Monday, April 29, 2013

On Winning Over the Bus Driver

We learned the secret to contacting this week. It is walking around with a cake. We had people stopping US to talk. Unless you've ever contacted in France you really have no idea how monumental a thing that is--usually we say bonjour, and they put up their hand and walk away. If we get past "bonjour" to say we have a message about Jesus Christ, they usually start laughing actually. Which I find totally delightful, and totally weird. And then they walk away. I'm still working on figuring this one out. At any rate, the cake was surprisingly MAGICAL. At one point, a bus driver actually pulled over in an intersection (I kid you not), opened the doors, and asked if he could have some. Winning hearts one baked good at a time.

Also I ate an old potato this week and threw up all night. (But alas did not get to see Jacob Marley.)
And I bought 4 baguettes from the corner bakery shop for our district meeting tomorrow, for which we'll wake up while it's still dark outside, walk to the train station, take a train to Pau, and meet with the other missionaries on this side of France.
(Baguettes? Corner bakery? Train stations? Is this real life?)

Also, I bought a yoga mat today for 3 euros and a jump rope for 7 (memories of 4th grade when the Drzayich boys won every jump rope competition in our elementary school) and I seriously couldn't be happier with these purchases. The simple joys of being a missionary.
Surprisingly, I got really homesick on Sunday. I'm gonna blame the fact that I hadn't slept the night before (courtesy of the potato) and hadn't eaten that day (courtesy of the food poisoning the potato gave me)--althought probably more what I should blame is a selfish, centro-seeking attitude. So I learned a few things about what to do in times of homesickness, loneliness, or fear COLON (can't find the colon on this dumb keyboard) VOILA found it:
1. The character of Christ is that when bad things happen, when he was hungry, when he was lonely, when he was in pain, what did he do? He looked around for someone else to comfort, to heal, or to uplift. Search the scriptures for these moments. They're all over the place.

I've heard it said that the best way to stop being depressed is to look around and find someone you can help. I've always had a hard time with this, because I mean...old ladies crossing crosswalks and neighbors with no oven and hence no ability to cook dinner can be hard to come by. Well this week I learned a little better what that means, this "helping" someone else. It means to make them smile! To make them feel needed, to be the first to say hello, the first to call and ask how they are doing, the first to reach out to hug them. It means helping people see their true nature, by saying kind things. It means helping people acheive a little more of the dreams they have for their lives. These things are easy.
2. And along with that, I'm learning what it means to be a good companion. Every week we have "companion inventory," as it's called, where we talk about each other's strengths and "how we could each improve." I'm just going to say it: companionship inventory is the LIVING WORST. Mostly because I spend the whole hour before worrying about which of my faults they're going to have honed in on this week. Bleh. (It should be noted, my companions are always super nice and have never yet said anything that was remotely hurtful, thank heavens.) Anyways, so this week instead of asking what I can do to improve, I asked how I can be a better companion to Soeur Pfost. Because let's face it, I'm all too aware of what I can do to improve, and I will tell you, there are beaucoup de beaucoup (a really lot) of ways. But that's not really what I want to know from her. I want to know what she'd like me to do to support her better. Maybe that's running faster in the mornings (Have I mentioned yet how she literally runs circles around me in the mornings? And yes, when I say literally, I do not mean figuratively. Learn the difference, world. Winky face. But seriously.), or maybe that means smiling more, or reminding her to bring her badge in the mornings, or I don't know what. But that's the point: the laundry list is looong of things I can do to be a better Carolyn, and I know most of those things, and am already neck-deep trying to get them taken care of. But what can I do to be a better companion? Now that's information I need.
3. And on that note about being supportive, I had the realization (most likely mid-grumble in my mind when my companion wanted to do something I didn't really want to) that being supportive means working with, not against someone. It means taking their goals and desires as your own and trying to do everything in your power to get that thing to happen! Yes, these are elementary school lessons. Yes I am still learning. But isn't that a beautiful thing: that life is long and our natures can change.
In other news, I graduated this week. I think. I bought a celebratory religieuse at the patisserie shop today. Google that. It is a round chocolate eclair with cold chocolate mousse inside and thick chocolate glaze on the top, a dollop of chantilly (whipped cream, but chatilly is such a pretty word and I will heretofore use only it without the translation so remember), then a baby chocolate eclair on the tip top. Sorry that all I want to do is talk about food. I love it okay.
And on the note of things I love, here are some things I don't love:

forgetting my train ticket one day.

forgetting my missionary name badge another day.
Yeah, I'm still learning how to be a missionary.

PS: JM Dreher, email me so I can email you.

carolyn.carter [AT]

1 comment:

  1. It's funny; the things that you don't love are the things that I love. They make life so full!