Happy 2011 family dearest!!!!!!
Sounds like you all celebrated in style! I'm so glad it all turned out and you were able to take it easy. And tara--way to represent in the world domination scene!! But, i just have to clarify that i read correctly, Dad really used doilies to put out his party spread?! So, would it be safe to say that i should continue to direct questions regarding the power tools to Mom, but that any interior design or party planning accent questions should now be directed to Dad? Just checking! But, seriously, I can't believe it is 2011 already. (Though since it always takes me forever to get used to writing the new date, in my journal it will still be 2010 for another month or so, so i have a good slow transition ahead of me.)
Do you remember celebrating Y2K and the end of the world? It seems like yesterday!!! (Though, i think it was also a little more memorable of a new year's eve considering that may, or may not, have been the year we toilet papered our own house with nana and lisa......thanks for the clean up job though dad!) Crazy how time flies. Should you have asked me at the beginning of 2000 if i saw myself in france january 2011, i probably would have said, "heck no!" But, asking me now if i would rather be anyway else, i would still say,"heck no!!" I am so happy and grateful to be here and starting out a new year of work and miracles and, what im sure will be, memories for a lifetime! So, today i thought i would catch you up on some of the last couple weeks of current events, by way of a quick list of the some of the little things i am grateful for. We'll see how it turns out......
1. I am grateful for a kitchen sink that still zaps us when we do the dishes.....it keeps you on your toes.
2. I am grateful for new sheets and comforters......I try not to be spoiled, but sleeping in grime is just not something i am okay with.
3. I am grateful for mailmen who ride around town on their little bikes with a basket of mail in front...you just can't beat small town charm!
4. I am grateful for Caen's unique charm, of which a perfect example, was the light show they had set up at the Mairie (like town hall). The presentation consisted of loud music and a perfectly coordinated light projection show that told the story on the outside of the building (ie, the mairie, itself, was the screen). It started out simply enough and we settled in for a cute little bedtime story type thing, when all of a sudden the town is on fire, sirens and lights and flames everywhere. But, apparently no need for alarm, because enter this giant kid (you only see his legs because he is huge) comes storming into the city dragging a ginormous teddy bear and starts urinating on the town (im sorry, i really just don't know how to put that delicately in a way that gives you the right idea of how this scene actually went down in front of us), which heroically, saves the town from the fire, but then somehow turns into an underwater scene. Pleasant, I know. K, so that's when the eyebrows raise, but as this thing continues through acrobatic monkeys and who knows what else, the chin drop did not follow too shortly after. By the end, I glanced at sister smart and we both totally looked like shrek and donkey right after they see that little music box show in Duroc (or whatever the name is). Like, "What the heck did we just see?!" All I know, is I am grateful for that memorable one-of-a-kind welcome to Caen!
5. I am grateful for a companion who is very chill and reassuring. Ie, when I am stressed about how church is going to go down the first week and how thing will work out with the members, she hears me take a deep breath while walking to the chapel and responds with a loving arm pat, "Hey, don't worry....at least they can't stone us." Oh, gosh, yeah, that is reassuring!
6. I am grateful that Suzy and Valerie's baptism went well!!! Did I ever mention that? Well, actually i heard it was a little stressful, but hey! They were baptized!!!! AND, i guess the rendezvous the day before, they had invited a couple of their friends over to talk with the missionaries and get book of mormons and have the sisters explain how we weren't a cult (thats a pretty standard introductory course these days) and stuff. Anyway, they are pretty much amazing and have already set a goal to start saving money for their missions. My heart was so happy when i heard that!!! They are so great, aren't they?! (Side note--i also heard that marguerite is also doing really well.)
7. I am grateful for a city that is, maybe what you would call, a little slow at the moment. (Just so we're on the same page, when i say slow, i mean we came in with not a single investigator.) One, because, it ya know--kinda lessens the pressure, like at least I can't make things any worse! hehe. But also because it is really fulfilling and exciting to see and really appreciate all the little miracles. Even the little contacting ones are exciting! Plus, it provides many more opportunities for encounters with interesting and unique people that we may have missed otherwise.
For example, one of this week's highlights was the Russian Mafia couple. Long story short, we go back for our follow up rendezvous and the wife (the only one who speaks english....at least allegedly, of course :)) has prepared this little speach about why they decided they weren't interested in learning anymore. It went down something like this: "ve is Vussian!! Ve neverrr chenge. Ve belief Hesu and ve know novone who vill chenge.....etc,." I think I may also have heard a, "Ve put Ze vodka in ze coffee!" (haha classic pearce sacrament meeting that one.) I wish you could hear Sister Smart's impersonation of this conversation, because it is just too good!
