One of the greatest musical groups of my generation, N'Sync (always will be second to Backstreet Boys) once had an album and song called Celebrity. The music video was amaze and glee doing their song a few weeks ago was just splendid. Anyway after my trip to San Francisco on Friday I definitely felt like a celebrity but also a homeless person at the same time so I had a bit of an identity crisis.
I will explain.
So on Friday my companion and I for the day (Soeur Hunsaker) woke up at 4:00 a.m. GRRRREAT (tony the tiger voice) way to start the day. There were 7 sisters and 3 elders going to San Fran that day to go the to French Consulate. We got to the airport at around 6 a.m. and it was my first public appearance as a missionary. Even though we were in Utah people still stared at us and I didn't mind at all. As we were walking to our gate this guy asked me for a Book of Mormon. And guess what I did???? I didn't give him one. Why????? I DIDN'T HAVE ONE! Worst missionary of the year but oh well. An elder in our group had one and so he saved me. I will make up for my lack of having one in the future.
At the airport I was able to call some of my family. I didn't really have too much to say because the life of a missionary in the MTC is pretty consistent. But it was SOOOO nice just to hear their voices and I may have had to blink away tears. Hopefully you were impressed with my french because it isn't impressive here yet.
After the phone call this guy came up to us. In my pre-mish life I would have NEVER talked to him because he was all decked out in Ute gear but being a representative of Christ really changes you and I just appreciated him wearing my favorite color read and ignored the letters and symbols. This guy was so energetic. Like me times ten. He just kept talking and talking and I don't even know why. He served his mission in Perth, Australia! SHOUT out to my favorite Aussies Sam and Scott Collins! He and this missionary mom both helped us out and took pictures of us to send to our moms. Hopefully I didn't look too tired!
Once in San Fran our driver Edgar took us to the French Consulate. It was like 20 minutes total but hearing natives speak was intimidating. I understand my american teachers speaking french just fine but I know that understanding REAL French will come.
We had the next few hours to explore the city and boy did we explore. Not really but I am going to try to sound cool. We went to the Pier and people REALLY stared at us and I just smiled and occasionally threw out some french to look impressive. It was so so so great to really be looked at differently. I credit having Jésus-Christ on my badge. We ate lunch at Boudins and it really hit me that I have been eating like teenage boys for over a week. Real food is so great and I will cherish it all the time. As we were walking from lunch to Ghirdeli Square this OLD couple straight from India stopped a few of us sisters (four of us walked fast the other 6 were SLOOOOW) and asked if they could take a picture of us. We obliged. I still don't know why people from other countries like to take pictures with us whities. Ice cream at Ghirdelis made our day. I highly suggest they open one in Utah if they haven't already. You know Mormons and their ice cream!
Now here is the part where I REALLY became a celebrity so be ready. We went down to this area by the Golden Gate Bridge to take some pictures. I had Soeur Hunsaker take a photo of me and as I was smiling I looked behind here to find an Asian guy with a cigarette in one hand and a paparazzi style camera in the other just snapping away pictures of me. I am not THAT vain and so of course at first I thought he was taking pictures of the bridge and I was in his way so I moved and he moved too. I kind of awkwardly giggled and went to my comp and he then took pictures of us both. CREEP ALERT. I didn't let it phase me at that point so I started to pose to let him know that I knew he was taking my picture and to kind of slyly tell him to stop. He didn't stop. It was crazy. I am not imagining this. He really followed us everywhere for a good 15 minutes getting a photo of us at every angle 20 times. So if any of you find pictures of my online or something, let me know so I can copy-right those images. Kidding! But really having a guy with a long lens camera taking photos of you everywhere is a good way to make you feel A. Like a celebrity or B. more confident knowing someone is taking your picture.
Off to the airport we went! We drove by Lombard Street but couldn't stop so ignore my crappy picture but it was still cool. We got on this plane and this Mormon couple sits right across from me and my comp. Guess what the man did.... He took each of our pictures to send it to his grandson hahahaha definitely a picture day so good thing I had cute clothes on (thanks Melissa for the scarf and Michelle for the shirt!)
