I love old people. Maybe more than I should but I just love them. The older the better and if they are not all the way there in the mind then it is the best! I think that is why I golfed because I could just talk with old men all day but anyway I love old people. But being a missionary it can sometimes be hard with older people but I try talking with them anyway. Missionaries have been living at my complex FOR YEARS!!! Everyone that lives in our complex has seen missionaries and knows exactly who we are but we still say hello to everyone that we see. I get on tangents but you should know that already. Anyway so last week we were walking out of our complex and this REALLY old man was walking his little dog reeeealy slowly because he is like 90. So we said ‘’Bonjour’’ and he replies with this... in English. ‘’Hello. Good day!’’ and he stops and we were like oh you speak English only we said that in French. I do that all the time. Someone will say something in English and I just keep going in French until I realize that they are speaking English. So turns out this man is from Ireland but grew up in the US and everywhere else in the world. We spent a good 45 minutes talking to him and after we were both just like WE MET THE COOLEST MAN EVER!! His name is Sean O’Neil and he was in the army for two years and his bunkmate person was some elder in our church but we don’t know if that means he was just like a missionary at some point or if he was like one of the general authorities. Sean had the greatest stories ever but when we would ask him a question like a name or time he wouldn’t remember. So he has been in like 100 movies with Frank Sinatra and Clark Gable and cool people and was in a Hitchcock film but when we looked him up on IMDB he isn’t listed so we are thinking that he was just an extra but he had really awesome stories and just kept sharing them with us! At the time we were thinking that we were becoming friends with a Hollywood Legend and so of course we got a picture with him. Ignore his arm being around me and not being the awkward missionary and opposite sex photo but he is an old man so it doesn’t count right? It was a very well spent 45 minutes but I really have no idea if this man just has an AMAZING imagination, really did these things or what is going on ! He was a cool cat and hopefully we run into him again around the complex!
|Emily with Sean O'Neil|
We rely on public transportation A LOT here. By a lot I mean that if there isn’t a bus, train or RER then we won’t be seeing anyone. I have been working on becoming a patient person because it is a virtue and I need to obtain patience eventually if I am ever going to be a mom or just a normal person. So being so reliant on trains has taught me some patience. I now understand that I cannot be on time or early to EVERYTHING because I really do not have much control. I think French people have known this for a long time because cancelled trains are not as big of a deal to them. Anyway so this week we were waiting at our gare to get to a rendezvous. The train and like all the following trains got cancelled according to the lady on the speakers but on the screen it didn’t say cancelled so there was a small group of people all looking at the little TV screen and so we decided to go check out the screen too. When we walked up they all noticed that we were some religious people and so they asked us to pray and ask God to make the trains not cancelled but we just kind of laughed and we’re all laughing together but they seemed to really think that we had some power over the trains. BUT then all of a sudden the train arrives! They all just look at us and we looked at each other and they started to thank us and just praise us and act like we were these miracle workers! It was crazy. They were sooo happy for us and it made us feel good but we really didn’t do anything besides awkwardly laugh! Maybe the next time a set of missionaries goes up to them they will remember us and give them some of their time and interest!
I am in the best ward in the world! Our DMP which is the ward mission leader is so awesome! The ward missionaries are also really cool! Each Tuesday night we have DMP meeting with the ward missionaries and all 8 full time missionaries in the ward. This past Tuesday we and a set of Elders and one of the ward missionaries were waiting to start. The ward missionary is Frere Ya who is from the Ivory Coast and is like 5’ 4” and just this cute little man. We were talking about how there are Chinese speaking missionaries and he tells us that he speaks Chinese and so we asked him to prove it and he just starts speaking the fake Chinese that everyone tries to do and sound Chinese. But he was doing it in such a legit way and it seemed like he was telling this really dramatic story in Chinese. We were all dying and it was just the greatest but strangest thing ever! SOOOO funny. So then our DMP comes in and he is like 6’ 5” tall and thin and French. So we ask Frere Ya to show Frere Grenier how to speak Chinese thinking we will all just laugh and so Frere Ya does his little imitation and then all of a sudden Frere Grenier talks back to him in the fake Chinese and these two middle-aged men have an entire conversation in fake Chinese. It was the funniest thing ever and I am like on the floor laughing the whole time during the meeting just remembering the weirdness of what just happened! The ward is great!!!
Part of being a missionary is service. We always are trying to find ways to help people and make their lives easier. No one seems to ever want to accept our offer but it seems that the only time that they do is when they need help cooking. This week we stopped by Lisa’s who is an investigator that we had the whole Sacha thing with last week. We showed up and do like a SUPER short lesson and then as we are leaving we ask if there is anything that we can do for her and she brings us to her kitchen and hands us these weird vegetable things that I have never seen before. Turns out that it was an artichoke. We cut artichokes for her and it was so strange because I do not know any cooking or food terms in French really and so I am just trying to follow her and figure out what she wanted me to do with this weird vegetable. It turned out okay but once we were finished she tells us that it is for a big meal she is making… FOR SACHA AND HIS FAMILY!!!!!!!!!!!! Sacha as in the German we met last week that should be in like Spain by now! As we were walking out her apartment in comes Sacha and his mom and a friend! It was soooooo confusing and I still don’t know what is up with that! He still looked super cool and his mom was pretty similar in style to him but I don’t know why he is in Versailles and why his family is and why he was at Lisa’s again. So many questions and so sketchy! The most random things happen on missions and each day is such an adventure!
