Monday, June 10, 2013

This time, on the District...

Stories from the week...

So every now and then we'll try to talk to someone on the street and they'll respond, "I don't speak English." And we say, "Yeah, I was speaking in FRENCH!" Hahaha, oh to be able to speak French like a French person and not like an Amerrrican. Someday perhaps. The worst though is when they try to speak English to us, because without fail, I can never understand a word they are saying. Gives me empathy for all the people who so kindly let us practice our French with them everyday.

I'm also convinced one of our purposes as missionaries here is to serve the people of France by decreasing the number of annual lung cancer deaths. Every time we talk to someone who is smoking (and a lot a lot of people are), they'll kindly not smoke long enough to have the conversation with us, and typically by the time the conversation's over, the cigarette has burnt out too. Success. One cigarette-wasting conversation at a time, we are going to eradicate lung cancer in the Pays Basque.

And my favorite stranger moment this week was on Saturday, when it was pouring rain (we're talking more rain that air in the air. Found out the hard way that my umbrella has holes in it) and we decided at 7 pm to go talk to people in the centreville (the little city center of the village). We talked to five very boisterous boys (one of which was in a full-body chicken costume), an old, tall Jewish man who showed us his star of David tattoo on his shoulder, and to a kid in his twenties who was so friendly and happy to stop and talk, until we asked is he'd like to learn more about Jesus Christ, and he leapt backwards (not kidding) and said, "AH! Pas ca!" ("AH! Not that!") and walked away really quickly. This made us laugh really hard. Oh how I wish we could speak French well enough to have conversations with people that actually help them instead of scaring them.

And speaking of language, the French continue to love theirs. We were reading with a family this week, and the 8 year old girl pronounced the end of a word too much and the mother made her go back and reread it, explaining to her that if she pronounced that part too strongly, "it's not pretty." I mean, I heard that this would happen--that the general rule of pronunciation is whatever sounds the prettiness, but to actually see it in action? Priceless.

One night we were walking home and came upon an old lady with white white hair in a French bob, pinned back with a periwinkle bobby pin. She was carrying four HUGE grocery bags, and was sorta walking, mostly just standing looking around. We offered to help her, and so we each took some bags and WOW they were heavy! I don't know how she was planning to carry them on her own; Slowly I guess. Well in truth it was "slowly" even with our help! She'd stop every 2 steps (really) to ask a question about the United States, or to ask with a really confused look on her face why we ere helping her and how much she could pay us. And well I guess she didn't want to walk and talk at the same time, so there we were, two missionaries and a little old hunched over lady carrying these enormous bags down the middle of a road flanked by restaurants. Everyone was watching us, I'm sure really confused as to what was going on. It was a delight. Her name is Annie.
The photos:

Birthday Strawberry Tart
Soeur Witt and I in Lourdes for preparation day
a view of Lourdes from the chateau fort

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