Now here is where the day got bad. We arrive in SLC around 7:30 and call to see where the MTC van is..... THEY FORGOT ABOUT US!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Not kidding. I know that I am known for adding extra details to make my stories better but this is so legit. And I am a missionary so I can't lie. They were like "oops! We have missionaries going there at 10 so wait." We had only had lunch ALL day and a cup of soda on the plane. We were dying. We kept trying to figure out ways to get food or rides but exact obedience is key so I refrained from calling my sisters in SLC to bring me food or bring me to the MTC. 10 missionaries stranded in the airport for 3 hours. The MTC finally offered to give us $10 each for dinner so we hurried and ordered pizza. Me and Soeur Elliot went out to wait for the guy....
As we were waiting this like 40 year old guy with a faint alcohol smell to him came up to us. Being missionaries we got super excited and talked to him. Turns out he was a member but not anymore but still wanted to talk to us. We tried teaching him a bit and felt pretty good where out of no where he yelled, "You two are smokin hot!" We just looked at each other and smiled and tried not to throw up. We ignored him and kept trying to get our message across. From there he just kept saying stuff about our looks and how we are going to get in SO much trouble in Paris. The strangest thing is that he kept putting his hand in a fist and biting his knuckles to refrain from saying stuff. He told us how good the wine is there and blah blah. We had no idea what to do. We HAD to eat and wait for our pizza and he wasn't like a threat but he definitely made us feel suuuuper uncomfortable. Finally another sister came out to tell us the pizza guy had come. We were saved!!!!
Turns out a lot of people in the SLC airport feel bad for starving, stranded missionaries and they paid for our pizza. Thank you kind people!
On a mission bedtime is 10:30 NO QUESTION. We got back to the MTC at 11:30 and in bed after midnight. Saturday morning 6 am service did not look appealing and luckily the MTC felt bad so we didn't have to go! Sleeping in until 7:30 never felt so nice!
This is long. I just looked up!
Sunday was the first regular Sunday here and I was not let down. In the MTC for sacrament meeting all the missionaries have to prepare a talk in their language and they will randomly be called up.. This week was on baptism and I had an okay talk in french but didn't get called up. Church was great. For Relief Society ALL the sisters in the MTC meet together and a lady named Sister Edmunds spoke. She was hilarious. Wisest words I have heard in the MTC was from her talk... " DO NOT TOUCH THE ELDERS. EVER. NEVER. but.... Keep Track of the Elders you want to touch after!" HAHAHAHAHA so funny. Then for Sunday Devotional the guy who is over the media for the church spoke. At first I thought was a bore fest but he was sooo great. He was over the I'm a Mormon campaign, the campaign in NYC and everything. It was amazing and really pumped me up to be part of something so great and really world-wide. On Sundays we get to walk up to the Provo Temple between 2-3 pm and just take pictures. It is the best! Also going to the temple every Tuesday is amazing!!! The Temple really is the House of the Lord!
Yesterday (Monday) we learned how to street contact. I LOVE IT. I know it will be much more different with each person I meet but it was a great first time. We start teaching our contact Piere Wednesday. BTW Jean-Michele became our new teacher Brother Laramer (he served in Quebec and knows David Wilson and Josh Burch from work) and he is also Pierre. Kind of confusing but mostly amazing!
I am still loving it here soooo much! There are definitely times where I miss my family and things but they only last for a few minutes. I am so happy and learn so much each day. My french is improving all the time and that is what is important. I am not fluent or even confident in speaking with natives but hopefully that will happen! I LOVE this gospel and love that I have the opportunity to share it with people and share it with myself too. I am learning just as much as investigators will, if not more.
I love you all. Yesterday I got 5 letters in one day. New record! Keep them coming.
Best cousins husband award goes to Courtland! Thanks for writing!
Best sneaky letter writer goes to Melissa. I didn't even know that you put a letter in my suitcase until your letter this week. You better believe I hopped off the top bunk and ripped open that suitcase!
Best person at making up at not writing: Michelle!
That last "best" can easily become a competition if you all write!
I really do love you all. I feel your support and love and appreciate it so much!
Soeur Emily Johns