I am legal!!!!!!!!!!!!! On Friday we went to Paris and I became legal! There were 40 missionaries that arrived in France with me back in May and it was now the time to fully become legal. About 30 out of the 40 were in my legality group so all of us and our trainers met in Paris! It was one of the funnest days I have had! I LOVED being with all of my friends from the MTC! It was sooo fun and we just spent the day together and did some training things in the morning with the APs. After lunch we left our trainers and went to the legality office. With such a big group it took quite a long time but I was able to just hang out with my friends so it wasn’t bad at all! Legality in France is an interesting situation. So there is the health part which is similar to the physicals that we do in America. I get into this room and the lady just hands me a cup and puts me in a stall. NO GLOVES, NO LID, and no little box to put my cup of pee in! So I did my best and then had to awkwardly walk out of the stall and through the waiting room with a cup full of pee trying not to spill it and give it to the lady who just sets it on the counter with all the other cups of pee. I hope that whatever she does she knows whose pee belongs to whom! Then the whole height and weight thing. Then the eyes…. So this WHOLE thing is in French but I don’t know medical terms in French. I only know the GOSPEL! So I have to do my best to explain that I have contacts and that I am blind. I guess I didn’t do enough explaining because after I covered each of my eyes with my hand and read the numbers and letters off the board thing the nurse tells me that I have bad eyes. She kept telling me this. I have contacts and I have been using contacts since I was 6 so it has been quite a long time. I thought I was doing pretty well trying to say letters and numbers in French with the pressure of being able to see! She continued to tell me that my left eye is worse than my right and I was like Yeah I know my left eye is useless and my right isn’t great but it tries! I don’t know if France lets blind foreigners into their country but I am still here so I guess I passed enough!
|Some of Emily's MTC district|
|Emily and her companion with Marie Poznanski|
Now for the most exciting part of legality… The chest x-ray! Thank goodness that my comp had given me a full overview of what would be taking place. I am put into another stall and just told to take everything on top off. Then just wait in the stall until the doctor comes and gets you. So I was completely topless just hanging out in the stall and then the doctor, who luckily was a woman, came and got me and I did a chest x-ray! I am a pretty private person but I am not shy but I thought the whole being a topless missionary in a foreign country would be weird but it totally wasn’t. It wasn’t the most normal thing that I have ever done but it wasn’t bad and it was professional and I survived! Then I went back to the stall and went to another one to wait for them to listen to my heart and breathing. This was done in just a bra which is also different than I am used to in America. It wasn’t bad either. The doctor asked if I smoked as a general question before any of the test and I was like no and she was like none of you smoke AND then the missionary came out! I am able to totally talk about the word of wisdom and how we believe that our bodies are a gift from God and should be kept healthy and it was awesome! I am now legally in France and now they can never get rid of me!!!
My birthday is coming up… less than 2 months! It is the 12th of September and boy, am I excited!!! I have heard all sorts of things about birthdays and holidays as a missionary. I have heard that it is lonely and sad and not special at all and then I have heard that it is like the greatest birthday ever! So let’s hope that after my birthday I will be able to say it was a GREAT Birthday! Yesterday was Bastille Day and sorry to say that it was much more boring than the 4th of July. Maybe it was because it was on a Sunday and so church is more important and the fact that no one wanted to see us because it was the Holiday but I do feel much more French after celebrating it. We did get some legit mac and cheese from a member though. By legit I mean that it was Kraft Mac and Cheese in a box! We are excited to eat it someday! The Tour de France is coming to Versailles!! It is the 100th and is a big deal! We aren’t sure what we can or can’t do but we hope to see it this week! Versailles to Paris is the last leg and will happen on Sunday! I also haven’t seen any magazines about my girl Kate Middleton and so I hope that as my loyal friends, you will inform me ASAP with all of the details. Yes obviously I am still not completely out of the world and a legit missionary but it is good to stay true to who you are right???!!!
I love being a missionary! I cannot say it enough! Every single day I am so happy and know that I am doing the Lords work. I have never had so much happiness, love, peace, comfort and joy in my life! I want to stay this way for the rest of my life and I want this amazing feeling for everyone! The work is coming along in France! The gospel of Jesus Christ really is the greatest thing and has brought me so much joy and love in my life and I love being able to share it with the people here. The language is coming along too! I really do love this language, country and people and am sooo excited for the next 15 months that I have to devote to it!
I love you all! Please continue to write and email me and let me know what is happening in your lives! You know what I am doing but I want to know what you are doing too!!
Sœur Emily Johns