March 25, 2013

NOT Breaking a Commandment - Week 31

This has been a long week filled with cheese, Paris and IKEA furniture. I love IKEA.

On Monday, we went to our new apartment in Toul for the first time and got the keys, so it's officially ours! It's a pretty nice place with a lot of windows everywhere ... including on the ceiling of the room on the top floor. Whenever it starts raining, I have moments of panic where I wonder if I remembered to close the ceiling windows or not. As soon as we're moved in for real, we might consider doing morning studies on the roof. I'll let you know how comfortable the tiles are.

After getting the keys to the apartment, we called the mission office to tell them that we're all ready to move in. Two days later, we got a call early in the morning from a senior couple telling us to meet them at our apartment as soon as possible. We expected that we would be going with them to buy all of our furniture and necessities at nearby stores in Nancy. Boy, were we wrong. As we were standing outside our apartment on Wednesday morning, we saw a huge van pull around the corner and navigate through the narrow French streets. Sure enough, sitting in the front seat were the senior couple coming to help us. They stopped, opened the back of the van and showed us all the brand new furniture they had already purchased for us.

An hour of sweat and dirty white shirts later, we had all the furniture moved into the apartment and ready to be constructed. We started with the bunk bed, unpacked it, and built it. Upon standing back to examine our work, Elder Hunter and I realized that the bed was too tall for where we needed to put it. So, we decided to just steal the beds of the Zone Leaders. I know, I know. "Thou shalt not steal." We didn't "steal." We eventually got permission, after a phone call and a bit of persuasion:

E. Hunter: "Hello, how are you? Would it be okay if we took your beds?"
E. Maxwell on the phone: "Uh ... what? Do you need to?"

At this point, Elder Metcalfe (of the senior couple) figured they were being a bit reluctant, so he took the phone and fought for our cause.

E. Metcalfe: "Hi. We're taking your beds because they need them."
E. Maxwell on the phone: "But ... huh? I like my bed ..."
E. Metcalfe: "Too bad. We'll be there in 20 minutes."

So, after graciously convincing Elder Maxwell to give us their beds, Elder Metcalfe drove us to the center of Nancy, where we moved a bunk bed from the van to the 12th story of an apartment building and the two smaller beds from the 12th story of the building back into the van. THAT was quite the adventure.

At this point, it was 5:00 in the evening and we hadn't eaten anything after the entire day of physical labor. We were a tad famished. The senior couple were more than kind and gave us 60 euros to go buy ourselves dinner. Elder Hunter and I speed walked out of the apartment, only to find that every single restaurant in Toul was still closed. Every single one. After an hour of searching, we dejectedly returned to our apartment and had to give the 60 unused euros back. 

Still starving, we made our way to English class, when we suddenly remembered that the members of the class told us they were going to bring us cheese to taste this week. Apparently by a "taste," they meant a "feast," because there was quite the impressive array of cheeses laid out for us. Being the French people they were, they of course had to eat cheese with wine. As they pulled out the bottle of wine, they looked at us apprehensively and said with a shrug, "We know you can't drink wine, but I'm sorry. We're eating cheese, and we're French!" But as they popped the cork, they brought out a bottle of carbonated water for us. They're so considerate. Oh, and did I mention that the cheese was fantastic? Well, it was.

The next day, we went to Paris for Zone Conference with Elder Richards of the Seventy. He gave us his training for four hours, we ate a meal, and we soon left to sprint to the train station to catch our train back to Nancy. We didn't make it, and the next train was two and a half hours later. Darn! We just had to go to the Eiffel Tower instead to fill our time. It's safe to say that it was the happiest I'd been to miss a train.

Finally, on Saturday night, our branch mission leader, Elder Hunter and I gave a fireside to the branch on how to effectively do member missionary work. We had a good turnout, and as is the French way, everyone brought food to share at the end. We're fed well here. The next morning, I gave a talk in Sacrament Meeting, so the branch got to hear quite a bit from me this weekend.

Well, that's all I have for you today. Missionary weeks are eventful, and this one was a bit difficult to summarize. Anyway, have a fantastic week, and Happy Easter!

Elder Wilson