What a week! You know it had to be busy when I'm sending this post 2 days late. Curve balls left and right. Elder Hill and I have a pretty good batting average and have been hitting them though.
We wanted to go to Invalides for P-Day, which is a big military building built by Napoleon with a war museum inside. We took the metro over to Paris, then were quickly reminded of the hordes of tourists in the city for winter vacation. Consequently, all the lines were too long, and we just decided to go back to our apartment.
The real adventure came when we got to the last metro station, where we had to pay to recharge our public transport cards. Elder Hill started putting his money in the machine, which stopped working and ate his money after he put in 40 euros. Curve ball. The result was a nice process of an hour and a half to get some of his money back from the station workers. Gotta be careful with those things.
New Year's Eve was great! We went out on the town and partied until the early hours of the morning. That's all true, if "out on the town" is a member family's house, and "party" involves eating excessive amounts of pizza until 9 o'clock at night. It was seriously really fun though. They're a half American/half Swiss family, and they were nice enough to invite 6 of us over to be with them. It' not every day that we get to eat pizza, either.
New Year's Day was considered a day off for missionaries, so Elder Hill and I slept in and headed into the city in the early afternoon. Unfortunately New Year's is also considered a day off for French people, so all of the stores were closed. We decided to get off at the Arc de Triomphe and walk down the Champs Elysees anyway, and we ended up finding one worthwhile open store: Sephora. Having nothing much to do, we walked in and smelled cologne for an hour and a half. Filling every stereotype for a French missionary? Maybe. After we'd had our fill, we kept walking through all the Christmas markets and mozied over to the other side of the city. We saw a chateau, then stopped at the lit-up Eiffel Tower on the way back home. That basically took the entire day, but it was great. We're so lucky.
On Friday, we showed up to the mission home and received a surprise assignment for the afternoon. Curve ball. Some apartments out in Brittany needed some replacement furniture, so we left right away for western France. The first stop was the city of Rennes, where we went to IKEA, then the missionary apartments to replace locks, doorknobs, bunk beds, a shower mount, and a desk. We slept there with the Elders that night, which happened to include Elder Wood and Elder Smith, both my old companions. That was awesome.
The next stop on the surprise trip was the city of Lorient, right on the coast. We took two desks to the Sisters over there, built them, and even got paid in oranges. Angers was after that, where I got to display my skills as an electrician, then the city of Le Mans for some curtains, and finally back to Paris for the night. Mission accomplished, and another job well-done.
Monday morning took another trip to the airport for a visa waiter going on her mission to Louisiana. She was excited. Upon getting back, Elder Prince took us up to the city of Compiègne to sign some paperwork for a new missionary apartment. He gave us a nice little surprise on the way and, since it was our P-Day, took us to a château called Pierrefonds. Amazing, amazing. It's basically the closest thing you can get to a fairytale castle. The walls still have marks from attacks and cannonballs still stuck in the stone.
At the base of the château is a highly-lauded pastry shop, so we stopped in and had a little pastry feast. Did I feel like vomiting afterwards? Absolutely. Was it well worth it? Completely.
The last adventure for the week happened yesterday morning (on Tuesday). On our way to the airport, as we were driving on the freeway, Elder Hill felt like slowing down and moving to the right lane. Just as he did so, our front right tire exploded, and we quickly slowed to a stop on the side of the freeway under a bridge, halfway in a lane. Curve ball. We threw on the hazard lights and an emergency traffic triangle, then went looking for the spare tire. We quickly surmised that no such spare tire existed, so we ended up calling the emergency line and ordering a tow truck. We then got the van taken to a tire shop. On the bright side, the whole process was pretty painless and easy. As it turns out, the tire shop only had one identical tire left in stock, so we took it and and were on the road again within an hour and a half.
There's the latest and greatest! A pizza party, cologne, a castle, and an exploding tire. There you have it. Now go and pick back up all those New Year's Resolutions you set last week.
New Year's Eve. Not centered ...
All lit up for New Year's