March 11, 2013

And the Elders Dwelt on a Train - Week 29

Hey, so do you remember how I was supposed to go to Belgium this week for legality? Well, it didn't quite work out as well as we had planned.

It all started last Monday night, when we got home to find four Elders eating a pomelo together in our apartment. Through the bites of Asian citrus fruit, I found out that I would be going to Paris the next day with Elder Christiansen from my MTC group instead of Elder Hunter, which is why there were extra missionaries sleeping in our apartment.

Elder Christiansen and I woke up bright and early on Tuesday morning to go to Paris and pulled into the train station two hours later without any issues. We were starving at this point, and we walked down the street outside the train station to get some McDonald's. While we were standing in line to order, we heard a voice say to us in American English, "Well, hello Elders!" and we turned around to find a man walking toward us. He said that he was in Paris on business and that he had a son that had returned from a mission last week. Then, he slipped us a 20€ bill to pay for our meal and sent us on our way. What a nice guy.

Another twenty minutes later, we made it back to the train station to meet up with all the other missionaries going to Belgium for the day. Almost all of my MTC district was there, and it was fun to see everyone with French clothes and the ability to speak the language. We jumped on the train, and I had a dandy time catching up with Elder Wallace and Elder Barr. That's when things went wrong.

After an hour and a half or so on the train to Brussels, the train slowed down to a complete stop on the tracks. No one was too concerned that we were stopped, until a voice came on over the speakers: "We're having difficulties with the train, and we'll likely be stopped for up to two and a half hours." It's unfortunate that the train driver was incorrect, because we were actually stuck on the train for five hours. Yes, that's right. Five. As in the number of existing books in the Twilight series, plus one. I don't know if you've ever had to sit on a train for five hours, but it is not an experience I recommend to anyone.

It wouldn't have been too bad, but the train operators refused to allow any windows or doors to be cracked open to give any fresh air to the hundreds of people inside. It was a pretty extreme greenhouse effect, between the sunlight, windows, and the large number of packed bodies. To make things worse, a lot of people chose not to use enough deodorant that particular day. Some cars started to smell bad enough from the BO that people would open the door to walk through the car, get hit by the wall of odor, back up a step, take a deep breath, and walk very quickly to the next car. It's fortunate that they got the train moving when they did, because most of the people were stripping off a layer of clothing for every passing hour spent on the boiling hot train. One more hour, and it would not have been an environment too conducive to missionaries.

I still had a good time though, because I got to hang out with a bunch of missionary friends. After they got the train moving, we made it into Brussels, stayed just long enough to get some waffles, and turned right back around to Paris since we missed our appointment with legality. Ten minutes after getting into Paris, Elder Christiansen and I jumped right back on a train to Nancy, getting in at 9:00 at night. In sum, Elder Christiansen and I spent fourteen hours on trains on Tuesday. Fourteen, as in the number of hours it takes to watch all the Twilight movies all the way through ... twice. I'd rather be stuck on the train.

Anyway, so that was our excitement for the week. We missed our appointment, so we'll be making the trip to Belgium again in a week or two.

In other news, we convinced another Elder in our apartment that a chair accidentally fell twelve stories out of our apartment window. He still believes us, and he gets a little paranoid when he walks by the security guards on the ground floor of our building.

That's the latest and greatest. See you next week.

Elder Wilson