Kiana and I wanted to guest post with each other, but we didn't know what to write about. We eventually decided to write about something we have in common: being a Mormon teen. But that's also a difference about us. While Kiana is a Mormon in Utah, (what we East Coasters like to call "inside the Zion Curtain," light heartedly, of course; there's nothing wrong with living in Utah. In fact, I bet most Mormon teens out here have wished they did at some point or another) I'm a Mormon in Pennsylvania. And believe me, it's so different.
This is the youth in my ward at our last temple trip:
I know, pretty sparse.
Take me for example. As long as I've been in Young Women, there have only been (at most) three active girls. Right now there's one: me. There's only ever been (again, at most) three active Young Men. Right now one is my little brother, and another set of two brothers that live down the street from me. It probably sounds hard to believe for anyone who hasn't been through it, but I'm telling you, it's completely true.
And I've got to say, it's hard. It's hard being the only YW in class most of the time. It's hard going to Wednesday night activities (we combine with another ward who has more girls) and not having any friends there. But most of all, it's hard knowing that once I turn 16, the dating pool is going to be very limited. (Totally kidding. I don't even think about dating at this point.)
There are pros to being one of the only Young Women, though. It means I get all three of my leaders' attentions, all the time. I started this blog for my individual worth value project, and all because I was able to talk my leaders into it. (Correction: they didn't really need talking into; I presented a valid enough argument for the project that they let me do it with out really caring too much about whether or not it fit with the example projects.)
All right, so now that I've told my scary stories of being the only YW, let me explain myself a little bit. Don't get it into your heads that every single ward in the East Coast only has one YW in it. In fact, I've only ever known of one other ward like that. All the other wards in my stake have more than one YW right now.
There are two wards in my city: one covers one half of the city (and doesn't go outside) and the other ward has the other half of the city, and the neighboring two or three suburbs. All the rest of the wards in my stakes are either completely suburban, or another small town, or not even in the same state (we have one or two wards down in West Virginia). Since I'm in the ward that's completly city, there are a lot of students in it. Lots of the Mormon students at Pitt, CMU and the other colleges in Pittsburgh live in the neighborhoods that are in my ward. So basically, my ward is filled to the brim with twenty-some couples with little kids.
So I guess if you can befriend twenty-some girls with little kids (which I can... they give me all their old clothes when they either, 1. get pregnant again and can't fit into hardly anything cute, or 2. when they clean out their closets. And it's awesome, because they all have really cute style), then you'll be all right in my ward.
Wow. This is getting off topic. Let me bring it back.
Mormons on the East Coast in a nutshell:
1. There aren't tons and tons of youth in our wards.
2. Our stakes cover more than a neighborhood.
3. We usually have to drive more than fifteen minutes to get to a temple (the closest ones to me are 3, 4 and 4.5 hours away)
4. There aren't as many members as there are out west, which means...
5. More missionary opportunities for us!
6. I've gotta say, I've wished more than once to live in Utah (so many Mormons my age!)...
7. But I really like Pittsburgh, and I'm not leaving anytime soon...
8. Except for my mission in 4 years...
9. And the off to BYU...
10. But then I'm moving back east. No question about it.
11. I think Utah's really cool, but growing up in Pittsburgh has trained me to be used to a different type of living...
12. I guess I'm trying to say that
13. I'M NOT ABOUT THAT UTAH LYFE #PGHFOREVER #SWAGG #EASTCOASTMORMONSWAGG