Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Mormon Boys in Zadar

Recently, I became acquainted with a charming, young artist from Salt Lake City - Senta Plyer of As I Was Saying. I was telling her that a year ago, she would have been the first person from Utah that I'd ever met - but now, since living in Zadar....Ironically, I've met several people from Utah.

A few weeks before Easter last year, we met two Mormon boys standing on the street corner trying to talk to people on a Saturday night. One of them started talking to us, in PERFECT Croatian, asking ˝if we wanted to be a part of a church that isn’t corrupt.˝

Now, you must know that Husband and I met at church...Catholic church...and the faith is central to our life together. So, this approach of theirs piqued our interest not because we were conversion material but rather, we wondered how successful their tactics were in Croatia as it is purportedly a Catholic country.

So, ˝they˝ continued talking in perfect Croatian - I say ˝they˝ because the younger one never spoke. When Husband said ˝you can speak English,˝ these guys melted into a gooey puddle. As an immigrant, myself, I know how they felt. Your ear strains to hear something familiar all the time.

Turns out that the young one, Brady, had been in Croatia all of a week or two and was in complete shock. The older one, Chase, was almost done with his time in Croatia. We chatted for an hour mostly off the topic of religion, exchanged contact information and parted ways.

As the time approached, we thought to invite those boys for Easter lunch but wondered if they would even be allowed to come. I called anyway. ˝oh my gosh, oh my gosh, I knew you guys would call us...I knew it!˝ So, yes. They could and would come. A third Mormon kid, Jerrod, was absorbed into the fold after being evacuated from Serbia a few days prior.

So our Catholic household for Easter 2008 consisted of:

Husband and I, Husband's 75 year old Yugo-nostalgic aunt and 3 Mormon boys. What a mix to celebrate the birth of our Lord!

We ended up having those boys over to our house lots of times, including American Independance Day. As is standard operating procedure, those boys get moved around to other cities...some go home...so the exact composition of our group of Mormons changed everytime. We went through Miles from Texas...Robbie from Arizona...Gabriel from Italy...Hugo, a Venezuelian Mormon whose whole family moved to Zagreb (so he spoke Spanish and Croatian) but it wasn't until we lost Brady to Varaždin in the north that we parted ways with the Mormons. It just wasn't the same after he left - the last vestages of the core group were gone.

They were good boys, though. Good times.