After I emailed you guys last week, we went to the Louvre! HOLY COW. That place blew my mind. I said "wow" like a hundred times in there. It's so huge and so amazing. Art and all that aside, just the building itself is incredible. Part of it is built on the foundation of an old castle, and you can go underneath and walk around in what used to be the moat. We went right into the dungeon of the castle as well, which was pretty intense. But then the art! Just amazing. It goes on and on and on and on. I'm not really much of an art person, but I still could appreciate it. I saw the La Jaconte (the Mona Lisa). As everyone says, not really that impressive, but it was actually a little bigger than I thought it would be based off of people's descriptions. Compared to the MASSIVE picture of Christ turning water into wine on the opposite wall however, it was pretty dinky. Then we headed to the antiquities wing. WOW. Just crazy. They had like, everything. Literally about 30 Egyptian sarcophagi all lined up in one room. A bunch of weapons, a few sphinx, and all sorts of artifacts and statues and stuff. Unbelievable really. We were there for about 3 and a half hours, going through everything way fast, and we only saw maybe a fourth of the stuff. Just really really cool. Unfortunately, we're at the sketchy internet café again this week, and we can't send pictures from here, so I'll have to get them to you next week, I hope, with a few others.
That evening we went porting (door to door stuff, if I haven't explained that before) and were able to find a nice woman named Andrea. She's an artist and she has a little studio sort of thing set up in her apartment. She introduced herself as Buddhist (which is odd for a white French woman) but if you ask me she's more Catholic, based on the discussion we had with her. She was really nice and open to talking with us, but not very interested in acting and wouldn't set up another rendez-vous. Good evening though, and a good chance for me to practice my French a little more. She was really patient and good at letting me figure out what I wanted to say.
I also want to add, this was a cool day for me. After we left the Louvre, we had to walk back our gare (train station) because there was apparently an armed bank robber hiding out in the metro. We were told to avoid the metros for a while. So we walked back to the center of Paris from the Louvre, right along the Seine. Oh man, it was just a beautiful evening. I really think that I finally fell in love with Paris that night. The cool air, the obscure little shops, the river, the Eiffel Tower in the distance, having just come from the Louvre. Like I wrote in my journal, it's really starting to feel like home here. I'm becoming comfortable and more, just really loving the area and the people. It was a cool little experience for me.
Tuesday we had district meeting as usual and then an exchange out in Auxerre again. I was with Elder Tryon this time. He reminds me a lot of Kalin (you know, our cousin), except Texan. It was fun being with him for a while. That night we were also able to watch the film 17 Miracles (it's approved, don't worry). Really cool movie, you guys should definitely check it out. All of it is based off of real things that happened to the pioneers.
Wednesday morning we did our studies quick (well, as quick as you can do 2 and a half hours of studies) and Elder Evans and I headed back to Nogent. We had a rendez-vous with Lipasa, a guy we met on the street, but he turned out to not be there. So we headed home, got some dinner, and then headed out into what was a quite cold night. No real success, but a lot of rain. Not too bad though.
Thursday was kind of regular, til the evening. We had a 4 hour block of contacting during the day, which is a very long time. People were pretty nice though, and it was a nice day. That evening, however, we had planned to give a blessing to one of our members. She's an American, here working as a nanny. She had been having some struggles lately, so we gave her a blessing with Frère Kusseling and then he invited her to dinner with us. It was a sweet evening, as usual with the Kusseling family. Sœur Kusseling served duck for dinner (yeah, duck. Pretty good, but not THAT great. Really fancy though. I talked to one of there relatives a lot, who served his mission in England and spoke really good English. Turns out that he served with the famous Richard Flores (AF Band Alumnus) for a transfer! Seriously a small world. After dinner we shared a quick thought about the importance of inviting people to church and then headed home for the evening.
Friday ended up being pretty boring us. We have our 3 hour weekly planning session on Fridays, se we use up a lot of our time there. None of our amis were available, so still no lessons with any of them.
Saturday now...Oh boy. Yesterday (Friday) we got the call saying that it was time to move. So, that night and Saturday morning we frantically packed up all our things and cleaned up our apartment as much as we could for the Sœurs. Somehow, I got my stuff more organized than when I left the MTC and actually ended up with some extra space! So, we gathered all of our things and headed to Val-de-Fontenay, where they lived, and dropped off all our stuff, then took the Sœurs over to our apartment with theirs. I am starting to be more and more thankful for that crazy luggage lady. I pack my clothes how she taught us every time. It's just awesome. And I'm super thankful for this luggage. It's just perfect. I'm never worried about it breaking or anything, where others' are already pretty beat up. It's just so great not worrying about that. Moving is stressful enough without worrying if your clothes are going to spill all over the street.
