October 16, 2012

Escargot at the MTC - Week 8

Good afternoon, tout le monde!

Here's the last email you'll be getting from me in the MTC, and the last email I'll be able to write on a normal, easy, American keyboard. Thanks for checking up on me!

To begin, let's rewind to last Thursday.

It was a normal day: a bit chilly in the morning, then warmer in the afternoon as the sun came out. As usual, we had O'Brien potatoes for breakfast with some hard-boiled eggs and yogurt. But, it was unique in that it was the day we were scheduled to receive our travel plans.

After three hours of class and scripture study, we went to the cafeteria to have lunch. Many missionaries in the cafeteria had already received their travel plans and were gloating about it over a chicken sandwich and cobb salad. We were excited to go and get ours to find out when we were leaving the MTC, but then the intercom called Elder Oliverson to go to the front desk.

Now, for those of you who have not been in the MTC for an extended period of time before, getting called over the intercom during a meal always means something serious. Usually, it means that a visa didn't go through, an immediate family member passed away, or the mission department has decided to transfer the missionary to a new mission. With the fear that Elder Oliverson was going to Canada on his mission, Elder Price, Elder Barr and I went with him to the front desk to find out the news.

As it turns out, Elder Oliverson was called to the desk to be told that his mom called to remind him to get his suit dry cleaned before he left.

But Elder Louis and Elder Wallace didn't know that.

Since they had decided to stay back and spend a bit more time eating lunch, the four of us met up with Soeur Rhondeau and Soeur Hill and decided that we would pretend that Elder Oliverson's visa didn't go through and that he would be serving in Washington, DC for a few transfers until he was able to go to France.

After lunch, we're usually happy and talking to each other when we go back to our classroom for language study. This time, however, we all put on our saddest faces and didn't say a word to each other. When Elder Louis and Elder Wallace walked in, they both gave me a look as if to ask, "What's wrong with everyone?" to which I responded with a nod over to Elder Oliverson. As soon as they sat down, Elder Oliverson stormed out of the room as if he was really disappointed, and a few of us followed as if to console him. The sisters couldn't handle it anymore and almost started laughing, so they put their heads down to hide their smiles. Elder Wallace thought that the sisters were crying on their desks and gave us concerned looks.

Throughout the day, we gave them just enough hints to suggest that Elder Oliverson wouldn't be leaving with us and would be serving somewhere in the US for a few months. Apparently, Elder Wallace still didn't understand, because he soon pulled Elder Oliverson aside to ask if he had a death in his family and wanted to console him. At this point, Elder Oliverson couldn't take it anymore, and had to tell him that nothing was wrong and that he was only called up to the desk to be told that his mother wanted him to dry clean his suit.

I don't know if they'll trust us again.

Nah, of course they will.

We actually did get our travel plans though, and we're the only missionaries I've heard of so far that will be flying straight to the mission without any connections ... just one long flight to Paris on Monday afternoon.

We've been hanging around our native French friends more, and we got them to sing us the Pokémon theme song in French for us. As if the original English version wasn't funny enough, hearing grown men singing it in French was all the better.

On the way out of our residence on Saturday, we found a big snail crawling (scooting? I'm not sure what snails do) on the ground across the sidewalk. Being the French missionaries that we are, we naturally concluded that someone HAD to eat it. A love for escargot doesn't come overnight, after all. So, of course, Elder Chouette (Elder Oliverson) pried it up from the ground, wiped off the trail of slime that was still sticking to the sidewalk, and threw it in his mouth with a big crunch, breaking the shell with his teeth and swallowing.

Just kidding. MTC food isn't bad enough that we would eat snails from the ground. But, he offered to eat it if one of us would cook it for him in the microwave. We all politely declined his offer.

Speaking of MTC food, the cafeteria can get to be an interesting place. During nearly every meal, someone decides to whistle out a quick Mockingjay call from the Hunger Games movie. A few dozen other missionaries decide that they need to respond, so they whistle back the same four-note sequence. Before long, we hear the same Mockingjay call spreading through the whole cafeteria, since everyone feels inclined to participate.

Today, after going to the temple, our district decided to eat lunch in the temple cafeteria. It was a nice change from MTC food, and wasn't too bad. At the end of the meal, Elder Price asked a Sister if she knew someone from Park City. She answered in the affirmative, then commented on what a nice Audi he has. Elder Price responded with, "Yes! It's a nice yellow one." Elder Wallace was a bit confused and, as he was rubbing his stomach, commented "I think I have an outie as well." Outie as in his belly button. Maybe Elder Wallace needs a bit more sleep.

And with that, I'm out of time! Thanks again for reading my letters. Also, thanks for all the birthday wishes! I had a fantastic birthday yesterday, ending with a chips and salsa party hosted by my district (again, getting our cultures mixed up with the Mexican food), complete with presents and a birthday cake-scented candle. I suppose I'm officially a missionary now that I'm 19.

Well, this is it until France! Wish me luck!

Elder Wilson