Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Want to see a submarine?

March 28, 2011

I really don't understand English speaking Parisian hobos. On the way to do emails today, we passed this guy who hurriedly stood up from his sitting spot against a building, rushed over to us, and invited me to go "see the submarine." The submarine in this case is a mountain of random stuff piled on to some kind of wheel system. Yup...I passed up that opportunity.

This week has been full of "little" miracles. On Tuesday we got to see one of those "proof that exact obedience brings blessings" moments. We wanted to leave the apartment right at 10:30 so that we wouldn't lose a minute of that day. Normally we're out pretty quickly, but it's usually ten to fifteen minutes later. We hopped on a metro and just started talking. After a moment, the men sitting across from us leaned over and asked us something. We absolutely had no idea what they said. ha ha We had them repeat the question a couple times, but our comprehension wasn't getting any better. Finally Sister Rowley realized they were asking if we were Jehovah Witnesses. Turns out, we weren't understanding their French because they were speaking English ha ha ha! We of course told them we weren't but explained a bit about who we are. One of the men was not at all interested, but the other got off the train and talked to us for about half an hour. He's from Ghana and is living in Paris with his sister. The two of them are here working to send money home to the rest of their family in Africa. He's SO dang cool. We set up a rendez-vous with him for Friday. He's easily one of the nicest people I've ever met in my life. And he has been so prepared to learn about the gospel. We met with him on Friday and had an awesome lesson with him. To make it even better: the lesson was in a park. (The weather has been unbelievably beautiful this week!!!) We found out that he is actually barely out of our area - which was kind of heart breaking. We really didn't want to give him up. But we explained the situation to him and told him that other missionaries would be teaching him. We asked him if we could give them his information so that they could get in contact with him. He was totally fine with that idea, but only if he could have their number too, because "If they don't call me by Sunday, and I don't meet them at church, I need to call them Sunday night." He repeatedly explained that he REALLY wants to meet with the missionaries as often as he can "because you bring a good thing. I need this." He just rocks! =) And none of that would have happened if we'd left a minute later and caught a different train.

On Wednesday, we had interviews with President and Sister Staheli. I absolutely love them. They really are amazing people. =) And Sister Staheli and I had the coolest conversation about how time changes everything. She talked about how eighteen months seems like forever, until about six months in and then it just slips through your fingers -all because just a little time has passed. About how missions are about 10% of an elder's life thus far, but because of their age difference, the three years that she and President Staheli have served for is only 20% of their lives. About how the age difference between parent's and their children completely changes the perspective they (the parent and the child) have about almost everything. And then on the grand scale of our time in existence to that of Heavenly Father's and the amazingly increased perspective he has for us. It's kind of a hard conversation to explain in words here, but it was just...cool. =)

We teach English class Wednesday nights. This week somehow they started asking us about how we get around in America. Everyone was completely shocked that Sister Rowley and I both drive and have cars. One of the guys asked me how many cars my family members own in total. When I told him that in my family, we each have our own car, he again freaked out and asked how we ever had room to park them. So I explained briefly how we all fit in our drive way. He was even further shocked by that, imagining how big our house must be then. Sometimes I forget how different "real" life here must be. I think I disconnect from it because I'm just in missionary mode and don't view this as "real" all of the time. (If that makes any sense to you.) I can't even imagine what it would be like to grow up here. We are SO crazy spoiled in America in ways we never even realize (like having "big" driveways ha ha)

Lessons I learned on Saturday:

1) Everyone in Paris has an umbrella. I don't have any idea where they all came from. Saturday was a really nice sunny day and then a minute later, it was pouring! But everyone had an umbrella instantly. We saw all of these women who weren't even carrying purses, suddenly whip umbrellas out of no where! I don't understand how they all did that, but I was pretty impressed ha ha.

And 2) French people who don't have the "hidden umbrella magic trip" up their sleeves are terrified of the rain. Seriously, the second it started raining, the roads/sidewalks cleared. Everyone just stood under store awnings or huddled in the hallways of the metro next to the exits waiting for the rain to stop. No one was willing to move without an umbrella until the rain stopped. Ha ha ha The French are just funny some days. (Okay, so I guess lesson #1 is negated by #2. Not everyone had an umbrella, but...you get the point.)

My favorite moment of that day came after the rain had basically turned into a quite drizzle. We we on our way to a rendez-vous when we saw this little girl who was probably about two-years-old, in an adorable French rain coat, cute pink rain boots, holding a purple plaid umbrella, spinning, skipping, and twirling in the rain. She was SO cute! Sister Rowley and I would have both been more than happy to take her home as a souvenir. ;)

Paris is covered in flowers right now. I love it! I wish you could see it. We ended up with a weird situation on Friday and had Sister Reeves with us for the day. We had to leave the apartment pretty early and didn't get to do companion study before we picked her up at the train station. But we didn't have time to go back to the apartment and study before our shift volunteering at the Red Cross. So instead we had comp study in a park, near the Red Cross, surrounded by flowers. It was a good day.=)

Have an awesome week! I love you!