Anyway, we got our stuff into the apartment and had to go directly to our DMP meeting (ward mission leader meeting) where we talked about our Dimanche Missionnaire that was planned for tomorrow (as in Sunday). I didn't mention it, but on top of all of this crazy moving business, I was also assigned to give a talk. Which meant I had to write a talk. And as everyone knows, missionaries have a ton of free time.......Um, no. It was quite a time crunch to get it done. I could send pictures of it to you so you can read it, but it's all in French, so I don't know how much that'll do...maybe I'll translate it sometime for you if you really want it.
Anyway, I'm kind of skipping ahead to Sunday. Saturday still. We finally got a hold of Yannick, and taught a really good lesson with him, clarifying (like I said we would do last week) why were there and what he expects from us. We were bold but loving and he's now currently praying to know a baptismal date, as are we. We'll be discussing it this week.
Finally, Sunday came. I didn't really get a whole lot out of church, being stressed about my talk and being a little sick and all of that. It was rough for me. But I got up and gave my talk alright, and I think it was okay. Nothing too special. I gave it with one of our members standing right next to me at the pulpit, then he gave his with me standing there to signify togetherness I suppose. It was our DMP's idea. It was a little weird, but it was kind of nice. After church we got a little more settled into our apartment (it's just us right now, the other two Elders will be coming tomorrow probably) and then headed back out for some more porting. Not a too eventful night. Nobody was too mean. Met Pascal, who was Catholic and really nice. We talked a little with him, despite him saying that he was about to eat, so it was really cool.
Then our week kind of just ended. It's amazing how fast they fly by. I only have Elder Evans for 2 more weeks. And I'll be officially trained, so I'm supposed to know what I'm doing...Haha but I feel like I'm pretty ready for it.
Slow week statistically, but good overall.
I'm gonna miss having thanksgiving with you guys, and being there for Dad's birthday, but it's okay. There's no place I'd rather be at this time in my life. I'm learning so much and having lots of fun along the way. I love you all! Have a great Thanksgiving and happy birthday Dad! Your present should be on it's way soon. Still getting there...
Until next week!
Responses to Mom's Email Questions
We actually will be having Thanksgiving! It's like a second P-day, minus email. We'll be at the Nogent chapel all day basically, just us missionaries, hanging out eating some food. Probably chickens instead of a turkey though.
Christmas is spent with members, for sure. Maximum of 4 hours with each family, and a lot of rules kind of go out the window from what I hear (like getting back on time) We don't really have a Christmas tree, but we'll see what happens... And that (if Santa were to send presents, will you get them?) depends on where he sends it. I can get packages at my apartment or the mission home (new apartment address coming next week).
I still would like some recipes. Maybe for the rib sauce. And I REALLY would like to get my jambox sent to me, with the CD's that Tyler is going to be making for me. (preferably before christmas so I can listen to christmas music. The CD's are what I really want. and the sooner the better. Ask him about them. I sent him list of a ton of music that i'd like. Christmas music is the priority for now. I can listen to it on our DVD player if I need to, but I'd really like, eventually to have my jambox and my own CD player so I can have it be a little more personal (and sound better). I can buy a CD player though. But that's really what I want for Christmas. That, and maybe a BYU sweater (We think he means sweatshirt. He has never worn a sweater in his life). And then those family pictures! Even some paper ones would be nice, but you could send a ton with that memory card...
Hahaha I laughed about that red plate thing (Our family's "You Are Special Today" Red Plate Tradition given to Tyler for doing his homework after school without being asked. Something about going to a movie with a girl served as motivator). You guys are funny. :) Good to hear that Tyler is doing well though. :) That's pretty sweet with Ben, how's he doing? I haven't heard anything from him. I'd like to email him too from time to time. (Ben Busath is a friend and fellow missionary from our ward. He got a special visit in the mission field of Indiana from his current and previous Bishops who were in town for the BYU/Notre Dame football game.)
I hadn't heard about the lights (the Christmas lights were turned on last Saturday in Paris all around the Eiffel Tower), but we'll be in Paris about when it gets dark tonight (5 ish), so maybe we'll see them! (Mom wants to know if he is able to go to Disneyland Paris) And Disneyland is prohibited actually... I might try to go the downtown Disney part of it sometime (we just can't actually go into the park) and maybe find some cool presents.......
And no, it's not too cold yet. But I'd take the cold over the heat anyday, so I like it for now. It gets hot in the summer...
Also, you said call home (Mom asking about our Christmas call)? We're a modern mission, we Skype home! For 1 hour. So, better start practicing how to use Skype! :)
Well, my time's up for today, gotta go. We're going to Les Invalides, the war museum. It should be pretty cool. Have a great day and week! Let everyone know I miss them and pray for them all the time. I love you!