Basically, we were gone the entire week. Like I said last time, we had to go out to the west coast to St. Brieuc to set up a new apartment. We got up nice and early to load up the van with all the furniture we needed. It was a pretty impressive packing job too; President Poznanski came out and remarked something along the lines of, "Wow, are you even going to be able to fit a sandwich in there?!" No, we probably couldn't have. With that, we forced the doors closed and were off.
-six hours later-
Then, we got to St. Brieuc! We had some other Elders come over to help us, and we started building furniture for the next day and a half. The next day just-so-happened to be my birthday.
As is tradition, Sister Poznanski called to wish me a happy birthday. She reminded me of the tradition in the mission that on birthdays, the companion gets to do all the work for the day: meals, dishes, cleanup ... everything. My birthday happened to fall on a convenient day, because not only did I have two companions instead of one (since Elder Prince tagged along), but also because it got me out of building furniture for the next 24 hours! I decided to help them anyway though, just because I was feeling extra charitable.
Around a week and a half before my birthday, I got a package from mother. Inside, there were a good number of wrapped up presents, with the instructions to open one every day until my birthday. Throughout the process, we had a dozen missionaries or so over to our apartment to do exchanges with the assistants. Every time, a missionary would walk in and the conversation would essentially be the same.
"Are those ALL yours?"
"Yep; I'm supposed to open one every day until my birthday."
"Wow. Your mom is fantastic. She's the best person I've never met. Could you give her a high-five for me?"
Here, mom: hit the screen right here ------> High Five!
Anyway, we finished up the apartment and had to drive up to Caen to check on something else. Since we skipped our P-day, Elder Prince had us stop twice on the way to check out Mont Saint Michel and Utah Beach, one of the D-Day beaches in Normandy. Mont Saint Michel is essentially an abbey that looks like a castle built on an island in the ocean. We even got to go inside and check it out a bit. As for Utah Beach, we got to peruse all the monuments and statues that the US maintains to commemorate the invasion. Really awesome.
By the time we pulled back into the mission home in Versailles on Wednesday night, we had been around each other for so long that we were discussing the economic trends of the alpaca investment market. Seriously. It's a good thing we ended when we did.
We woke up on Thursday morning with the expectation of going and doing exchanges with the other Versailles Elders, but then we got a call from Elder Prince at 8:00. "Hey, remember all that stuff you planned to do today? Actually, you're going to drive to Brussels instead. There are five apartments you need to visit. Leave ASAP and be back tomorrow night." Yes, sir.
And so it was that we hopped back in the van after a 10 hour pit stop to sleep at our apartment. We went up to Lille, Brussels, Charleroi and slept in Namur for the night. We woke up the next morning, moved around some appliances, and stopped in Valenciennes on the way home. And ... BAM! Just like that, it was the end of the week.
Sunday was a good day, and it started with Stake Conference. The Paris Stake meets at the Congress Building across the street from the Palace of Versailles, and we had to go there extra early for choir practice. The Mission President asked all the Versailles missionaries to be in the choir. Also, my companion may or may not have fallen asleep during a talk while we were sitting on the stage in front of everyone.
Sunday night, we went to the train station to pick up Elder Kahn, a French Elder who was in our mission for a transfer while he waited for his visa to go to his mission in California. He was super cool, and we got to go do some tracting with him. Right now, the plan is for Elder Kahn to come to BYU with me so he can find me a bunch of friends with his suave accent. Knowing that we would have to get up early to take the Elder to the airport, the Mission President called us in the evening to say,
"Hey, what are you guys doing?"
"Oh you know, just knocking on some doors."
"Well, don't you think it would be a good idea for you to go to bed early?"
Couldn't argue with that logic.
This morning, we woke up at 3:45 am to take Elder Kahn to his plane headed for Salt Lake. It's early afternoon, and we've already been up for 12 hours! Always an adventure.
I hope you all have a great week.
Mont Saint Michel Abbey on the western coast of France