How are you doing?! Sounds like things are keepin on at the homefront! I got your package on Saturday and I can't believe how much stuff you sent. That was like the best package ever, but you need to stop! The whole TAco Soup for dummies (aka jordan) was pretty funny. And FYI, even though "Heavenly Father is watching," you are just lucky i am not a mischievous kid, because it was really tempting to peek and "try to figure out" what the gift was I wasn't supposed to open until Christmas Eve.....hmmm...... Speaking of Christmas Eve, whose room is everyone going to sleep in? Oh and FYI, I won't lie I think i much preferred Tara's response to Harry Potter than Dad's. Talk about Bahumbug (hmm never realized that was so hard to spell)!! Speaking of bahumbugs, it sounds like we're gonna have more of an All american thanksgiving in France (go figure) than you guys. So, I guess the bonus to being like the orphan missionary is that I have been kinda temporarily adopted into the paris zone and ward and we are doing a legit Turkey Bowl (an announcement of dividing the teams has already been sent out, but i think elder ellsworth should be fired from the naming of teams job cuz i'm pretty sure we are Tuna Fish and our colors are black and blue) and having dinner all together at an American member's house.
But, before then we have a whole lot to do because there are so many great, great things happening in our areas! And the adventures of these last couple weeks have been great, but I thought I would break up just a few of them into some of our recent learnings, laughings, and lovings. Oh man, I so wish I was better at writing, because bein' on a mission is just so great and I just don't do it justice!!! (Side note: we just had a p-day raclette party for elder jaquier's birthday and it was so fun! Super funny when President and Sister Staheli walked in and it was suddenly absolutely silent! haha. Of course all I can think about is, "ah no, I haven't written my president's letter yet...." President was like "how come I always feel like a wet blanket? Oh, they are just great.)
1. I have a new favorite French idiom--"entre chien et loup." Which directly translated would mean: between dog and wolf. But, idiomatically translated? hehe means: twilight. At first glance, it is totally another one of those really lame french things (like instead of knowing something like "the back of your hand," apparently, here we know things like "your pocket." enough said.), but is actually genius and sheds a whole new light on the term twilight and its use as the title of that book!
2. The typical stranger stopping you to say, "franchement, il faut que je vous dise que vous etes si belle," doesn't always have to end in a horribly awkward way. And this dude actually came to church and gave the elders his number. Definitely a new one for me!
3. So last night, we learned how incredibly awkward it can be to find ourselves in the living room of a Muslim family while you are fasting. To back up a little, I started talking to this man a week or so ago on the metro, turned out he was way nice, had 3 little boys and invited us to come over to his house and meet his wife and stuff. So, we set up to come over Sunday night. We walk in and see the adorable little kids running around and are like "suweet!!!!!", gonna baptize this whole family!!!......and then we see that he is wearing a booboo.
Suspicions begin. Wife is also wearing a booboo. Oh man, definitely from Senegal. THEN, we walk into the living room and there are like pictures of mosques and they tell us the oldest boy's name is mohammed. Well, certainly cleared up any clarification we may have needed. Needless to say, the father wasn't very keen on the idea of starting "the lesson" with a hymn about Jesus Christ. But, somehow the shut down to the gospel was much easier to take than the African guilt trip that came our way for not being able to eat their food because we were fasting.... Awkward. Love it!
4. Ok so this one has been haunting me all week. I learned that French people are very particular about very specific manners. Let me explain this by way of example. We are sitting on the metro one night heading home and I am a little slow at covering my mouth when I yawn, so I only got it covered like half way through. And the man sitting across from me like kicks my foot and freaks out about how I should not show my mouth so in public and was super huffy about it. My first reaction is, of course, to respond by sticking my tongue out at him, but i somehow mustered enough self-control to refrain. Not easy!!
So, now I am like freaked out and edgy every time that I yawn for fear that I will show too much mouth. Apparently they don't have a problem with things like public urination, but be on guard because inappropriate display of the mouth is definitely a faux-pas! Good to know.
When i told the paris sisters about it, Sister Thompson told me that she has also gotten in trouble for folding her arms on the metro because it made her look unladylike. hahahah. And then the MAN proceeded to demonstrate for her, placing his hands and feet in what were, evidently, more feminine positions. So basically you must make sure that all appendages and mucosal membranes are placed and covered and maneuvered appropriately and that you don't look unladylike and that you don't look defensive! And while, of course, it would completely not be appropriate missionary behavior to purposely invoke furor in the harmless passers-by, I do have to add the side note that it is pretty amusing to see them go all "French huffy." Just sayin.
5. Also learned that there is actually an elevator that goes up to the top of the Arc de Triomphe, and that if you are really really nice to the young security guard and tell him that you just came down and forgot to buy the gifts you needed to, he will use his cool walkie talkie and inform the other super secret guard that you are coming over and move the metal gates for you and give you directions to the elevator entrance, and then you can stand comfortably in the 15 second elevator ride and feel all cool thinking about the other people who were currently hiking up the 284 steps on the other side! (granted, we had been those "other people" like an hour before....hehe.)
6. Also learned that you don't give the kids the armor of God visuals until AFTER the lesson. That is, if you intend to actually teach a lesson. Note to self!
7. Okay and I also had more of an eye-opener to how much missionaries really are blessed to learn the language. I told you I was getting a mini missionary right? And that I was praying she spoke French? Everyone is like "oh no, she'll for sure speak French. "Yeah, well, when we met her it turns out she is a 19 yr old American who has been staying in France for a couple months. And we're talking like Joey in our favorite friends episode, hehe! But it was great to have my own companion for the week!
OKAY Im sorry. My companions are done and we need to go, I will finish next week, Im sorry that I didn’t even have time to get to the laughing and lovings!!!!!!!! Love you guys so much!! have a good week!!!!