Today’s post was written by Julianna Nunez. Juli is a Christian who spent her spring break on a Habitat for Humanity trip in Des Moines, Iowa. Her Jewish boyfriend, Martin, and atheist best friend, Susan, were also on the trip and in this post, Juli reflects on that experience.

I’ve learned that there are certain expectations that come with being the non-Jewish girlfriend of a Jewish boy. I better be a good cook and Martin, my boyfriend, wants his children to be raised Jewish. My interests in Judaism stem back to when I was 13 years old, so I had no qualms about that. However, this would mean that I would have to convert, which can be a very long process. Nonetheless, I love my boyfriend very much and I would consider my possible conversion as an example of my love for him as well as an alternate way to express my love for God.

Over spring break, some of my friends and I went to Des Moines, Iowa, to participate with Habitat for Humanity. The group, to my knowledge, consisted of Jews, Christians, and Atheists. The topic of religion did not come up. One of the group members, Susan, is an Atheist and can be considered my best friend at Northwestern University. We all participated in Habitat for Humanity because we felt it was the right thing to do, not because we felt a religious obligation.

It was nice to spend time with Martin in a non-academic environment. I learned that I have better motor skills than him (at least when it comes to destroying stuff with a hammer and handling power tools), I learned that he will not always respond to my flirty-ness, I learned that he goes to bed at an ungodly hour, and I learned he has all the patience in the world for me.

While our religions are different and we come from different areas (I come from a city while Martin comes from a suburb), we do not let these differences come between us. Instead, we learn from each other. I enjoy learning Judaism from Martin and Martin enjoys hearing my stories about growing up in an urban area.

We do not share a religion, but we share our love.

And of course, after deciding that the floor was far too uncomfortable to sleep on while in Iowa, we shared a giant red beanbag.