My wife and I just returned home from a trip to Southeast Asia. The first week we were there, we kept finding these T-shirts that said “Same Same but Different.” We thought they were funny, but had no idea what they meant. We eventually figured it out. This phrase was common for vendors hawking their wares. They’d tell you that they had the exact product that you were looking for, and when you would question them to make sure it was what you actually wanted, they’d respond by saying “yes, same same but different.”
When people ask me what it’s like to be a Mormon, I’ve often found that I’m torn between emphasizing the things that are the same and those that are different. It’s hard to communicate both simultaneously. Now that I’ve learned the “same same but different” phrase, maybe I’ll start answering with that. On one hand, my life is very much the same as everyone I know. I go to school. I work (or at least I did before the school thing). I just got married after dating my (now) wife for four years. I get stressed out; I procrastinate (the latter is often the cause of the former). I celebrate Christmas and Easter and love going home for Thanksgiving. I have pretty normal hobbies and interests (reading, playing a barrage of instruments, travelling). All in all, I feel like I have a pretty regular life (a life which, for the record, I absolutely love).
However, as ordinary as my life is, for me being Mormon adds something special. There are all sorts of things that are different/better in my life because of my faith. I think that’s the purpose of this blog and what I’m going to emphasize in future posts. All sorts of differences, ranging from experiencing peace in times of chaos like my brother Brian talks about, to quirky cultural differences that were noted by a recent article on Salon.com talking about the feminist, atheist author’s fascination with Mormon housewife blogs.
I’d love to get your perspective. What differences have you found with your Mormon friends or colleagues? What surprised you (either similarities or differences)? If you’re Mormon, what is something that makes your life different?