What were your weeks like? What did the kids do this time? Christmas is coming and I hope everyone else is as enthused as I am!
So just this passed Wednesday I had a bit of a cross-country move, leaving Dunkerque and its wonderful people behind.
|Some of the awesome people I left behind in Dunkerque|
I'm now currently living in Vannes which is part of the Bretagne region of France. The people here are quite proud of their region. Like Texas-level pride sometimes. The city is generally much older than what I found in Dunkerque-- speaking of buildings that is. This is the first city where I've lived in France which was not entirely leveled during the war! The corner french fry shops have been replaced with crêpes stores. The weird Flemish things have been swapped for strange Bretagne things. People are generally stubborn but the coolness of facial hair has also skyrocketed. I think those two things are correlated. The days of public transportation have been replaced by a car! I'm still not used to getting in and out of cars so frequently.
|And here I am in Vannes|
The kindness of some of the people here in France continues to amaze me! I've had the pleasure of meeting Gary and Alain and someone named Phillipe.
1) Gary is an absurd English man. He has been here for 20 years and hasn't made the slightest effort to assimilate French culture. He's recessed even further into his British pride if anything! He doesn't have a drivers license so he drives a tiny little car that technically qualifies as a moped to loophole his way past the law... his loyalty lies with The Queen. He has the vocabulary of a surly British sailor but a heart of gold.
2) Alain looks like a wizard. Of everyone I've ever met he is the mostly likely to be a Druid. Behind the long white hair that should be covered with moss and twigs lies a nuclear scientist funnily enough. He invited over for lunch at his house after church on Sunday. For desert he offered us fruit, walnuts, and sprouts that he had germinated himself.
3) Phillipe is like Dwight from the tv show The Office. Except French-er.
The thought occurred to me today, after I had finished describing Gary and Alain and Phillipe I thought quickly of some of the other people that I have described in these emails, that someone might think that a mission consists only meeting cool and eccentric people while taking a two year break from school to do a bit of tourism. And while all three of those things happen, that isn't not at all what my mission here is about. The word mission always felt too dramatic but at this point, as I have come to better understand my convictions and understand just how much joy and peace they bring me, it is pretty darn accurate. I left and am currently on a mission because I have something that I want to share with others because I believe that it will help them and that it is intended for everyone. I'll let someone who is much smarter than me describe it:
Late one evening at the freshman orientation for the University of Wyoming (insert declaration of state pride here!) I found myself whiling away the wee hours of the morning talking with a dear friend named Rebecca Goodson. She even had good as part of her name and that described her pretty well too. As usual we talked and laughed about both everything and nothing. I will never tire of talking to this person. And one of the many subjects we touched on was my intention to leave for two years and do what I am currently doing. My friend asked me why I had never tried to share, or even explain what I had to share-- apparently a motivation so strong that it would soon be compelling me to leave for two years-- with her? Someone I cherished and wanted to help? And I probably gave some stupid response that I think she saw right through. That question burrowed its way down and gnawed at my soul. If it really meant that much to me, and she did too, why hadn't I? Rebecca told me that would be like having discovered the best cupcake recipe and keeping it all to myself. You can't steal the best cupcake recipe for yourself and hide it from the rest of the world. That just does everybody a disservice.
Why am I here and what do I want to do here? Rebecca said it best in my likely incorrect memory marred by time and bias. I now understand the cupcakes I have tasted, and they taste better than anything else I know, and I want to share them with others. And I have no right to keep them from people I should care about. And none of you do either! Whether you've found banana nut (typically a muffin flavor), or double chocolate, or vanilla, or birthday cake, or prune heath bar (gotta appeal to the older readers) you need to share that with others! And you get the opportunity to do so! It's not a grim order I'm giving you but an appeal to simply share the things you love with someone else. Sometimes this week. In a very specific way. Maybe you could actually make cupcakes. Or maybe you could go sing to the elderly. Or maybe you could sing to your best friend. Or maybe you need to tell someone about something. You've got to figure that out. If you look for it you will find the opportunity. Share some cupcakes with someone else.
I will see you all next week, hopefully with scorched hands from all the baking you've done!
With great affection,
Elder Alex Hacker