The Salt Lake City Greek Festival! It’s one of my favorite things about Salt Lake in the summertime. And this year, it was a really fun experience to go with Ryan, who drove up from Provo to take me there.
Ryan is a friend of my friend, Becky (the same Becky that set me up with Romeo). I was excited to go out with him, because I trust her judgement a lot. And again, I was not disappointed.
Ryan is a well-rounded person. He has a masters in Business Administration and does really well in the business world, but he also has a really adventurous side that loves to hike slot canyons with 300 foot repels into water so cold he has to wear a wetsuit. He loved all kinds of music, and had seen some icons, like B.B. King, in concert. He was well-traveled, including several South American countries (including a mission to Equador), Turkey, Greece, and other places, with a lot of interesting stories about his travels.
When we arrived at the Greek Festival, the line to get the food snaked around several times- everyone anticipating the delicious dishes for which the festival is renowned. Aside from the provided entertainment (we watched some traditional Greek dancing), it was a prime people watching opportunity. Ryan and I played a little “Your Team, My Team”, where if we saw really strange people or things, we’d either claim them for our team, or pronounce they were on the other person’s team. I have to admit, Ryan won when he claimed all of the Greek food was on his team. For having never played before, he was good. He was really good.
After sampling things like the gyros, lemon pilaf, spanakopita, dolmades, and more, we headed over to visit the Holy Trinity Cathedral, which the Greek Orthodox church opens during the festival to visitors. We spent a lot of time talking with a really helpful volunteer named Jeni, who helped us with our history. She explained things like the differences between the Greek Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church, including things I’d forgotten since school, like the story behind the Great Schism.
After we explored a bit more of the festival, we headed home. One of the things that impressed me most on the date was something very small, and was so subtle that it could have been missed. As we headed to his car, there was a group of drunken guys in the park that seemed like they were aggressive. Ryan was walking between me and the street and without saying a word, he crossed behind me to place himself between me and them as we approached. He didn’t draw any attention to what he’d done- it was almost instinctive. But it really impressed me that he would be protective like that.
I enjoyed the evening with Ryan. The blogging aspect of this project has caused some people to be reluctant about participating, but I appreciated that he was willing to put that aside and take a risk. He was a good man and it was great to get to know him at a really fun event.