April 01, 2013

Magic Flying Bells and Exfoliating Waffles - Week 32

No, I wasn't crazy when I came up with the title. Both of those things actually happened.

Transfer 5 already begins today, which also means that I'll be killing Elder Hunter in two days. By this time next week, he'll be back in California without me. Today, we're going to try to squeeze in all the last things he wants to do before he leaves France. Most of them involve food. My new companion is named Elder Meissner, and he's from Austria and will probably teach me how to speak fluent German by the end of our six weeks. Okay, probably not, but that would still be nice. He's actually a transfer below me, so we'll have a fun time together as two new missionaries.

SO, for all of those who were not informed, yesterday was Easter. We actually forgot it was a holiday until an hour or two after because there wasn't candy hidden all over the apartment. In France, Easter is all about bells. The story is that on Friday, all the bells that chime in the churches leave and fly away to Rome for three days. These are probably the only three days of the year that people who live next to churches aren't woken up every 15 minutes by the chimes. After the three days are up, all the bells fly back from Rome to France, dropping chocolate everywhere outside on their way. So here, Easter is fueled by magic flying church bells filled with chocolate with Easter bunnies as their helpers.

On Wednesday, we made the second attempt to go to Belgium for legality. Luckily, the second attempt was completely different from the first. Instead of being stuck on the Paris to Brussels train for five hours, we were treated to first class seats and enjoyed waitresses serving us pastries, tarts and drinks the entire way. When we got to Brussels, we were able to spend our two extra hours going around to see sights and eating frites and waffles. Those were fantastic, by the way. If you have the means to go to Belgium one day, I highly recommend it.

Elder Price may have enjoyed his waffle a bit more than the rest of us. Most of the waffles had baseball-sized scoops of cream on top, his not excluded. Another missionary named Elder Simoes thought something was wrong with Elder Price's waffle, so he suggested he take a look at it. Upon finding nothing wrong with his waffle, Elder Price asked Elder Simoes what could be the problem. Elder Simoes suggested that the problem was that the waffle smelled a bit odd. This triggered the reaction he was looking for, and Elder Price leaned over to smell the waffle in his hand. Elder Simoes seized the opportunity and promptly dunked Elder Price's face into the mass of cream covering his waffle. Someone happened to have their camera out, and they got a picture of Elder Price slowly lifting up his head with his face, hair and ears totally covered in white whipped cream. Good thing cream and sugar probably exfoliates skin. Elder Price should be acne-free in 3-5 days.

After signing a few papers in Belgium, we all started heading back to our areas. Upon getting to Paris, Elder Christiansen and I noticed that we had a few hours until our train, leaving plenty of time to go to the Arc de Triomphe. We happened to get there as a parade walked underneath, so that was a cool coincidence. We also flashed our French visas to get free tickets to the top and got to fight our way through crowds of teenage girls screaming, "We're in PARIS!"

We left the Arc de Triomphe with plenty of time left to get back to the train station, but fate didn't end in our favor. The parade that had first been in our favor ended up getting in our way, and we had to jog all the way around them to get to the next metro station. Still having enough time, we got onto the metro and had a nice conversation until the train completely stopped on the tracks and stayed still for a good amount of time. By then, Elder Christiansen and I started getting nervous, and we ran through the next metro station to change lines, only to barely miss the closing doors. In turn, the next metro to pull into the station was late by a few minutes. Thus being thoroughly concerned about catching our train back to Nancy, Elder Christiansen and I sprinted through the train station and made it just in time to watch our train pulling away. Luckily, there was another train an hour later that we were able to get on.

That's the excitement of our day for you. In the space of a few hours, we were able to enjoy sites in Belgium, a first class train, frites, waffles, the Arc de Triomphe, and still had time to teach a lesson to the people sitting next to us on the train ride home. Our weeks aren't always that eventful, but they seem to happen quite often.

I hope everyone is having a fantastic day, and I'll catch y'all later.

Elder Wilson

Easter treats from the ward members.

Check out all these waffles!
(editor's note: He probably had no idea about the weird little boys over his left shoulder)

On top of the Arc de Triomphe