After packing all of our things, all 13 of the missionaries going to Paris met at the travel office of the MTC at 1:30 in the afternoon to get on the bus. We got to the airport, had some time to call our families before getting on the plane, and got on. The plane wasn't actually too full, so most of us got to sprawl out over a few seats and got to have a little extra room to ourselves. Not much happened on the plane itself, and we ended up just trying to sleep as much as possible the whole flight over. After 10 hours of flying, we touched down at Charles de Gaulle Airport, got our bags, went through customs, and met the APs and President and Sister Poznanski in the airport. They took us outside and gave us some pastries to start off our day. The 13 of us followed the office Elders through Paris to go to the Prefecture to become legal and make sure we don't get deported. We contacted people on the way to the Prefecture and back, and I was surprised by how much French I was able to understand from everyone around me. In conversations, there actually wasn't too much I wasn't able to understand or say. It's a good thing we had such great MTC teachers!
That isn't to say that French is easy; I just thought I would go through a transfer or two without understanding what people say.
After dinner at an ironically American restaurant titled Buffalo Grill, we slept in the mission home for the night.
The next morning, we went to a place called Consecration Hill, as is tradition for the new missionaries. This hill is basically a huge park that overlooks the city of Paris, and the office missionaries had us set goals for our mission. After that, we went to the center of Paris, saw Notre Dame, met our trainers, and went off to our new areas. I'm currently assigned to Strasbourg on the German border with Elder Dunn as my trainer or, as he is called in the mission, my father. Papa Dunn has a good ring to it.
Our trip to Strasbourg had a slow start to say the least. We bought tickets to get to Strasbourg from Paris, but our train kept getting delayed. We finally got on two hours after we bought the tickets, but the train engine never started. Apparently, someone cut a cable on the track, someone else jumped in front of a train (I suppose it could have been the same person that did both of those things, but probably not), and the workers at the train station went on strike ... all in the same day. So, we didn't actually get to Strasbourg until 6 or 7 hours after we bought the tickets. I suppose I know the interior of the train station fairly well now though. Sorry, but that's the best "look at the bright side" I could come up with.
So now that you're all finally caught up to how I got here, I'll note a few observations about France:
- I think nearly every single cereal has chunks of chocolate in it, and the chocolate is probably better than the chocolate that comes in bars in America.
- Everyone here smokes all the time.
- This keyboard is ridiculously difficult to type on since all the letters are switched around.
- Cheese and wine sections in stores are probably larger than the rest of the store combined.
We went into a fromagerie for lunch yesterday and bought a bunch of different, exotic cheeses. Of course, we bought a fresh baguette for a euro at the patisserie around the corner from our apartment as well. It was SO good.
I'm sorry I can't write much today ... we spent too much time in the store buying good food. I'll hopefully have more time to talk about what I actually do and about our investigators next week. In the meantime, have a fantastic Halloween!
Love you all,