Sunday, April 3, 2016

The First Day- February 8th, 2014

(I started writing this and more about our dating story while I was still living in Israel. It's based on some diary entries I wrote at the time)

I was living in Strasbourg, France... doing an internship teaching English in some small towns nearby. It was such a cool opportunity! I LOVED my job, and I LOVED getting to travel all over France and Europe. I got to travel a lot with my good friend Olimpia, who was doing the same internship as me in another city, and also some with Jenna, who was doing a study abroad in Italy.

Unfortunately, in Strasbourg I never really made a group of friends. The other teaching interns mostly just hung out in bars (also, I didn’t put forth any effort to get to know them). Most of the people close to my age at church weren’t interested in being friends with someone who wasn’t French (also, I didn’t make much of an effort either, I was too shy). I wasn’t usually invited to or told about the YSA activities, but one day... after living in France for over 5 months... I got my first invite.

The activity happened to fall on a Saturday when I didn’t have any travel plans, which was rare! I decided to go because (as described before), I had no friends in the city I lived in. There are only so many days you can spend entertaining yourself. I was pretty successful for most of the year (it was a wonderful year, don’t get me wrong!!), but by February I was in need of some human interaction.

I’m not usually a big fan of YSA activities (is anyone?). That’s why I explained that I needed friends... because otherwise I most likely wouldn’t have attended what would most likely be a cheesy activity with a bunch of people who ignored me every week at church. But anyways, on February 8th 2014, I found myself on the bus en route to the Strasbourg ward building.

Of course, when I got there everyone I knew from my ward pretended they didn’t know me and didn’t say hi (can you tell how fun it was to go to church in France?). At least that means I avoided my favorite French custom, kissing on the cheek to greet people. I awkwardly sat down on the chairs they had set up while other people were talking on the opposite side of the room. At this point, I was really regretting not spending the day alone walking around Strasbourg’s old town, window shopping (maybe some real shopping too), and visiting my cathedral... my typical Saturday activities. 

Thankfully, the activity was not only for the unfriendly Strasbourg crew, but for all YSAs in the stake... still a very tiny number, but better than nothing! A group of people who carpooled from Nancy- a city about an hour north of Strasbourg, came in a few minutes later. Right away a few of the Nancy people noticed the awkward person sitting by herself in the corner.

Two guys I hadn’t met before came over and introduced themselves. One said ‘Bonjour,’ and one said ‘Hello! Are you American?’ in English. Guess which one David was?

I don’t know what it was about me... did I have an American aura? Whatever the reason was, he could tell and immediately spoke English to me. It was half annoying and half a really big relief that I didn’t have to speak only French with all of these people I didn’t know (I am capable of doing it, but it can be stressful).

I was happy to have someone to sit next to and talk to during the devotional and the painfully cheesy games that followed. After that. the activity was not over! There was also a dinner, but I decided to leave beforehand. For someone who hadn’t socialized for months, 5-ish hours of an activity was enough. Also, I was 99% sure I wouldn’t like the dinner they were serving... and I wanted to go home and watch Olympic figure-skating. Sorry, David! You were abandoned for better food and figure-skating. However, before the day was done David had already added me on Facebook dun dun dun. The saga was not over.

This is the little pinkish ward building where we met.

To make it seem a little more exotic, you can see the magnificent Strasbourg cathedral from the front door of the ward building. You just have to squint a little ;)

Does that mean I can say that we met under the shadow of the Strasbourg cathedral? Too much of a stretch? I'll just go with it.

1 comment:

  1. We were so glad to have met you there Marissa and happy that you decided to go to that activity. We have been richly blessed by you while there on our mission.