Making Friends in Unfamiliar Places: Cake, carbs, Mormons, and France

You must know four things about me:

1. I have a lot of energy.

My caloric intake can be broken down like this:


From the cake, I get a lot of, uh, simple carbs — energy — and so I run. From the pasta, complex carbs — I get a lot of energy to keep running. Because I love long distance running, I keep running, and so I burn a lot of calories. And so I need more energy. And I love cake. And in my grand and unflawed logic I have a system (a vicious cycle of deliciousness) that can never go wrong.


"You know I'd walk a thousand miles, if I could just seee you. Tonight." Dun dundunnananananananana

“You know I’d walk a thousand miles, if I could just seee you. Tonight.” Dun dundunnananananananana

Well, despite some complications with a not so 2-dimensional diet (I do love me some fresh veggies and fruit), having lots of energy is actually a favorable trait to have when you meet new people on a regular basis.

2. I get really excited about things that delight me.

Socks. Socks sway me.

Socks sway me.

You must know that while I try to come off all cool and self-deprecating on the internet (I am Jennifer Lawrence in this little corner of the internet that I command), in reality I am an overly-optimistic, always excited, bubbling gaggle of awkward energy (corgis and I get along real well). I am almost never composed, my hair is rarely coiffed to perfection, I often laugh when I really shouldn’t, and I get really excited when I meet someone new.

OMG. Bob Ross.

OMG. Bob Ross.

3. As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, also known as a Mormon, I have the opportunity to worship in congregations called wards or branches wherever I am living in the world. And so, for all the of the crazy Mormons around the globe who trot into this magnificent town, I get to meet them every Sunday.

4. I harbor an unconditional and abiding love for Catherine Deneuve based on exactly one French musical I have seen, “The Umbrellas of Cherbourg,” or if we’re having cheese omelettes, “Les Parapluies de Cherbourg.”

Photo courtesy Georges Biard via Wikipedia Commons

Photo courtesy Georges Biard via Wikipedia Commons

So there you go. You now know four things about me:

  1. I will probably live to be 116 based on my lifestyle. 
  2. I’m a small Asian eruption of enthusiasm. I like to call it pizzazz.
  3. I am a Mormon.
  4. I adore the posh women of République Française.

And you know, all four of those things are really great to have, be, possess in travel.

Along with this sweet umbrella. That's a good thing to have.

Along with this sweet umbrella. That’s a good thing to have.

One day I met a French woman, at the LDS branch, after having had tons of food and cake, being 100% myself.

She was lovely. Her husband was charming. Together they were one slice of divine perfection. They made me sigh with all the love.

Then, one of those crucial moments, as an American, in life happens. The moment you, and your country, have been waiting for, all your life. The opportunity that comes once in a lifetime and that must be seized when it betides you.

I thanked her for the help.

Madame Exquisite: “Help?”

“Uh. Help…in the. In the Revolution.

*Blank stare from everyone sharing my awkward space.

“No, gah, not the French one! The American one…with…with Great. Britain…um. Thanks.”

And then you look at yourself, back to her flawlessness, back at yourself and reflect. Oh. My. Did I just say that and think it would be funny? Or did I just say that because I have an honest appreciation for the allies of America’s independence movement?

Her: Marion Cotillard. Me: Jonah Hill.

But then a wonderful miracle.

She smiles warmly at this little furball of Oriental charm and laughs heartily, “you’re weird.”

Ah yes. Lovely, truly delightful people, thankfully the nicest people who were greatly amused, if not confused by me.

Now I’m not trying to brag or anything…but me and France…we’re cool now.

Eric LA Rochterman Melissa Rdz Cookie Cassie Sullivan LDS Istanbul Branch Turkey 2013 24 February (1)


One thought on “Making Friends in Unfamiliar Places: Cake, carbs, Mormons, and France

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