I got up at 2:30 am and reported to the travel office 45 minutes later, said goodbye to my district, and got on the bus for the train station. I was for some reason super nervous packing on Sunday night, but it went away the next day while traveling. From Provo we got taken to the train station which took us to a smaller train which took us to the airport. I had a croissant from a French café in Salt Lake Airport, which was fun :) Slept a bit on the flight to New York which was a miracle. The couple sitting next to me were members so we talked and there was another guy who was taking a trip to Germany where he had served and also to surprise his nephew there.
In New York I got to call ma famille using a dude's cell phone because I couldn't find a pay phone that worked. However, after that we were soon to be boarding so I couldn't find a single other American ("The Only American on the Flight to Paris." Would make a good movie.) and no one else's phones worked in the States, which meant no calling my dad at work :( Sorry Dad, I promise I love you too! In the airport for a while before boarding a Frenchman whom I had asked about borrowing a phone earlier came up and started talking to me. Apparently he recognized me either as a missionary or saw the Church's logo on my nametag (although it's in Chinese, soooo). He lives in Versailles, so he told me that he's noticed the Church building the Paris building super close to his house. We talked for a while mostly in French about what I do as a missionary and I tried to explain stuff about Jospeh Smith. His English was okay, but I wish I'd had a Livre de Mormon to give him. I think I'll refer him to missionaires in the Paris mission, he was super nice and very supportive of what I'm doing in France. He also warned me about things I might run into while teaching French people, really thoughtful of him.
About two hours after leaving New York I made up my mind and the verdict is this: always fly Air France. Not only are all the crew members speaking French to each other, they have a pre-meal drink cart with different options from the post-meal drink cart (various apératifs which doesn't even have a translation in English) which is super French and the meals are delicious, plus the seat pillows are decently comfy.
Through much prayer, I did in fact place a Book of Mormon to the woman sitting next to me as we were descending into Paris and I did in fact get through the airport in time to catch my flight to Lyon! It was a little close, but I made it. That last flight was super short, which was one of many good things about it. It was about half full of Africans (super cool), I was given a croissant (my first one in the field), and I saw the Eiffel Tower from the air (YESSS). When I landed in Lyon I prayed again and my luggage showed up like it has every time I've prayed for it to show up (prayer works!). I walked out and there was Président and Soeur Brown waiting for me with the assistants and Elder Szuch who is the 2nd cousin of Elder Peterson from my MTC district. I'll finish this story next week, but just know that I entered Suisse (Switzerland) my second day in the field after thinking I might never go at all.
This area is super nice but pretty warm right now. My trainer is Elder Pien who was actually called French-speaking which lakes me one of only 4 official Chinese Elders in the mission. However, since Elder Pien speaks Chinese he's an honorary Chinese Elder. The missionaires all speak English with each other because they say if you try to speak French 24/7 you'll go nuts and/or annoy everyone else. However, they throw a lot of French words in when they forget words like "pedestrian" (in French, pieton).
Hey, so this morning I sat at a bus stop literally right across the street from CERN which must make all my old science teachers jealous. Also apparently we get to go to the United Nations headquarters on preparation day! I think we're planning to do that in a few weeks.
I have to finish up, but I love you all! I can honestly say I haven't had those feelings like some missionaires that they just feel like the area and their trainer and all that is the perfect fit for them. I'm still adjusting to different everything, but I think I'll be just fine. I didn't need any more confimation after opening my call due to my language background thanks to the Lord guiding my life and I trust Président Brown to listen to the Spirit and assign me the right trainer and area.
The Lord has a plan for you and He will always help you when you ask for it! He might not give you what you want, but He will always always always give you what you need. Trust Him, He knows everything! Pray always! Read your scriptures! They'll help you feel so much more peace and preparation for challenge that comes along. Love your neighbor as yourself and always follow Christ's example and you can never go wrong.