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I’ve been fortunate enough to live in some of the most varied and interesting places in the world.

  • San Diego
  • New York City
  • Sao Paulo, Brazil
  • Provo, Utah
  • Washington, D.C.
  • Kakegawa, Shizuoka, Japan
  • Palm Springs

By “live”, I mean I’ve stayed and worked for more than a 2 week vacation; I’ve bought groceries and paid rent for a period of time. I’ve actively attended the Mormon church and held a calling in every location except Palm Springs where I’ve only lived as an apostate. Most of these places I’d love to return to and experience as a normal person would, as a former Mormon I mean. What would I do differently the next time around?

I’d  say, “yes!” when invited to “espere um cafezinho” – stay a bit longer and enjoy a fresh cup of Brazilian coffee.

I’d comfortably exchange the customary local greeting of a kiss from whomever it was offered.

I’d graciously accept a warm cup of green tea in Japan.

I’d spend a humid east coast summer in DC in tank tops and shorts without an unnecessary layer of undergarments.

I’d spend my Sundays as an adult on beaches and in museums rather than inside a bland corporately decorated chapel or a cinderblock-lined classroom rehashing the same ideas I learned as an 11 year old.

I’d go out dancing really late on Saturday night listening to live, local music with people who enjoy the same tastes as I do rather than in a contrived singles dance held on an indoor basketball court.

I’d enjoy the breathtaking Utah outdoors on Sundays when it’s probably less crowded.

I’d accept a glass of wine with dinner from my host rather than pretend to be satisfied with my water or juice .

I’d buy a new local friend a drink.

I’d sing MUCH better Karaoke in Japan after a drink or two.

I’d have 2 full weekend days to explore, see, taste and otherwise experience these places.

I’d  experience irreverent theatre and art in New York City that I avoided the first time around.

I’d enter into personal and intimate relationships with others I am drawn to without the fear that my so-called “standards” would be an issue. Safely of course.

I’d volunteer my time to a local cause that I really believed in, rather than feeling self satisfied that I was already giving enough by fulfilling a time-consuming church calling that I didn’t truly want or enjoy in the first place.

I’d go to politically charged parties in DC and discuss issues that I disagree with and not have the certainty that I’m right.

I’m grateful for my time and past experiences in these places even the exclusively Mormon ones. I just look forward to new, more well-rounded and deeper life experiences wherever life takes me.