What a week ! I am not sure where to start and I am pretty sure this will seem like just a bunch of crazy random stories but it is how my week went! So enjoy!
Last Monday we wanted to visit the National Library in Paris. Belle is my favorite Disney Princess and I LOVE books so going to a real beautiful French library was like the PERFECT way to spend our P-Day. So we wondered around Paris trying to find this library. NO signs and NO tourists anywhere in the area that it should have been. Eventually we find it and no one is there. I think back to what the important national stuff in DC is like and assume that lots of people would be to a similar thing here… NOT TRUE! The building is just like a regular building and nothing too special but we go in and stay positive. It was just like this building with stairs and some art on the walls and we were pretty disappointed because I wanted to be Belle! We persevered and eventually found the MOST BEAUTIFUL room EVER!!!! It said no photos and I don’t want to mess with French Police so I obeyed. It was magnificent. People were studying and doing library things but it was a three story round room full of books. AH I can’t even write about it without drooling. We were so giddy and happy UNTIL the desk clerk guy came up… He asked if we had library cards and we were like no and he said we had to leave. Saddest rejection ever! I guess the library is an actual library and people check out books and it is not for random Americans to be gawking over. Such a letdown. BUT I have the memory of that room forever stored in my brain!
My companion has not been feeling well and so we spent a lot of the week inside the apartment. Sick days on missions are the WORST thing ever!!! Sick days from school and work are amazing and filled with food and movies but on a mission it was filled with be trying to be really quiet and reading Our History and talking to myself! She is better now but I am going to do ALL THAT I CAN to make sure I don’t ever have a sick companion!
We ride the train here A LOT. Walking to the gare (station) 4 times a day a LOT. Well this week a man started throwing up on the train uncontrollably. I thought that he was just pouring water out of a bottle it was so much and it slid around everywhere and I tried to keep my composure. At the next stop we hurry and switch train carts but he followed… He stopped throwing up so it was okay. Just gross!
I have had the BEST district EVER!!! Transfers are this week and one AP and one Office Elder are leaving and I am sad. They are the greatest and left big shoes to fill to the ones replacing them. Our area of Versailles is getting another companionship of elders. So in our district there will be 6 elders and 2 sisters so the ward will be happy! I am not going to be the newest missionary anymore!! WOO HOO I am growing up! One transfer down and I have learned so much already so I can’t wait for the next one!
So sometimes we just need a girl’s night in. All the girls in the world know what I am talking about but on a mission it can be hard because we are not here for ourselves and there is no time for ourselves anyway. So we got creative. We hurry and plan (still thoroughly) as quickly as possible and then grab a chocolate bar and watch a chick flick-mission addition. That means we watch 17 Miracles and cry. It is the best and exactly what we need after a hard day! Pretty sure I went from never having seen that movie to now knowing all the lines in one week! I suggest everyone watches it!
Yesterday was Stake Conference here! We are the Paris Stake and I was able to see some of my mission friends from the MTC! Elder Kearon of the first quorum of the 70 and first counselor in the Europe Area Presidency came. He is English and so great! Our DMP translated for him! Elder Kearon was so funny! So he says a line and then it is translated but he said ‘’As of July 1 a 150 new missions will be starting!’’ we were all like WOW!!! So that gets translated and then he says ‘’No there won’t. There will be 58’’ hahahaha I guess he mixed up numbers and from 150 missions 58 were created. Not as funny the second time but funny at the moment.
The real interesting and dramatic things happened after conference. So it was held in the Palace de Congress right next to the Château and was a beautiful place. After the conference most people had left and the ones that were still there were just chatting. I was talking to Elder Springmeyer from my MTC district when we heard a loud thud and this lady was on the ground face down unconscious and not moving. She had fallen/tripped or past out and was like OUT. Blood started to pool all around her head and she was frozen. The ambulance came and I think she will be okay but it was scary! After that the whole mood was just off so Elder Kearon came to the rescue. Not really but for me yes. So pretty much everyone had left after the lady falling and me and my companion were about to leave but then Elder Kearon came walking towards just the two of us and then he approached us! He shook both of our hands and just said ‘’Great Job’’ and I was confused so I said ‘’we didn’t say the prayer so for what?’’ (I embarrass myself sooo often) but he just thanked us for being missionaries and just doing our best and he said a bunch of nice things and we were on cloud 9 for the rest of the day! He is so awesome!! I have got to stop meeting sooo many GREAT people because my list of favorites is getting too long!
We are eating with members!!! A funny story with that this week though. We switch who has the phone every other day. This week I was on the phone scheduling a Rendezvous with a member for Wednesday afternoon. I couldn’t understand everything she was saying but I thought I heard the words lunch, eat and together so this is what I said but in French ‘’sorry I don’t understand a lot of French. Did you say eat???’’ My companion was dying of laughter because she thought this was just my new technique in getting meals but it really isn’t. But it could work in the future until I actually do understand everything but for this case she really was inviting us to eat lunch with her. So another meal down!!
I am living in Versailles. Like next to the Palace-ish but a reeeeeally nice area. I love our apartment A LOT but because we live so close to the office and mission home for some reason our apartment has never gotten the monthly cleaning checks that other apartments do. Part of the purpose is to make sure that everything is working well. Everything is not working well. On Saturday our kitchen sink stopped draining. Not completely stopped but it takes 8 hours to drain a few inches of water. So that night we took apart our sink and washed it all by hand. I knew you all wouldn’t believe that I did this so I have photographic proof! I scrubbed with my bare hands the gunk and grossness out of the sink and I survived. I am not super girly and I was raised to enjoy germs and dirt but this was gross. Problem NOT solved. We cook a lot and use lots of dishes and yesterday it started to build up so we resorted to the only thing we could… the bathtub ! We put ALL the dishes in the bathtub and let them soak in water all day and then last night we washed them ALL. Yup welcome to Missionary life in Versailles. I can kind of relate to how the missionaries in Africa, South America and some Asian countries feel. I prefer feeling like I did before but it definitely makes a good story! Our washing machine is connected to our sink and during the cycle it empties water into the sink so we can’t do our laundry for the moment either right now!
Today we made enough phone calls and got the office elders and the senior couple in charge of apartments over but we will have to get someone else to fix it. Hopefully that comes soon! The two new elders that are moving into our area get a brand new apartment and tomorrow we get to spend our day waiting at their apartment for the electricity guy to come so we will do our laundry there after he arrives! It will all be okay and I am going to value the little things like a working sink much more in the future!
I am doing this email Monday night and we did our P-Day activity today but I don’t have my camera thing to upload those pictures so I will include the story and photos next week but to keep you tuned in I will tell you this… We went to a French spa! I currently look like my sister Jessica’s Halloween costume circa 1998 in Turkey but c’est la vie! Stay tuned for next week where the story continues!
I love you all. Being a missionary is really the best thing ever. I can’t say it or explain it enough. GREATEST decision of my life! The people are so great and I am just loving them more and more each day. My mom said something while I was in the MTC along the lines of me being here to help my Brothers and Sisters in France come to our Heavenly Father and I know that is part of my purpose. These people are our brothers and sisters and I want to help them and get to know them like I know my sisters at home! Thank you all for your love, support and prayers!
Sœur Emily Johns