Subject: Besancon Week 1
To: Melissa Davis <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Hello everyone you'll be happy to know that I made it safely to Besançon safely. It was quite the trip. I did an hour to Perigueux, and hour and a half to Bordeaux, four hours to Montpillier, stayed the night, two hours to Lyon, one hour to Dijon, and one more to Besançon. Lots and lots of trains. I have come out of it realizing something, Missionaries don't need a lot of the things on that list because missionaries before them have left them and I too will end up being one of those missionaries as well. As for the hair cut it turned out great. I would have had a strange looking pony tail in the back if I didn't have a companion to make sure I did ok. That's why you go two by two...for one to make sure the other dosen't look stupid. I think I missed the beginning of Survivor however I'm sure that Cochran is doing something fun with all that money. The problem with all those kids thinking that when I get back is that I'll be 21 and probably have to find someone a tad closer to my age and convince them that I'm that handsome returned missionary. As for Besançon I absolutely love it already. It reminds me so much of home (the scenery anyways, I don't know where there's any real French styled houses in Eugene) because there's hills that look exactly the same all around us with a big river running through that would be so great to go kayaking down. My new address is:
34 Rue Gabriel Plançon
We are on the fourth floor so i'll be trimmed in no time. The change of scenery during the train ride was interesting, it went from vinyard after vinyard after vinyard to feilds of golden flowers (I want to guess mustard plants as we are very close to Dijon). I really love France. Some of the people who have been here longer complain about things they miss from America sometimes (Taco Bell, Walmart, Little Ceaser's, clean roads, etc.) but those haven't hit me yet. Granted those things are great and there are times, when I'm hungry especially, when I miss them too but as of right now I absolutely love France. The people here are different than Americans in a way that intrigues me. The way that they think is different and so going from learning about different cultures to being in a different culture is something that I am loving every day and will continue to love it. When I talk to people about them as a person and see that they realize that I'm genuenely interested in them is absolutely fantastic. Oh which reminds me, Mommy I thought of why conversation does not equal fluency, French conversations consist of you asking what they like to do, give these coals a little poke here and there and then stand back as all of a sudden the fire roars to life and they just talk about themselves. You add in an "uh-huh" "oh wow" or even "qu'est-ce que c'est?" and they take care of all the rest of that conversation. It's perfect to get better at comprehension and getting over an aprehension of talking to people. There's a cool story in the mission news letter this week, I'm going to copy it here:
A truly remarkable person.
There was once a person who found themselves in circumstances of helplessness. They were too weak to stand up or feed themselves or even take care of their own sanitary needs. Another person who was filled with unexplainable love and kindness took the responsibility of caring for this person.
They brought them food that had been reduced to a liquid since they could not chew. They put it in their mouth and literally kept them alive. They spent all day and all night every day caring for them and talking to them and singing to them and resolving their sanitary issues. They taught them and encouraged them and did what they could to help them become happy and healthy.
This went on for weeks and then months and to some degree, for many years. The level of dedication and sacrifice was beyond any reasonable explanation. They often needed to tend to them in the middle of the night and they were forced to forgo most of their personal desires and dreams in order to keep them alive and progressing until they could care for themselves. They were not paid. They were not even thanked for a number of years because they were too weak to express themselves.
Finally, many years later, through the selfless, miraculous care given, they became strong and capable and filled with ability, hope and happiness. The caretaker was not perfect by any means but they were literally a savior to them. They never forgot the caretaker although they were some distance apart and busy. They knew it was not an adequate showing of gratitude for the priceless sacrifice offered but nevertheless, one time per year they Skyped and expressed their appreciation to
Hopefully we will all express gratitude more frequently to our mother while we can, not because she is perfect rather, because she is our mother. Hopefully we will all show constant gratitude by using all that our mothers helped us to become in following the Savior and vigorously serving our fellow man.
Mothers are human beings who perform an inhuman service.
Thank you Mothers, thank you!
That story I thought was really neat and so I'll end this by saying I love you all and can't wait to hear what the other side of the world is up to.