In college, I had a wonderful Indian friend named Sachin who introduced me to Diwali. It was incredible. Good food, beautiful clothing, incredible dancing. I was so jealous. I grew up in Utah and I didn't feel like I had any culture to speak of. Yes, I was Mormon but so was Sachin and he was able to participate in this amazing celebration. I remember discussing this issue with my then boyfriend, who was not a Mormon. I distinctly remember him saying to me that my culture is being a Mormon. I thought to myself that there was not much culture in that and went on in my college years searching for my culture.
Fast forward seven years. I have now lived outside of Utah for over five years. From the moment I moved to the East Coast, I have been able to identify my culture. My culture may not always appear as beautiful as the costumes or as apparent as the dances, but it is there deep within me and what I know is true. What I believe and how I live it is my culture. The weekly church meetings I attend, the callings I try to do my best at, the way I dress are all included in my culture. My culture is the way I speak, the way I try to serve, and the emphasis on my family. Living outside of Utah has truly given me the eyes to see the differences between how I live and how most people live. I love being a bit different. I love that my culture believes in abstaining for alcohol. I love that my culture believes in serving and being with my family. I love that my culture believes in being a mom and a wife. I love that my culture actively pursues anything virtuous and lovely. I love my culture.