8. I am also grateful for how far a couple of plates of snickerdoodles can get you with the elders at the first district meeting. I know, I know. totally cheap, totally dirty move that I have not resorted to thus far in my time out here, but desperate times, right? I mean we opened back up a ville to sisters under what would definitely not be considered the best circumstances, so i guess i might have been machavellian it a little--maybe the end does justify the means?!! No harm, no foul. And the Elders are very nice. We were sure grateful (and got a good chuckle) for the stocking of little odds and ends that they dropped off for Christmas. Not to worry --it did include some army men toys wrapped up in this decades-old box that looked like had once held a little nativity set!
9. I am grateful that even though we have now transitioned from a metro to a tram and city bus, some things about public transportation are still universal. Between us both having our behinds grabbed and being told we were playing right into satan's plot (I offered someone a Christmas DVD, but that was apparently the wrong move, because "that's exactly what Satan wants"), we are still makin' some new memorable transport moments.
10. I am grateful for people who are understanding of my blondeness, because my "needed an edit button moment of the week" was definitely going up to an elder and saying, "i love how you spin her umbrella to turn her on." I promise that it had contextual meaning!!! But, the elder's face quickly made me realize what had just actually come out of my mouth. But, I have to add to grampa, that we got a good laugh out of his blonde joke this week, especially in light of the fact that the branch has now, apparently, nicknamed us "the blondes." (for example, during choir practice, the director tells one of the little girls, "oh go stand by the blondes.")
11. I am grateful for cities with "nice to pedestrian people." People actually stop for you to cross the street at crosswalks. And this is a new experience, let me tell you! Especially cuz soemtimes they will stop for you just at other random corners or places if they see you standing there. It's true--kinda takes away the excitement of the "dash for your life and hope your companion makes it" element, but it is still very nice. (of course, i guess we could have exercised a little patience in paris and walked to and waited for lights to change, but let's be real--just because i came on a mission does not mean i all of a sudden sprouted a patience tree or something.)
12. I am grateful for the hilarious video you guys sent!! That was seriously so sweet and i love, love, loved it!!
13. I am grateful for a bathroom door that doesn't shut (or at least all the way).....it provides many more comp bonding activities. And companionship unity is very important after all. A fact we learned even more poignantly on New Year's Eve. We were invited, with the elders, to the Branch President's house. He and his wife are in their early thirties probably and have this super cute, young family. They had prepared an awesome meal, all these little fun table games, there was arm wrestling with the little kids, and then there was this "game" that apparently they like to "play" with all the new missionaries. Basically they asked us to take turns introducing our companions and then used what we did, or did not say or know about our companions, to illustrate the importance of companionship communication and listening in being able to work together as a team. Some kind of game, right?! It was pretty funny though, because at the end the wife was like, "and voila the difference between men and women communicating!"
14. I am grateful for the weird mannerism things you pick up in France that make you look and sound like an idiot when you're speaking English. (i dont really know why i am grateful for that, except that it provides entertainment.) Prime examples that i happened to notice from the last 24 hours: "you have reason" to tell someone they are right, "that tells me something" to tell someone that something sounds familiar, and certainly not to be forgotten--the horse lip puffing sigh thing (you'd know it if you saw it).
Seriously, I laughed hysterically watching nelson do his little french mannerisms segment of the video. I don't know if he remembers this, but he taught that to me in like 7th or 8th grade and said that in learning French that's all i would really need to know. I have remembered and practiced it ever since then, and he was so right! A few times I've been haing casual conversations with people about learning French and i have said "well ya know, really it's not all that hard, all you need to know is"..and then i would do the nelson thing (boh, bah, disant que, bof, tiens, chez pas moi, etc) and they have all thought it was hilarious! They are like, "yup you've got it all down!"
15. And I am grateful for the awesome trainings from president staheli and the assistants last week at interviews. (especially grateful since i wasn't one of the ones called up to practice hehe) But, it's always nice to get like a little extra boost to your spiritual battery and another arrow to add to your quiver. This time the practice teaching part was about learning how to get a solid return appointment fixed after the first street contact. Something I definitely have to work on! So, very grateful for direction from inspired leaders.
16. And last, but not least, I am grateful for you!!!! Thanks for being so wonderful. I sure love you guys!!!
Hope you have a great week and start out the new year with a bang!!
love, jordan xoxo