For those of you experienced with budget travelling, the hostel culture should be familiar. Most dorm rooms have 4 + beds and the polite and friendly thing to do is introduce yourself to nearby bunk-mates. Introductions include obligatory answers to the following: where are you from, where have you been, where are you going, how long have you been here… and when things are really friendly bunkmates will often share tales of the things they’ve seen in town or good tours they went on.
My first night staying in an hostel last week, (I’m travelling) three boisterous dyed blond college girls checked themselves into my room. Usually I find these girls annoying. They tend to talk to much and be too loud in their vacuous blatherings. These girls did fit that stereotype and had a long discusssion on Britney Spears new boyfriend. BUT, they were sweet. When they told me they were all from Nevada, Reno or Las Vegas and then I looked at them with their sweet smiling blond selves, I thought, ‘they could be mormon.’ So I asked, ‘You guys aren’t mormon are you?’ They laughed and said ‘no’, but told me they know lots of mormons.
Then, and this was my fault for asking the question in a negative way, one of the girls said “Hey, we could’ve really freaked her out by telling her yes!” Ha ha ha. That’s when I knew it was time to share, so I said, “Oh, I am mormon, that’s why I know there are so many in Nevada.” They got quiet for 2 seconds then were over it. I felt the urge to say, ‘don’t worry, I’m not like the rest.’ But I restrained myself, I’m glad I did. But why did I feel like saying that? I wondered what it is about us that makes girls like this think we are freaky, and that made me apologetic and almost shameful of my own kind? The whole episode disturbed me. I’m ashamed that I had that reaction. What is it about us that makes us so freaky? How sad. Here we were, on the other side of the Atlantic, and we both brought this negative view of mormons with us. Discuss.
(P.S. I’m having a fabulous time, it wasn’t disturbing enough to tarnish my trip.)