Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A Love Story: Part I (Reynolds Choro)

It turns out that Snoopy Poop Dog isn't dead after all. But Whitney Houston is. And she was right up there with Prince and Michael Jackson in my book. (Prince is still alive, right?) I really fell for her with that "Greatest Love"song. Tracy Schneider and I used to sing our guts out to that one in her bedroom back when I was still a fan of pop culture. This from a text exchange with my sister-in-law who is 13 years younger than me and clearly way more in the know than I ever hope to be again. Laura: Maybe Brandon was thinking of biggie smalls or tupac or nate dog, or the guy from the dougie group. Me: Are those real people???? Laura: Yes. Real people. All dead rappers. Me: Sweet. That's going in my next blog post.

I wrote up another type of love story for Deseret News today (sitting in the #1 spot for most popular in blogs, thank you very much!), but as I sit here next to Brandon on Valentine's Day (reading an article on "The Journey of the Apostles" in National Geographic . . .) and reflect on his pure awesomeness (he was on the news tonight for his part in saving the life of a teenage girl after a major car accident--I'm not making this up) I thought it high time to record the love story that got me into this mess. (Heaven help me if Rachael didn't talk so much today--demanding a constant stream of responses--that it actually killed off some of my brain cells. And another FIFTEEN YEARS of teenagers in the house just may be the death of me.)

Yes, in the spirit of the Pioneer Woman, I think I'd like to record our love story. (It's a totally different flavor of course, but every love story is worth telling, right?) And I think Valentine's Day is the perfect day to start. (Could I have a few more parenthetical statements?)

My first impression of Brandon was not a good one.

I had just been transferred to the city of Sendai, Japan (yes, where the tsunami was) for the last three months of my mission. Brandon was the "Zone Leader"--the missionary in charge of the "zone" we lived in that included about 26 missionaries--and I remember walking around the corner of the foyer of the church and running into him. My initial thoughts weren't very nice: Arrogant rich kid from California. 

Not exactly love at first sight.

I don't know why I even thought those things. I didn't know a thing in the world about him--not even his name at that point. I like to attribute it to my deeply intuitive powers of discernment. He was from California, his family did have more money than I was used to, and he was, well, confident. (Confidence and arrogance can be easily confused.)

We served together as missionaries in that area for just three short months, but anyone who has done anything like missionary work in a foreign country knows that three months is an eternity.

Before I go any further, there is something you should know about Mormon missions. (This probably isn't news to anyone.) The rules are strict. Very strict. And the Sendai, Japan Mission was SUPER DEE DUPER strict. So much so that we had a rule to never talk about life back home with other missionaries because it was considered KANKENAI or unrelated to missionary work. So having a romantic relationship with another missionary wasn't even on the radar. It was next to impossible, really, unless you were a serious rule breaker. And I was not a rule breaker. Not only did I avoid even THINKING about the possibility of having a romantic relationship with another missionary, but I ABHORRED the stereotype and joke about certain sister missionaries only going on a mission because they had nothing else to do and just wanted to find a husband. That was SO not me. I had wanted to serve a mission from the time I was about 14 (another story entirely) and solidified that decision my senior year in high school when I spent my spring break with sister missionaries in Des Moines, Iowa and had several faith building experiences. I was the girl who sent a "Dear John" letter to a guy back home who was kinda sorta waiting for me because I didn't like the distraction of thinking about someone in a romantic way whilst in the business of proselyting. (I'm not kidding when I say I was serious business.)

This is the stage I feel compelled to set before I explain how I met my husband in the mission field.

The exception to the "NO KANKENAI" rule was the monthly meeting on transfer day when the missionaries would get together to welcome the newcomers and get to know each other a little better. That's what we were doing that day at the church. Everyone got out their "jikoshokais" (little books full of personal pictures we used to introduce ourselves to Japanese people so they could see we really were totally normal 20-somethings in our lives back home even though we rode around Japan on bikes wearing name tags, dress clothes, and HELMETS ((no one wore bike helmets in Japan but the Mormon missionaries))) and we passed them around, asking each other questions and making connections.

I still clearly remember the picture of Reynolds Choro's girlfriend. Big hair, big earrings, big lips. Just the kind of girl he would go for. Yep, I've got this guy pegged. (I have no idea where any of this was coming from, and you should have seen my hair in the 80's. Talk about big.)

It went downhill from there.

Brandon likes to say that I thought of myself as the AP. (Assistant to the President--the only other position above a zone leader.) I guess you could say that I didn't feel it necessary to be led by a 20-year-old guy (what with me being the ripe old age of 22), let alone a snot nose kid from California who thought he was the stuff.

When we have told people the stories about how we didn't get along in Japan, they frequently suggest there may have been some romantic tension going on from the start. Maybe. But if it was, it was on a very--and I mean VERY-- subconscious level. (See paragraph 4.)

Doggone it, it's just too late. To be continued . . . .

1 comment:

  1. dude i'm on the edge of my couch waiting for more... you can't just leave off like that! i'm so glad i found your blog cuz i think you're hilarious and right up my alley of like minds, and i am curious - how did you ever make it through residency? we're waiting eagerly for match day and it's killing me (maybe more than the money spent on interviewing did already...) will be following from now on!


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