How are you?! K but first off, I have to thank everyone for all the fun goodies you have sent. I feel like I must be the most spoiled missionary in the world, and i think you guys must single-handedly be keeping the US postal service in business. Holy cow!!! I am so excited to start the 12 days of christmas, I absolutely loved the calendar (we all pored over it multiple times), the purse was awesome (the other sisters thought it was pretty chic), so grateful for the cd from the cusicks, the boots are super super cozy, and i loved the necklace!!! And the Paris sisters were so cute and surprised me with an ice cream cake (im sorry mom, i used the cake mix you sent me for elder jaquier's birthday!)!! It was definitely a memorable 22nd birthday in Paris, even if we were super super sick and even if I’m still in denial about my old age. haha. So thank you. I love you. You are wonderful.
Things here are going well. I guess the biggest update as far as news is concerned is that my days in Paris are numbered. As soon as my companion gets back (supposedly sometime this week), they are shipping us out to Caen (Normandy). I am so excited about that. Neither of us has ever served there so bring on the whole whitewashing and re-opening a ville the week before Christmas adventure!!!! I figure at least with the Book of Mormon christmas contacting challenge we got at mission conference (which was AWESOME!!!), at least we'll know where to start--ie giving out 22 book of mormons before christmas with follow up. haha, it'll be one heck of an adventure that is for sure. I think the luggage plus christmas packages plus christmas tree moving on a train will, alone, be quite the memorable experience. Mom, don't worry, I will for sure picturize it! I am super sad that I will miss Suzie and Valerie's baptisms next Sunday, but we'll make sure and get everything good and ready this week, so it can go down flawlessly. And on the memory card I sent there is video of the musical number me and Elder Holcombe did for the mission Christmas conference.
Speaking of Suzie and Valerie, can i just say how much I love them?????!!!!!!!!!!! Seriously they are amazing. It is such a pleasure teaching them. They really want to understand and make sure they are doing everything right. K small example, but normally when you teach the 10 commandments, people are like "well yeah, duh," but they are like, "so what does that mean exactly?" And they have really been supported well by the Paris Young Adults. They went to a party a few weeks ago at the young adult center and met a ton of members, and more than once now we have showed up to teach them and they are hanging out with other member young adults and are so well integrated already! Anyway, I love them and I am so excited for them to be baptized, whether or not I am here. And did I ever mention that we set a baptismal date with Marguerite too? I don't know if i did.....oops, sorry about that. hehe. But she was supposed to be baptised the 19th as well, but her mom is still really not happy about her meeting with us, so even though she is 18, we are going to wait a few more weeks. But she is awesome. So, basically I am sad to leave our investigators, but I feel good about what we've seen happen in Paris Lilas and I am excited for a new adventure!
K, you know how i normally get sick like once a year around finals time? Well, it seems that whether or not I am actually taking finals, i am still cursed. Except that I have never been sick like this before. But, we learned very quickly that France doesn't mess around with their OTC meds. When you can buy lidocaine cough drops, you know you don't need to worry!!! (I have pretty much lost everything i once learned in pharmacology, but if i do recall correctly, lidocaine is like a sodium channel blocker used for local anesthesia. like when the dentist is going to drill into your mouth. haha.) Needless to say, it had a nice numbing effect for sore throats and coughing!! And the pharmacists here are hilarious. They like have such pride in fulfilling their pharmaceutical duties well and obviously enjoy doctoring people up. So, you walk in and tell them what's wrong and they are like, "ooohhh.....yeah, you need THIS. this will make it all better." So we get a good kick out of the pharmacists.
We also got a good kick out of the doctors as well, though for a different reason. Our first experience with French healthcare this morning was certainly one i won't forget for a while! First of all, the waiting room, i don't have time to detail, so let's just leave it at--SKETCHY. Then the doctor comes out and has us come back to her office/exam room. The whole place reeks of cigarette smoke, there are cigarettes on her desk, and like shoe boxes containing patient records. More sketchy. So, we chit chat for a bit and she asks us what is wrong with some details for a bit. She looks in our ears. And then asks us for our first and last names and our birthdays, gives us each a prescription for amoxicillin, and says that it will be 22 euros. Seriously, that was it. No questions about allergies (and HULLO!!! that's a penicillin antibiotic), no medical history, no documents, no insurance, no legality (certainly not complainign about that considering my current status (ya, I am still illegal) hehe), not even a single signature. It was like the most hilarious thing. I walked out of there like, "well huh.....that's how healthcare works in France, whaddayaknow." But hey--quick, cheap and got the job done, so we'll go with it!!! And honestly, as long as it helps me not feel this horrible than i am totally down with it!
So other updates--Faman (whose name is really Saman; a fact you will learn in the letter i am sending home today) has started praying out loud. and the right way!!!!! yay!!! seriously, you don't know what a feat that is!
And we also have a new contacting tactic, that seems to be working out pretty well. Basically the plan goes like this--talk to every Indian person you pass. I love Indian culture! Like when they say they will do something, they will do it. When they say they will be somewhere, they are there. Sometimes it's a bit surprising actually!!! Anyway, tactical plan is goin great!!!
okay, well ill get that other letter finsihed up and sent out today, but we gotta run. We did go to the Eiffel Tower today earlier and hiked up all the stairs!!!
Love you guys! Miss you. Hope you know how grateful i am for you!!!!!
did I mention we played our turkey bowl on the fields in front of hotel des invalides? (ie napoleon's tomb place and also the place where we (dad, mom, me & tara) took a nap that one time) I didn't contribute a whole lot, except that I stuck my man well and freaked elder helvey out a little, and stayed out of elder holcombe's way enough that he basically single handedly won the game for us. hehe. but, we were all covered in mud from head to toe afterwards and the next day we were so sore!!
so, side note I have loved the Christmas cds and every time I get weird looks about the bugs bunny ones or whatev, I just say "artistic license!!!!" Thanks Tara!
tell the congers their Christmas card and school pictures were awesome!!!! of course ali has her Christmas cards sent out (even to the people in france) by like december 4th. oh and OMG those letters from grandpa were hilarious!!!!! and he made every single one like tie in somehow to that specific person----so funny! the sisters were impressed with how clever and quick he was, I laughed SO HARD.
did I mention enough times that I absolutely loved loved loved josh's primary talk?????!!! I cried, of course. and made all the sisters listen to it!! (bahaha--it took my dad a lot of courage to go and tell my mom what happened.....hahahaha) also, josh and Halle’s letters this week were even more hilarious than normal. so tender that he donated 1.00 to the "mishonary fund"
Matthew--I am getting too old, because I do not even remember the name of my biology teacher's name......oh wait....it's coming....W......Wh....whitaker?????? maybe. and since when did you have an ipod touch?
josh--thanks for donating, that's so nice!!! Can’t wait to hear about your birthday!
halle--of course you're still my favorite little 7-yr-old diva princess!!