Friday, January 3, 2014

"The only things that have changed in a year are that Ben's voice is lower and Liv's seems to have gotten higher." 12/30/13

Bonjour Ma Famille,

Christmas Eve Christmas Jammies! 
How are you?  I hope that you all had the most wonderful Christmas, I definitely had a great one.  And, despite the fact that I was on the other side of the world as a missionary, I didn't sleep on Christmas Eve.  I think this might be a lifelong plague.  Oh well.  Christmas here was lovely, thanks for all of the thoughtful gifts and for the great hour that we got to spend chatting.  Basically, the only things that have changed in a year are that Ben's voice is lower and  Liv's seems to have gotten higher (both of which were to my delight).

It was crazy to spend the holiday in France, I finally can say that I have tasted the creepy French delicacies (which they all save for Christmas).  Now on to the menu... (dish, translation, verdict)

Salty black licorice...supposedly candy (okay, not French, but courtesy of my Swedish companion)...nasty.

Caviar...little fishy eggs smothered on dry bread...not absolutely dreadful, but the texture killed it for me.

Escargot...snail...actually, surprisingly so good.  It's a little different but I totally liked it and ate tons of them.  Now I feel like a true French missionary.  The members were impressed because they said the elders could never get them down.  Win.

Foie gras...literal translation- "liver grease", basically they overfeed a duck until its liver explodes and then they eat it on was swallowed so quickly that I never really got to the taste.  The thought of it killed me.

Cuisses de grenouille...frog legs...isn't bad, it tastes like chicken.  But, it's ridiculous because there is so little meat and you have to eat around tons of tiny bones and creepy frog feet.

Other than that, the food was fairly normal--turkey/pork, vegetables, bread.  Oh, some of the members accidently bought the cake with rum in it.  That was awkward.  It did taste a little strange.  Voila, your typical French Christmas.  Oh, for trivia-sake, the French general eat some type of shellfish for the holidays too.  But, I was spared (already more than took care of that obligation in Nice).

Last funny sidenote, we were allowed to watch a Disney movie with members on Christmas.  We watched "Ice Age", so perfect, it made me think of Dad.  But, I have to say, Syd the sloth is REALLY hard to understand when he is speaking French.  Haha, I can imagine there was a lot of spit involved in that voiceover.

We spent some wonderful time with members this week and really felt of the Christmas spirit.  Besides dining with members, we were able to do service as well.

Cool experience-- So was Christmas morning, and I was settling down to open my packages after my nearly sleepless night (a little pathetic, I know).  Before opening anything, I had a cute nostalgic moment. I pictured our family all sitting aroung ready to open gifts and remembered my Dad's annual little phrase/message.  Before opening any gifts, he has always given us a couple minutes to think about and reflect on the service that we've given--often referring to "Sub for Santa" things or other projects that we have done during the season.  We always get so excited as we think about the joy that we have brought others.  Those few moments placed before the highly anticipated opening of gifts has always infused the meaning of the holiday into our Christmas mornings.  We feel gratitude and love for the Savior.  It was a tender mercy that this memory, that I had never given much thought to, came to me that morning. It brought a tear to my eye as I thought of all of the incredible people that I have worked diligently to serve this year.  As my mind flashed back and forth through all of their faces, I was overwhelmed with love and gratitude.  What a wonderful opportunity that I have to give the gift of service to my Savior.

I love being a missionary and I love you all!

Je vous aime,
Soeur Alisa Hulme
Aaaahhhh, beautiful!

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