in the short few months since I have moved out, realistically on a small part of me has change, primarily in the categories of education and personal independence.

As you, my beautiful reader, I hope I you have gotten to know me fairly well over the past four years. I know that most of you haven't been following my blog for quite that long, but at the same time I don't feel like I've gone out of my way to disguise my voice in my writing. 

On the station platform after a late night Walgreens run.
Taking a quick step back to fall break....

Aside from working a lot the first half, the second half of fall break I got to not only see an awesome concert, I also had a week to go back to my family's house and bring Tree along with me! With my sister Megan there with her husband and our good friend Haley and of course my dad, it was a great little weekend. My lovely mother is off in Michigan this week with my sister Catherine, of who I am quite envious of. During our visit, the lot of us took a little walkabout on the mountain side to see a waterfall!

Look at that handsome young lad!
The weather was just perfect and the fall leaves were to die for. Moments like these in particular make me just love Utah.

So this concert that I went to!
On Wednesday I went with my dear friends Clare and Allison to see Passion Pit preform at The Complex in downtown SLC. It was seriously a fantastic concert. I love Salt Lake because we are the biggest metropolitan area in the region so we get more national names, but our city is still small enough that our concerts still feel very intimate.

Getting back to the question I posed at the beginning of this post...
I feel very comfortable sharing parts of myself on this blog that I wouldn't necessarily shutout to the world in any other manner. For example, my coming out post or the follow up to that post are two very poignant sentiments that I wanted to share first in my own private forum. Currently I have a sentiment that I'd like to share. But I'm not quite ready to put it up on my little forum just yet.

The view between Orem and American Fork on Frontrunner
A while ago I went to the LDS Affirmation conference here in Salt Lake City. The final speaker on the final night of that conference gave an amazing talk and her name was Barbra Young. She expressed a similar sentiment to what I am feeling now. She talked about how she was proud of groups like LDS Affirmation, LDS Family Fellowship and MBB who were going out of their way to build bridges in communities and families between LGBT members and their LDS neighbors and families. But, she said, this was not how she felt. She didn't want to patiently build bridges, slowly making the world a more accepting and loving place. Instead, she was the type of person who wanted the continents to collide together closing vast chasms and oceans so that there wouldn't be a need for bridges!

A city that I made up. I've named it Pardoux.
Not going to lie, I feel a lot like her right now. My patience towards people who tell me I am wrong in my beliefs or that I need to be more cautionary in how I express my opinion is at an all time low. I had a good year an a half changing minds and hearts to take a moment and listen to my opinion. But right about now, I'm rather done with all of that. I just want the world to be more open and accepting and I want me to not have to be the one to do that. 

But when reality comes knocking at my door, I realize that outside of Salt Lake City, Utah is far from being the most progressive place on earth. When it comes down to it, it's more likely than not that I'll have dozens more bridges to build, stories to recount and hearts to touch.

What you see above is a work in progress on my latest creation-- a city called Pardoux. It's an imaginary city with a metropolitan population of around four and a half million people and an urban population of closer to two million. I could probably write an entire blogpost on it, but for now I'll refrain. Just know that this is what goes on in the inner workings of my mind. 

I love you guys. Thanks for taking the time to read.

Best Regards,

A. Browne Sebright

08 October 2013

My city has become smaller than ever.

And at the same time it seems bigger than ever.

It's been a month of me living in Salt Lake City and I have found myself becoming more and more comfortable calling it my home. Of course, I've not hesitated to mention that several times already.

The view from The City Library
All the streets, the sounds and the energy of my little city has become so familiar to me. From riding crowded trains at night to commuting to work or shopping in the city. I'm in love with life right now.

A late train ride home one evening.
But I haven't blogged in a very long time! It has been just over 4 weeks. And I can assure you, plenty has happened in that time frame. For starters, I am more than a month into being a vegetarian and that is going fantastic. Classes are swell, and I am learning a ton. I've gotten to go home twice since school started and it was very nice being able to see my parents again. I had an oral exam in French today, and I feel like I did pretty well with that. It was actually a really cool feeling being able to use what limited French I've studied to have a coherent if somewhat broken conversation with another speaker.

The view on the way home to my dorm ever afternoon.
I think I'm really taking root here. 

Like I was talking about in the title of this blog post, the longer I live in this city, the more I realize how interconnected all the different pieces of it are. I've seen more of it than ever and it is all coming down to scale for me. It really does seem smaller than ever.

Although, living without a car 15 minutes outside of the city center, I also realize how big a small city like Salt Lake City is compared to the human scale. In my Urban Ecology and Architecture classes, we talk an awful lot about the human scale. How it relates to buildings and cities and society as a whole. While the Salt Lake metropolitan area only has a population around 1.5 million, the city compared to a 5 foot 7 inch 18 year old is physically large. Especially when to be navigated on bike and foot.

Utah is really beautiful. Even (and maybe especially) the urban areas. Heck, the picture above was taken in City Creek canyon between the capitol heights neighborhood (named for the capitol building complex seen in the picture) and the Avenues. This spot is seriously 8 minutes walking distance from Temple Square and downtown Salt Lake City. I love living in the mountain west where natural settings are set in such close proximity to more urbanized living.

And speaking of beautiful..... 

Look at this handsome fella. His name is Tree and he is a fantastic human being. Keep tabs on him, because he is going to be sticking around. This past weekend, in between sessions of conference we walked through the Avenues to visit his childhood home. We also went through City Creek Canyon, Temple Square, ate yummy pizza and then saw the new movie Gravity.

Tree and I in Temple Square
Holy freaking moley Gravity was awesome. I highly recommend it. 

I really wish I had been keeping better tabs on what has been happening in my life. Frankly, the last few weeks feel like a blur anyway. With mid terms rolling past, I feel like I've been here much longer than I'm sure I have been. With the repetition of classes, work and studying, weekends are how I measure time. And most weekends I feel like awesome people are coming to visit me in Salt Lake, or I am going to visit awesome people in Provo or I am going back to my parents house for the weekend to rest and relax with some home cooked meals. After a dozen of these weekends, I can't seem to remember which happened when or with who. 

So I am making a resolution to give more updates and whatnot about my life. That way not only can all y'all here more about my college adventures, but I can also record more of my first year away from home for my own memory's sake.

I love you guys, and I think you are all fantastic.

Best regards,

A. Browne Sebright