Friday, May 29, 2009


Give me a Texas Longhorn anyday. I love Texas Longhorns! Now, I like cows. In fact, a cow was my Dad's favorite animal when he was a little boy. I liked the cows in Idaho that were black and white and that UtMommy and her DH called the oreo cookie cows. They were lots of fun.

I like these brown and white cows.

And, I like these black and white cows that live not too far from our apt.

B-U-T, in Belgium there are the Belgian Blues. These cows are very muscular. As you can see in these photos, they have very little fat. If you are driving along the highways and byways and see a herd of Belgian Blues, your first thought is that there is a herd of huge pigs. Oh no, they're not pigs. What are they? Yes, they're cows. Now, I like pigs too. However, to me, these cows are the most unattractive breed of cow that I have ever seen. Sorry Belgium and whoever loves these cows. I just don't. I'll take that Texas Longhorn.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

District Meeting

We have district meeting with the missionaries once a week and it is usually very calm and serious. BUT, this week we were just cracking up. After our lesson, spiritual thought, discussion, etc, we did a role play. Everyone took turns "dressing up" as passengers on the metro and then we practiced contacting. Of course everyone had lots of real metro experiences that they shared. We laughed and laughed at how crazy we all looked, but we learned a few things too.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Mexican Buffet and Dance

Saturday evening we had the best Mexican themed soiree for the JA. We began at 5:00 with a great talk by Frere Pition, director of all the seminaries in France, southern Belgium, and Switzerland. He spoke about the First Vision and the Restoration. He did a great job. Then we had a yummy Mexican buffet. I made a huge pot of Taco Soup and ended up also making a huge pot of Chili (without the chili). Sound strange? Well, yes it was. One of the girls was supposed to make the chili, but she waited for the last moment to buy the ingredients. Then she couldn't find the chili and also ran out of time a -n- d had to go out to buy more ingredients at the last, last moment. She asked me to make the chili for her. I was happy to do it, but because by then, I was already at the church making other things, I had to make due with whatever I could find in that poorly stocked kitchen. Luckily for me, I was able to make it so tasty that noone even knew the difference. Ha Ha. They ate it and many commented on how yummy it was. In fact, I had soup and chili leftover, so I served it to the missionaries after church on Sunday and they all loved it too.:)
After everyone ate, we had music with a live DJ and a dance. The youth just had a ball. We had over 50 JA's in attendance. We had invited the Paris stake to join us and many did. The evening was a huge success. Bro. Boutoille, counselor in the stake pres., told us that he heard many wonderful comments as he milled around. One of them was that this was the best event they had ever been too. We are so excited and happy. We are trying to build the youth program and our numbers are few, so this was just awesome. DHand I cooked all day saturday and then got to the church before 3:00 to start cooking some more and getting ready. By midnight I was exhausted. My feet hurt and my back hurt. I even had to take some ibuprophen. I was really happy to go to bed that night.

DH and Frere Pition.

Our "cocktails" were orange juice, pineapple juice, grenadine, and sugared tops with a sllice or orange. Yummy!

A small sample of the food. The table ended up being just loaded with all kinds of tasty things.

A couple of funny little side stories: One of the girls took a piece of chocolate cake for herself and her boyfriend that someone else had brought in. The cake was not as good as they expected. "Oh!" she said, "We know Soeur Arhets didn't make this cake." Funny. Now I have this big reputation to live up to. I don't know if I can do it. I hope I can keep cooking things that they like.
At one point in the evening DH and I started to dance. Immediately all of the JA started whopping and clapping and taking pictures of us. It was really embarassing, but they loved that we were dancing. I do love the JA here. They are lots of fun.

Aurelie Coppins and her boyfriend. Aurelie is the girl who we went to watch dance at the big Spectacle Musical.

