You might not realise it, but you probably follow a Mormon lifestyle blogger on social media. It’s an aesthetic: the specific way knee-length dress is paired with an “effortless” messy braid, a yearly snap of pimply-teenagers in wedding dresses, a subtle nod to their children’s names in their Instagram bio, and absolutely no mention of their faith.
Our local streets became our sole stomping ground, yet walking the same route everyday had some unexpected gains. On these very streets, actually on the very ground, something intriguing started to happen.
To this day, I love fried Spam and eggs. The crunchy and salty slice of processed mystery meat dipped in just cooked egg yolk is one of my favourite breakfasts. After all, it was the breakfast that I grew up eating on Sunday mornings when we’d all sit around the table and mum would hand out these small rectangles of fried salty goodness. I didn’t think it was that strange till I had a conversation with some of my friends who furrowed their little brows in disapproval, “ew, Spam is gross, it’s like dog food”. I quickly learned that my beloved Spam breakfasts were not as commonplace as they seemed, but rather they were an oddity. In a world of bacon and egg rolls with hash browns, my beloved family breakfasts of Spam and rice were distinctly different.
Amusing anecdotes about fieldwork were, from what I could tell, basic currency throughout university halls, on conference panels, and in graduate student lounges. Many of my teachers and advisors had often relayed similar, if self-deprecating, stories about their own spectacular mishaps or moments of levity while working with people in every context imaginable: research participants, colleagues, friends, and community leaders alike. So why then was this reaction to my story so sudden and so visceral?