Thursday, April 23, 2009

Secret revealed, Kuekenhof, etc

Remember a while back I said there was a secret in the air. Well, it's a secret no more. This lovely couple, Emmanuel (we all call him Manu) and Anne-Louise got engaged. Manu is our Institute President and an awesome guy. He served a mission in Paris and is now studying graphic arts. He is a great artist, but more importantly a great young man. Anne-Louise is wonderful too. She is also studying art. Her Dad was the Patriarch here, but now he is too sick with Parkinson's. He is mostly bed-ridden. It's very sad. Anyway, Manu has been planning for quite a while to propose. Finally, he got up his courage and bought a very pretty ring. On the big day he bought 70 pots of daffodils (3 daffodils per pot) and put them all over her room. Then he had pictures of them from firsts date to today, which he put on the wall all along the stairway going to her room. When she got home, there was a note for her to follow the clues. As she arrived at her bedroom door, there was a sign on it that said to come in and look around. She stepped in and there were all the flowers. Before she had a chance to think, he popped out, got on his knee and proposed. You can imagine the excitement that followed. All of the JA are very excited for them. They will get married in the temple in early September and we will hopefully be able to attend with them. We are so excited for this young couple who set such a good example for others to follow.
We had to go to St. Omer again for more legality paperwork and I loved this door, so here it is for all to see. Right across the street from the Mayrie is this beautiful, old church.

Today we went to teach Gaston, a very handsome, retired military guy. He was very pleasant and we had a good visit. These pictures are from his living room. His house is actually quite small, but looks a bit like a museum. The bayonets were coupled on WWI rifles. The uniform is the Belgian army uniform which he happily told us he still fits into. Gaston still parachutes regularly and teaches young people how to parachute. As well, he teaches gymnastics.

Today we also went to Loos, France to teach a Russian lady, Larissa. It's so strange that I have come all the way to France and am teaching several Russian people. It is very pleasant and nostalgic for me to be able to talk to them, but kind of hard to teach the lessons because I don't know all of the ecclesiastical terminology. I'm getting lots better though because I now have a PMG in Russian. It is a great book and tells me everything I need to know. Who would have thought that I would be teaching anyone in Russian here in Belgium and France.
These pictures are the Mayrie in Loos.

We have also been teaching some Chinese boys who are here at the university studing information systems. They are getting their masters and probably continue on and get their doctrates. Ming, Yiprai, and ?(forgot his name) are quite interested in learning about the church, but know nothing about God or Jesus Christ. We have had to start teaching them from the very basics. These boys speak some English and some French, so our lessons are some English and some French.
We continue to work with the Bulgarians and I continue to translate for them. It is often french to english and then english to french. Yesterday we had to drive to Saint Andre where they live. We met up with their home teacher for whom I needed to translate.
The french have some interesting, endearing terminology. They will call someone they really care about, "mon petit chou" ( my little cabbage). They may also call someone, "Ma petite puce"
(my little louse). Yes, you've got it, louse as in one lice. There are others, but I don't remember right now.
We have a young guy who got baptized about a month ago. For some reason, he is just crazy about me. He waits for me to arrive at church and then he runs to the car to great me and to give me a hug. Of course, there is also the kiss. In France, upon greeting someone you give them a kiss on each cheek. Well, sometimes it's only one kiss, or sometimes it's 3 kisses, or even 4 kisses. One is never sure. We have been told that in Belgium it is 4, but other's tell us it is 3. Anyway, as Peter Mayle, author of Life in Provence, says just be prepared and follow the lead of the one you are greeting. So, Tony, my young friend, always give me 2 kisses and then he says, "J'adore Soeur Arhets". He is a nice guy and kind of funny. We were sitting at a baptism last Sunday, when he suddenly said, "Oh Soeur Arhets tu es ma petite puce." I just had to laugh at him. Tony works a McDonalds, otherwise known as McDo's. He is very proud of his job.
Tomorrow we are leaving for Brussels where we will spend the night and Sat. morning we are off to Kuekenhof in the Netherlands. We will be going with 2 other senior couples and meeting up with a fourth. This is the site of the world's largest flower garden. I am quite excited to be going to see the acres of tulips and the other beautiful flowers in Kuekenhof itself.
I wish I had a fancier camera now because although I love my little, pink camera and always get so many comments on it, I cannot take really good close ups. Now that I've become a picture taker, I want to develop my skills and take really good pictures. I think when we finish our mission here, I will want to take up photography as a hobby. I see some awesome pictures on others blogs and now I want to be like them.:)


nikko said...

A wedding! How exciting!

marcia@joyismygoal said...

What a beautiful Proposal and your Photography is so good

Yvonne said...

What a sweet proposal.

I want to know where you learned to speak Russian--I cannot remembering you posting about that, and I'm sorry if you did.

I always thought the "my little cabbage" was so cute, and i've never heard the other phrase. The world is so fun, eh?

Your photos are always lovely--maybe one day we could take a photography class together.

marcia@joyismygoal said...

Hi Natalie i always love your comments and yes it was Angela Lansbury and she was so gracious