January 27, 2014

A Volcano and Almost England Over Some Orville Redenbacher's - Weeks 74 and 75

Hey everyone!

My imaginary bucket labeled "things I've done" is full to the brim and spilling over, so you'll get an earful of everything that's happened over the last two weeks. You might need a Snuggie and a bowl of low-fat popcorn for this one.

Back when I was still with Elder Hill, we spent a good chunk of a day moving out of our apartment and back in with Elder Dussère's and Elder Coffey's to make room for the new senior couple. That was the ninth (count 'em ... 9) time I've moved on my mission, and I'm no more an expert at it than the first time. I need to stop accumulating cool things. Anyway, the couple is French, so they get to be the phone talkers and the negotiators. They're awesome.

With it being the week before transfers, we knew that we were going to be ridiculously busy. We had two apartments to open, other ones to close, and a handful of others that needed to be equipped for more missionaries, requiring more furniture. The problem was that we couldn't do any of it, because the new apartments had to close their contracts, and President still had to figure out where he was going to be putting the new missionaries. So, for a few days, it felt a little like we were sitting in our lawn chairs and twiddling our thumbs on top of an active volcano, waiting for it to explode. We had a huge task list, and no way to start it. It was a nice few days, though.

On Friday, the volcano finally exploded. After a "short" staff meeting of more than an hour, they sent Elder Hill and I out on the road to Amiens and further on to Calais to deliver furniture. We left Calais at around 9:30 at night, then realized that we were one bunk bed short. The closest IKEA was in Lille on the border with Belgium, so we headed straight up north and slept with the Elders in Lille. It's pretty convenient to have free room and board in every major or mid-sized city in France. We woke up, bought the bunk bed, got some food at a grocery store, debated with a middle eastern cashier about the church and America, then drove back down to Calais. It's right on the English Channel, but it was too cloudy to see England. Darn, maybe next time.

From there, we drove back to Amiens to unload, then back to another IKEA close to Versailles. We met the Princes over there, and we picked out more furniture for the new apartment for the new senior couple. 550 miles and two days later, we were back in Le Vésinet in front of our apartment. Still not a scratch on the new van, either. To celebrate, the Princes treated us to a meal at the Chinese Buffet. Mmm. Did I eat McDonalds and KFC for the few preceding days? Maybe. Did my insides feel bad afterwards? Possibly. Was it delicious? Oh, yes. 

Last Sunday, Elder Hill and I were commissioned to drive Sister Poznanski and the Roneys, the mission presidents from the southern France mission, to a hotel in Paris for a meeting. It was a cool opportunity getting to meet everyone. After, Elder Hill and I took the chance to attempt to park the new, but longer van in the courtyard of the chapel in Paris. Usually, the office Elders are known for their skill (or lack thereof) in parking in the courtyard for the luggage. Even with the extra length, Elder Hill and I got in in easier than getting a kid in a candy store. That's right.


Since I owe you two emails, here's the summary of the second week!

After a nice and relaxing Sunday (ha.), Elder Hill and I spend his last P-Day ever  -sniff- building furniture in the new apartment for the new office couple. After a little more planning and preparation that night and after a few hundred metro tickets purchased, we were all ready to go get the new missionaries at the airport the following day. No exploding tires included. As always, they were as happy as ever and just plain excited to be alive. I think this group was even a bit more excited and ready than the last one. Anyway, we gave them their customary first pastry, drove their bags to the chapel, and sent them on their way with the couples and President.

Having a few extra hours while all the blues were having interviews and trainings, Elder Hill, Elder Coffey and I all went shopping in Paris for a little while for a makeshift P-Day during soldes. I got a few cheap cardigans and things. I almost bought a 200 euro suit for 50 euros, but the pants weren't quite my size. Next time. Luckily, suits are going to get that cheap again in 5 months, just a few weeks before I go home. Can anyone say convenient?

The next morning was transfer day, so I went with the assistants to help with the blues at Consecration Hill. I hadn't been back since I went on the first day of my mission, so it was cool to see everyone else have the same experience. From there, we went back into Paris and left Elder Coffey and Elder Hill at the apartment to get their suitcases all ready for their flight home the next day. I picked up Elder Christensen, my new companion, and we took all the suitcases of the dying missionaries to the mission home. 

As always, we got up bright and early on Thursday to take everyone to the airport. When I first started taking people to the airport three transfers ago, I didn't really care too much because I didn't know most of them very well. This time was pretty dang sad, since all the Sisters who went home were in the MTC with me, I was companions with Elder Hill for three months, and I lived with Elder Coffey for four and a half months. Every one of those people who went home are awesome. They're in a better place now. May they rest in peace.

And the action doesn't stop! Elder Christensen and I changed into t-shirts in the airport bathrooms and went directly to Amiens to help the Elders move into their new apartment. That took the entire day, and we went early the next day to Orléans with Elder Prince to close out the deal for a new apartment over there. 

I'll spare you the details of more apartments and more work so that my dear mother isn't the only one to read this essay of an email. Suffice it to say, we were busy. And it's not stopping. Love it! Wouldn't have it any other way.

Speaking of mothers, here's a shout out to my mother who spent the week getting me an apartment contract in Provo for next semester. Thank you!

Talk to you ... whenever I talk to you! Have a swell time up until then. Bisous.

Elder Wilson