I hope everyone had a wonderful, fulfilling Christmas filled with much joy, laughter, and festivities. Mine was full of fun and interesting experiences, because I got to have my first ever French Christmas. For the French people, Christmas Eve is actually more important than Christmas day itself. I spent Christmas Eve with the Kehl family, and got to be a part of the traditional Reveillon dinner. The Reveillon is a dinner comprising many courses. They typically begin eating it at 10pm and finish at 12 midnight on Christmas Day. Because we as missionaries still had a night curfew of 10pm, the Kehl family began their Reveillon at 8pm. Everyone in the family was dressed very formally in nice dresses, bowties and pressed shirts. Thankfully, it is our job to be in a tie all day, so we fit right in. We began the meal with the raw, high quality grade salmon, with lemon squeezed lightly over the top. Then came the best part of the meal – Les Escargos – Snails! It was my first time trying escargos, and to my surprise, I actually really loved it. No, it does not taste like chicken, it actually tastes a lot like mussels. The Escargos were baked in butter and garlic and it was absolutely delicious. Then came the main meal, where I was told was wild boar. We then had many different kinds of cheese, of which blue cheese happens to be my favorite. And we ended the 2 hour meal with chocolate tiramisu. By the time the meal was over, I was stuffed to the brim.
Well, the most exciting part of the night was when Frère Kehl sat us comfortably on the couches, and handed us an envelope each. He then told us to open the envelopes. On it had a picture of a wild boar with the caption : “So you think you ate wild boar?” … “You actually ate one of these!” was on the next page, with pictures of many strange animals – snake, sloth, hippopotamus, kangaroo, ostrich… Océane Kehl, their second daughter, looked at the picture of the snake and shrieked! She thought she had eaten a snake. It turned out that we had eaten Kangaroo for the main meal; That was a real surprise, but a delicious one too.
Christmas day was a beautiful one. This does not come often, but we were allowed to sleep in until whatever time we wanted. Thanks to my body clock, I still got up at 7:30am, only an hour past our usual reveiller time. We each bought one another presents, and I was graced with chocolates and an Iron Man figurine. We spent the day playing some board games, watching Tangled (because we are allowed to watch a Disney movie) and just having a good relaxing day. Later that night, I got to Skype with my family, who are now spread across 4 different countries – Mom in Samoa, Dad and brother, Darrin, in Singapore, and my sister, Andrea, and her husband in Provo, Utah and me, here in France. It was a joyous reunion though only over skype. But I am truly grateful for the technology that makes seeing our loved ones in different countries possible. Intelligence is a prized possession and the wisdom of how to use it is even greater.
My first Christmas day as a missionary was an amazing one. I hope yours was too. Pictures will come next week.
I love my work as a missionary, and as President Thomas S. Monson said, “The Spirit of Christmas is the spirit of Christ.” The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the only true on the earth today.