Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Bienvenue à Béziers! Welcome to Beziers!

Salut !
Holy cow, crazy week ! First off, we got transfer calls on Friday! I'm currently writing this from our wonderful little chapel here in Béziers! It's in the south of France, right next to the Mediterranean Sea. The south is so crazy! It's really really hot and humid, and the accent is not at all what I'm used to. Imagine moving from Washington down to somewhere sketchy in Southern California. That's pretty much what happened. I love it so much though! I really miss Dijon, but I'm so excited to see what the Lord has planned for me here in Béziers! 

I'll run over everything that happened real quick:
This week was filled with awesome rendezvous with members and some pretty cool miracles. We went to Besançon for one last exchange with Elder Moss (he's officially finished his mission!) which was a blast. 
I gave a talk Sunday (first one totally in French) with the subject "j'irai où tu veux" (I'll go where you want me to go), which was especially appropriate considering our transfer calls had been that Friday! Anywho, after church I had to say goodbye to all of the Dijon members I love so much. So very grateful for everything they've taught me the last six months. I'll love them forever :) I love my bleuville! 

Monday morning I drove myself and Elder Moss with all of our bags to Lyon, where I dropped him off and picked up Elder Trapani (awesome Italian guy who I think I've mentioned in past emails? He was moving from Renens, Switzerland to Limoges, France) and we drove three hours to Montpellier. It was crazy to see the landscape change as we went further south! And so nice to see the sea! In Montpellier we gave the car to some other elders (Au revoir, ma belle voiture. Six months and over 17,000 kilometers...) and I met my new comp, Elder Shirley ! We served right next to each other when he was in Besançon, so we're actually really good friends already - so excited to serve with him!

Anywho, we took a train from Montpellier to Béziers, and I had my first real encounter with a southerner! This shirtless drunk man started yelling at us in French to stop speaking American and start speaking French "ou Arab. C'est meilleur." He was too out of it to be a real problem and he definitely wasn't the first person to shout at me on the mish. Best part was when we were trying to get all my bags off the train. This nice lady, who'd been trying not to laugh the whole time he was shouting at us, smiles and says "bienvenue quand même," and laughs and gets off the train. Bienvenue à Béziers ! 

Besides the heat and the insane accent (example:
-English: Do you want some bread? 
No thank you, it's good
-Normal French: Vous voulez du pain ? 
No merci, c'est bien
-Southern French: Vous voulez du PANG ? 
No merci, c'est BEEANG) 
, I love this place. The apartment is nice, the city is beautiful, Elder Shirley is the greatest, and we have a senior couple here who we work with (Elder and Sister Klemasz. They're Australian.) Right now is "La Feria," a Spanish-influenced fair with bull fights, dancing and parties. All things we can't go to as missionaries. It started on Thursday, ends tonight, goes til like 4 am every morning, and means we are advised to stay out of centre-ville due to large crowds and large amounts of alcohol, so I've been mostly unpacking and stuff. I haven't met any amis yet and only one member, but I've heard lots of good things and I'm super excited to see what the Lord has planned for me here! 

Okay, I think that's everything for now! 
Love you guys! 
Gros bisous ! 
Elder Suisse 

Zone Conference two weeks ago
Me and the crew (Elder Moss, Elder trapani and Soeur Yee On- My favorite people!) 
An insanely expensive watch
Our "How to use Facebook" fireside 
Me with the Nizets
One last pic with Poe and Tatiana 
La Famille Serrano 
La Famille Casagrande 
Pics part 2:
Frere Bassi
Me and Trapani - Road trip
Palm trees - We're not in Dijon anymore
The sea
A cool mall
La Famille Gaillard
Our new chapel - a remodeled home

Monday, August 7, 2017

Zone Conference and S'mores!

This week was pretty great! I remembered to bring my journal with me today, so I should be able to remember a few things this week! 
First off, I love Dijon! It's starting to sink in that transfer calls are this Friday, and I'll probably be leaving my wonderful bleu-ville! I just love the members here so much, and the ville is beautiful, and it's just so awesome! But I'm also super excited to see some more of France or Switzerland, and meet some new people, so it's chill. 
Highlights of this week included:
Two awesome rendezvous with our new ami, Katinia. She's the almost-nine-year-old daughter of a less-active Samoan family, and we're hoping her progression has a good effect on them! Every time we teach a lesson, her job is to teach it to her family for family night, and it's honestly the awesomest thing! We also had a great rendezvous with our other new ami, Gloire! He's from the Congo and speaks French and Lingala (idk how to spell it), and he's super chill. Hopefully he keeps progressing this week. 
We ate s'mores on Tuesday with a family in our ward. I have not been able to find marshmallows ANYWHERE, but apparently Haribo makes them, so that was good to know. Not exactly the same as the U.S., but a good effort and a nice reminder of home. Speaking of food, I decided I wanted to eat healthier (I'm worried that all the cheese and chocolate will start adding up), so today when we were shopping, I bought a bunch of fruits and stuff, and I was going to buy cucumbers and stuff, but guess what?! Ranch dressing is not a thing here! So that was a big disappointment. On the bright side, pistachios are super cheap, so that was nice to find out. 
We've had pretty crazy weather this week. It's either like 40° C and humid and awful, or it's pouring rain and lightning, so that's been cool. I'm still counting my blessings that I got to serve up north during the summer!
On Friday we had zone conference! Always so much fun! President brought this giant sword for part of his presentation on how Facebook will be a double-edged weapon, helpful but potentially dangerous, so that was interesting. We also got to hear the departing testimonies from three of our awesome missionaries, including Elder Moss, who's been in Besançon since I entered the mission. I literally love our zone so much! Everyone is so great! Go Lausanne! 
Today we decided to do the full official tour of Dijon for my possibly last p-day here. We stopped in a couple of museums and got very sunburned walking around. I'm gonna miss this place, but I'm excited :)
Spiritual thought this week comes from some thoughts shared by our awesome members this fast and testimony meeting. First off was a couple with a daughter out on a mission who talked about missionary work and how they are happy to make the sacrifice of not having their child with them for a while, because they've seen the joy that the gospel brings to their life, and know it has to be shared. Then an older sister gave an awesome testimony about the Atonement. She made the observation that, as hard as the physical pain involved was, the mental and emotional agony had to have been worse. A perfect Being willingly took sin, something totally opposite to everything he was, upon himself for us. So grateful for Him and everything He's done for me. I get to live with my family forever, and all it takes is my best effort, as imperfect as that is. I love this gospel you guys. We are so blessed! Love you all, thank you for your prayers and keep being great!

Je vous aime!
Elder Suisse

A cow in one of the paintings at the museum. Couldn't resist taking a picture.
Awesome sunset in Besançon
Cool buildings in centre ville
Giant swords in one of the museums. Literally taller than me.
More cool buildings. Dijon might not have an ocean, or mountains, or any cool hikes, or even a Burger King, but we have a lot of cool buildings.