It is now summer of 2003, and I have moved back to my parents’ house in Orem, Utah. Having had my heart battered around a bit the previous summer, I decided to take a break from the serious dating game and to just have fun for a while.
At the same time I started attending my home singles ward again. A local LDS congregation is called a ward, and a singles ward is a special congregation where all of the members (except for the Bishop and his counselors) are young single adults (18-29 years old). It can be a bit odd, but in a religion that places such emphasis on marriage and the family, it makes sense for there to be a place for young people to meet.
I had attended this singles ward before I moved out for the summer, and had even made some pretty good friends. I suppose I ought to back up now, since I’m getting a little ahead of myself.
When I returned from my two year LDS mission to Spain in February of 2003, I was amazed at how many Hispanic people were living in Utah. I honestly don’t know if this was a case of a huge influx during the two years I was gone, or simply my eyes being opened to things due to the fact that I now spoke Spanish. Either way, I was really happy to see that my community was more diverse than I had remembered it.
During my mission I had really fallen in love with the Spanish language, and I was happy to take any opportunity to speak it. So when I realized that there was a Spanish-language Sunday school class in my singles ward, I immediately jumped on it. The class was attended by a mix of Mexican girls and returned missionary Anglo guys. I really enjoyed it.
After a while Erica, who taught that class, invited me to hang out with her and her friends for a classic Mormon singles activity: bowling. We went to Fat Cats in Provo, and I had a really good time. The following week they asked me if I would like to go to a Latin dance with them. That was way outside of my comfort zone, so I politely declined. They asked me why. I told them that I didn’t dance. They said that is ridiculous, everybody dances. I told them not me. They said they would teach me. I thought that couldn’t be all bad, so I decided to give it a shot.
After that my double life began. I was a typical Utah boy, a wife-hunting college student most of the time, but many weekends I would hang out with these girls and have a great time — sometimes watching a movie or doing something else, but mostly going to dances. I was sure that I wouldn’t be marrying any of them since we didn’t even share the same primary language or culture, so I was able to just relax and have a great time. None of them knew me from before my mission, they didn’t know anything about my family, so I was able to just be what felt like “myself” — no pressure. After a while, I even gained some proficiency in dancing. It was a really fun time for me. I had no idea that it would also lead to my meeting the most important person in my life.
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