Locals + Culture

House Calls | Sofia Gorder

1/26/2023 | Samuel Johnson
Lauren Kerr | Kerri Fukui

When I think of Sofia, I think of a woman who has a love for all things unique and a passion to share said things. She lives a life brimming with excitement and it's not lost on her surroundings. The same flame that flickers so brightly inside of her is reflected throughout her space. Sofia works in the arts with a strong desire to use her art and dance for the good of the community. She performs and helps coordinate several events in avocation of our climate and our lovely home, Utah.

She lives in the heart of Central Ninth with her two kids. Tucked inside this Washington Street abode is a family full of love and adventure, ready to soak up the charm of the neighborhood. Her desire to always be on the go and enjoy life has left her full of interesting experiences that bleed into her home. Even the furniture that adorns each room has a captivating story on how it made its way there. Sofia and her kids have created something special, a home.

A place that pulls one in and makes even the fleeting visitor feel like they are home.

What does home mean to you? Hmm…I think home is a refuge. A place where family and dogs can jump onto one couch together. I also think of it as a launchpad, which is part of why we live here. It’s where you have all your adventure gear. Where you can quickly and easily pack up all your stuff and launch somewhere and have adventures together. Whatever is created in the home, is the thing that you get to transport to other places for adventures. I feel like you can't adventure without home, you know. They go together. People may think that's crazy, but that's kind of how we live. *Waves at a passing neighbor* And we have awesome neighbors. I think that's a big part of it. I think that home is a place where the community around you makes sense.

If money was in abundance, describe to me what your ideal home would look like. I mean, this! This would be the size and the way that my home would feel. I would just add to it. I would go to Morocco or visit all the places in the world I've been, and buy the things that I loved that other people in other places have made by hand. You would see that very clearly in all of the materials of my home. But truly, I think this is it - in a city center, access to anywhere in the world by airport, tracks, a freeway entrance, and a place that we love to come back to.

You left SLC for a while, what brought you back here? I guess the truth is, no poetics here, this is a city center for dance. This is where many, many, people come to dance. You can go to LA, you can go to New York, you can sometimes find work in Ohio and Minneapolis, or you can go abroad. But Utah is just this hotbed for the arts and dance. There’s actually funding here for dance and a fluency in audienceship and schools that you can't find elsewhere. That's what I've always done and why I came back…And, I fell in love with a man that's in the Forest Service.

Culturally though, I do struggle with Utah. So I love that I’ve found a community of people that help me feel like my slice of Utah exists.

What's your favorite part of your home and why? I'd like to say that it wasn't the kitchen, cause that's so cliché. I do, however, think the kitchen is where all of our friends and family spend most of our time, even though it's so tiny. But yet, it doesn't matter to anyone - or their dog, their aunties, their best friends, their new partners and the random boyfriend that showed up. Because this really is the center of a lot of social stuff. Everybody smashes in around the tiny little countertop, just so that we can all hang out around whatever food we're making. I think we care a lot about food…fresh food. 

Secretly, we like when nobody else is here. Our living room becomes all dogs and all kids on deck, just snuggling.

Daughter - I like downstairs and your room.

Ohh like that's where you feel safe because you can just snuggle in with me? I'm one of those moms that lets all the dogs and all the kids in the bed just to, you know, snuggle.

What do you think it is that draws everybody into your house? I just think I allow it. It doesn't even matter if you have good food. I’m not making these huge dinners for people. I'll look in the fridge and find three pickles, nuts, and some chicken and know we can get creative with that. I don't know. We have all kinds of people come over here. I guess everybody just feels welcome here. We had Oliver, who has been an international student with us for a long time and he's in his 20’s. Then there’s my friends, and then we have elementary school friends, middle school friends, and college students who are my old students. So it's like multi-age, multi-race…there’s a lot going on. Maybe that's why. Because it's fun. I don't know.

If you could live anywhere else, where? Where would you go outside of Salt Lake City? Or would you stay here? Sofia’s daughter shouts, “MEXICO”. Mexico is the move, yes. I think the utopian socialist in me just wants to be in a small town, where everybody's accountable to the community. I think when you relinquish your reliance and dependence on federal and state, you're just left with your communities. You then dream up what is important to you. There are communities that we visit where everybody's intricately involved in their communities because they have to be, not because they want to be. That being said, we still do really love getting bougie in Idaho - enjoying our skiing and our fondue when it's necessary. Sun Valley is a favorite.

I know you love Washington Street. What is it that keeps you here and keeps that love alive? It has a really rich history. It’s like a vortex for people who don't feel comfortable in traditional SLC and are looking for something that feels more like home, whether that's because they come from another country, they come from a big city, or they come from somewhere more diverse. They don't come from the suburbs, so they're not familiar with that culture. So you just have this clusterfuck of people that I think are really cool. I think there's a multitude of ways to feel like you're at home here. People who would like the diversity, find this place, they sniff it out. It's a different feeling than anywhere I've lived. I’ve lived at 9th & 9th, The Avenues, Yale Crest, Glendale, but this feels like home to me. We spend time with homeless people, we spend time with very wealthy people and I think that's the charm. That, and you can get street food on a dime and never get in your car, yeah.

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