The fellow goofing around with the knife is Chester. He is a Parisian who recently returned from serving his mission in Utah(Spanish Speaking). During the dancing, he took about 1/2 hr. and taught everyone how to salsa. Everyone loved it. The boy next to him is Andrushka. He and his Mom moved here from Russia. His Mom has remarried and has a little girl now. Andrushka is almost 18, so he got to attend as a preview of events to come. In the background is Natacha. She is one of my favorite people here in France. She is studying at the university. Natacha is the nicest girl and smartest girls around. She speaks great English and is just awesome.

The fellow in the stripped shirt is Dan. He served a mission here in Lille and is here on an internship. He is studying pre-med at BYUnow.

Aurelie and Sophie are awesome girls. Sophie is an identical twin. The twins play the piano beautifully and they play the piano and lead the music for sacrament meeting. They also play beautiful classical music. Aurelie leads music also and has a lovely singing voice.

In the blue is Clemence, or maybe it's Sophie. I still can't tell the girls apart because they just turned 18 and this is their first activity with us.

This couple is not from the JA, but they came from some other city because they had some wrong info. and thought it was a family affair. They brought their whole family. She is from Mexico. We were happy they came and welcomed them. They had a good time.

Before the evening was over, Bro. B. called us into a private room and extended a calling to DH. He called him to be on the High Council. So now, one more thing to keep him even busier than he already is. He is happy to do it.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Grand Place, Brussels

On May 6th we visited The Grand Place, Brussels. This is the town center. It is very, very old and at one time was the market place. The starting of this market place began with commercial activity at the end of the 11th century. In Aug, 1695 during the war of the league of the Augsbourg's, many of the building were destroyed by the bombing of the French troups. They were reconstructed in stone by different corporations among which are the Maison de la brassieurs(beer brewers), Maison de la boulangers(bakers), Maison de la graissiers(grease makers), ebenistes(fine wood cabinetmakers), archers(archers), bateliers(boatmen), merciers(haberdashers), and quite a few others. Each building housed a different corporation. The buildings are just exquisite, with lots of fancy facades. Many of them are covered with fancy filagree, lots of carvings, sculptures, lots of "gingerbread", and lots of gold. It is considered to be one of the most beautiful town squares in the world. These pictures do not even come close to showing the beauty of these buildings. They are breathtaking.

The hall of justice.

These two photos are of the ruins of the original marketplace.

The streets leading to the Grand Place.

Lace shops near the town square. The lace works really are exquisite.

Lots of waffle stands on all of the small streets. DH and I shared a waffle with fresh strawberries
and whipped cream. And yes, belgian waffles are delicious!

Which one is the real statue?

There is a famous statue in Brussels called Mannekin-pis. Several legends are told about this statue. The most famous one tells of Duke Godfrey who in 1142 was battling other troops. His troops put the little 2yrs old boy into a basket and hung it in a tree to encourage the troops to fight. From the tree, the little boy urinated on the opposing troops who eventually lost the battle. Another legend tells of a merchant missing his little son. Afer summoning many to search for him, the boy was found relieving himself in the garden. The merchant was so grateful that he had a statue made to commemorate the event. Another 14th century legend tells of a little boy who was spying on attackers of his city. The attackers had put explosive charges around the city walls and the little boy put them out by peeing on them, thus saving the city. Another tells of a mother who was missing her son. He was finally found, urinating in a garden. This fountain is very little, only 2 feet tall, and is located on the corner of an obscure, little street. It is very famous and people come from all over to see this little statue.

Several blocks away is a busy street with lots of shops and restaurants. I found this pizza hut amusing because of the air conditioning sign. Very few places have air conditioning.

On the other side of the street.

Modern buildings next to old, old buildings everywhere in Brussels. These streets are all close to the Grand Place.

By the way, the real statue is the one on the right. The one on the left is a guy with make-up on who sits and stands motionless until he unexpectantly moves to startle someone.
If you click on the picture, other than the first one, you can see a lot of the details on the buildings and of the pictures.