So on Wednesday, we went down to southern Paris to finish up building and installing things for the new missionary apartment. Let's just say, I've cut down my kitchen cabinet installment time by half since I've started. (It's not uncommon to have to put in kitchen cabinets when you move to a new place. The previous tenants take their cabinets with them.) We delivered a fridge, put up some curtains, built some beds, and had an oven delivered.
Thursday was a nice surprise trip down to the city of Le Mans, where we had to go eat some of Sister Barrero's famous madelines ... -cough- -cough- and do some apartment reparation on the side. We had to say yes to all of their requests after they greeted us at the door with madelines and a hot meal. None of the Elders have ever done that for us ... yeesh. That definitely went into account when we were deciding whether to buy them a normal toilet seat or be nice and get a soft-close toilet seat. Yeah, we have that kind of power. NBD. Oh, the excitement of fixing the apartments.
During the day, we got an emergency phone call to go check out a broken oven in Mantes north of Paris. It's actually called "Mantes-la-Jolie," or "Mantes the Beautiful," but the rumor has always been that it's one of the less-attractive cities. Rumor confirmed. The name is just there to fool you into going there, I guess.
We got back from Le Mans and Mantes late at night, giving us enough time to sleep, pack and leave early the next morning to head up to Belgium again. It's about a four hour drive in a normal car, plus an extra hour or two when you account for the time lost by driving the beat-up van. We stopped in Valenciennes on the way, swapped beds, then went up to Brussels to install a new dryer. We didn't get up there until decently late, so we had to stay with some Elders in Brussels, namely Elder Oliverson and his companion. It wasn't such a hard choice, because they live in the largest apartment in the mission and have at least seven extra mattresses, plus a number of couches. However, they didn't make us dinner like the Le Mans Sisters did. Not that I'm bitter about it or anything. Luckily, since they were too busy for us and didn't get home for a while, we were able to run over to the store and load up on some precious Belgian chocolate again. Mmm.
We got up again with the Belgian sunrise to drive back to France and deliver some appliances in the big city of Lille. All the missionaries in the city were attending a baptism, so we went over to the church to meet up with them and swap old phones for new ones. As is usual for our trips, we were wearing hoodies and jeans so we can lift and move things. When we walked in with normal clothes on, some members at the baptism got concerned. Apparently the bishop pulled the Sisters aside and said, "Did you see? Those missionaries aren't wearing any church clothes! Do we need to do something about that? What do we do?" Don't worry, sir; all in a day's work.
Long story short, we made it back safe and even had enough time after church on Sunday to teach some people. Plus, through a number of strange "coincidences," we were able to come back in contact with a man that used to come to church every week, but has since disappeared. His phone number changed, and he lives in a higher security apartment building, but everything worked out yesterday.
Have a good American Thanksgiving! You don't know how awesome it is until you miss two in a row!
(from the mission Facebook page. Thanks Sister Poznanski! It's like playing Where's Waldo. Can you find him?)