Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Week 14 - **Insert Witty Title Here**

Previously on 'Ratatouille with Religious Themes and Less Rodents': Elder Hacker failed to send out a weekly email for Week 13 and apologizes profusely.  Now onto week 14....

Salut tout le monde! I hope everyone is doing well.

I had my first French haircut this week! It's like a normal haircut but smells faintly of wine :-)  The haircut industry in Caen is something fascinating actually. I haven't seen all of France yet so I can't speak for the rest of it, but here, the number of coiffures is insanely high. There are multiple on our street. With so many they really have to do something to set themselves apart, enter: A coiffure for MEN ONLY with a bunch of nautical themed stuff, A brilliantly pink coiffure where the cheapest haircut is 30 euros, a space themed one, one that had a Hindu theme, and my favorites: the 6 different coiffures who all claim to be the BEST AFRO COIFFURE. I've started taking photos of the best ones. Anyways, I don't actually have the vocabulary for haircuts and I realized this only as I found myself staring down a pair of scissors wielded by a friendly blonde coiffeuse. Describing what I wanted involved many hand gestures. In the end we left with two "fresh do's" as the kids say these days, and a meeting scheduled with the father of the husband of the lady who cut our hair. To meet up and talk theology and whatnot.

My companion getting a haircut.

Speaking of industries that are way bigger here than back in ol' Wyoming, they are many, many florists. And many, many grocery stores. There are a few super market equivalents scattered throughout the town, but all over the place there are butchers, bakers, fish sellers, fruit and produce vendors, cheese makers, and dairy stores. No candle stick makers yet. In the seedier parts of town there are the failed remnants of many of these buildings too. The abandoned and graffitied remains of a bygone florist or baker are scattered about. It's kinda sad to see them.

Wednesday was a day of illness. My companion had some minor leprosy or something and spent the majority of the day sleeping. I was confined to the apartment for the whole day and didn't really know what to do with myself. I made an omelette. I spent some extra time studying scriptures. I did some laundry as well. Then I sifted through records of people the missionaries before me had taught in the past or people the missionaries had gotten phone numbers from. I will note that there was some lazy recording keeping in years past. Calling a phone number knowing nothing but a name and the fact that at some point, who knows how long ago, this person had given their number to the missionaries is not very fruitful or fun. You never know what language the person speaks until after they answer too. And trying not to butcher the pronunciation of names was a challenge. An hour or so later I had somehow fumbled through a few successful phone calls and scheduled a few rendez-vous's.

I've been feeling a little ill too. Some deep mucus. It probably makes my French sound slightly better though.Tomorrow I've got a Paris trip! We have to go there for a medical exam of sorts. So we can stay here in France. It'll take the whole day really. And we will have some training activities too. It will be a nice break from the activity here in Caen.
We ported in Finland!  People were friendly but not too interested, unfortunately.

Part of me wonders: why would people read this [email/blog]? The emails and ramblings of a youth who has of his own enthusiastic accord abandoned his loved ones to throw himself into a foreign land where he can't communicate well yet? What's there to be gained from reading this? I know what I get out of writing it. I get a chance to communicate with all those beloved people far away. I get a chance to record thoughts and ideas and observations. It's therapeutic and stress reducing and fun. I hope that something I write influences or affects someone who reads it. Etc... Though what do you get out of reading it? You all get to vicariously visit a little bit of France? You get to see how young Elder Hacker is doing? I hope. hope. hope. that at the very least it causes a few smiles here and there. Thank you to those who do read! I am not sure if I write for you or myself, hopefully both!

So today, I'd like to encourage everybody to make a phone call. Call someone who you haven't talked to in a while, someone you know who's having a hard time, someone you probably wouldn't usually call but will do so at the encouragement of some random 20 year old fool in France. We're a social, loving people. People need to be encouraged. People need to feel love. People need to be supported. Even grumpy old people who already know everything. Even parents who have to pretend to have no weaknesses in front of their kids. Kids themselves. Which really includes all of us. We have this incredible ability to communicate, even more so incredible with all the technology of the day. We have a beautiful capacity to help, inspire, uplift, by vibrating gross cords in the back of our throats. So go call someone today. Share an uplifting spiritual message. Ask them how there doing. Express love and gratitude. On my mission talking to people who lack hope and faith and confidence, there are few things more powerful than the comfort and support and help of a friend. And as I invite people to find a friend in Jesus Christ, I invite you to go be someone else's friend.

And thus ends this weeks adventures. Will our heroes overcome the forces of evil? Will they give into despair? Will they ever learn to actually speak French? Who really was behind the murder? Tune in next week for the exciting conclusion.

With love and many weaknesses,

Elder Alex Hacker

Discover something new.

Yes, it's me at the beach/ocean. (Not the famous beaches at Normandy, though.)

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