It seems like a looooog time since I've communicated with everyone. I know it's only been a week, but missionary time is just weird. Actually, time seems to pass crazy fast here - and my days are completely filled, all day every day. I'm very happy - for so many reasons both obvious and inexplicable. I used to scoff at the unbridled adoration missionaries and return missionaries felt for their missions and for missionary work more generally, but I get it now. I can't explain it, really - but one of the biggest changes I've experienced since being a missionary is a new and perplexing capacity to love. It's weird. Really. For example, last Thursday, when we were singing off-tune french folk songs at the nursing home, and the darling old Frenchman next to me was serenading me between heavy, bloody coughs into his handkerchief, I almost fainted. Not because it was gross, but because it was so sweet. And I loved him so much, and I wanted to do something to help - but beyond bringing him water and helping him turn the pages, there wasn't much I could offer.
Ok. Other things: It's cold here already! Despite the autumn chill, we had a huge stake activity outside on Saturday. It was a run - all around the beautiful grounds surrounding the temple and stake center. Soeur Jean-Louis and I were charged with directing traffic, and runners. We cheered "Bravo!" and "Bon travail!" or "Bonne courage!" as the runners passed, but we soon realized that not all the runners were part of the race. And that some people in the race were actually walking. And that some people who were walking were just....walking in the park. But we couldn't tell who was who until after they passed (their numbers were pinned to the back of their shirts). So, we ended up cheering for everyone. And stopping traffic for everyone. And I think we made many people's day. And the trees here are already turning! The activity ended with a huge lunch of corn on the cob and apples picked from various members' trees. It was delightful!
So, we see a lot of people every week. It's great. Some are members, some are investigators, and some are less active members. One less-active member is named Carol. She's exactly like every little old Hungarian lady ever. Except she speaks French. She has rose colored hair, and only a few teeth. But her apartment looks like a doily - and she always greets us wearing a perfectly ironed, bright white cotton nightgown - with matching dainty capelet. It's adorable. We're trying to help her stop smoking (she's been a member forever), and she hasn't smoked since I got here! Carol loooooves missionaries, so she asks us to do things for her -- like pick up groceries. We can't always do it, but when we have time we do. She gives us her credit card and a list. Well, I am so happy when we can because it means we get to go to a beautiful Canadian grocery store. Oh! It's so pretty. And we're really too poor to shop there. But it just feels like Christmas. And they have so much good bread - and even more Liberté yogurt. It's a dream. And if I didn't love Carol before she introduced me to IGA (which I did), I do now.
In other news (or not really, because I feel like I only ever write about food and feelings), another member gave us a huge bag of perfect pears from their pear trees. They also made us pear juice. It was real good.
Soeur Tillemann ("Deeek? Deeech? Est-ce que Soeur Tillemann suffit?")