Sunday, January 22, 2012

my church and sock puppets

Some of you have asked about what my church is like here. I took a few pictures back in December when we had a Christmas program with the kiddos.

We're in the process of building a new church (which should be ready by September 2012!!) and so for now, we meet at a "maison de quartier" which is a kind of community center that different groups can rent.

For you Emmas people, it reminds me a lot of when we met at Berean for church -- setting up and taking down chairs every Sunday, not having permanent rooms for Sunday School, etc. But for now, this is what works -- and it's not so bad, but it'll be really nice to get a brand new building of our own soon!

I love this church! It takes me about 30 minutes to get there -- walking, then metro, then walking. There are about 75 people that attend, and people from all over the world! Pretty cool.

My friend Simon and I lead the junior high kids. We meet once a month during the service, and it's definately a highlight for me. We started doing this last year -- we had 5 junior highers. This year there are 10 of them and it's a little harder to keep them in line. :)

For the children's program, our group was in charge of the puppets (you can see the white sheet in the above picture with the puppets sticking out).

Simon and I had to make 5 different sock puppets for the junior highers to operate. They turned out SO funny! They LOVED them and wanted to keep them. I thought they were hilarious and some of them looked like Jar Jar Binks. What with the wide set eyes and red tongues hanging out. :)

I'm really proud of these kids though -- we decided a year ago, as a group, that we wanted to sponsor a little boy in South America through Compassion International. So every month, they bring their money for Jon. It's cool to do something like that as a group. He even writes us letters in SPANISH that I get to translate and read out loud!

It was so fun to be able to show my family what my church was like at Christmas. Since Christmas fell on a Sunday it was perfect!

Have a great start to your week! I have an exciting week coming up, including going to three different cities and one other country! More info later!! What a cliffhanger! :)

Saturday, January 21, 2012

another Mom story

I was downloading some pictures from my camera today, and found this one that I had completely forgotten about! I love it!! :) It was the night we all went out for crepes. My Mom asked Ando if he could come and take a picture of all of the Dorsch women getting ready in my little bathroom! Thanks for the pic brother!

It seems like a LONG time ago that my family was here! Man oh man am I thankful for skype!

There are some exciting new things around my apartment!! I got a new piece of carpet / rug for my living room and it's soooooo nice! It's really soft and warm, and much bigger than my other one, so it ties the room together more.

There are also a few less things around my apartment... if you check out my Mom's blog, you'll see on the second picture in her latest post, that she has two beautifully framed pieces of art above the couch. Those once resided in MY living room. True story. My parents' last day in Rennes was a very memorable day. For us all!

It all started with the glorious discovery that even after everything was packed in their suitcases, they still had extra room and space. Now, any person who has traveled overseas knows that extra space and weight is very VALUABLE and must be filled. So My Mom decided to take a little jog around my house and see what she could find that would be useful to take back to Africa. She literally said those words. She is so funny! Oatmeal, coconut, toilet paper... Toilet paper is GREAT for packing! Anyway, so she's walking through my living room when her eyes landed on two framed African pictures on my wall.

Mom: "Oh Melissa, those would look so pretty on my walls! I really don't have anything on my walls and I need some art!"
Mel: But you GAVE me those prints as a gift a couple years ago!
Mom: Well, they were really just a loan. I originally bought them for me and then you liked them and so I thought I'd let you take them back to France for a while. Until I needed them.
Mel: What!?!? You gave me a gift on loan?? Alright fine...

I mean, what else can you say to that!? :) In all seriousness, I was very happy to give them to her. It gives me an excuse to make some other art for my walls. Hello pinterest!

Lest you get the impression that they were solely taking things while they were here -- it was quite the opposite. They were SO generous to me! For example, every time the coffee was running low, miraculously the next morning, there'd be a new package of it on the counter! That's speaking my love language!!

Another exciting and new thing around here is that I have two plants in bloom!! Crazy for January, right?

Excuse the low-quality photograph... I'll blame the lighting!

They are still very small, but what promises of beautiful things to come! AND in January! It will definitely help cheer up the gray, dreary and rainy January weather. 

It's overcast most days, all day long. How I miss seeing the sun! 

Saturday, January 14, 2012

the shoplifting story

My mom is awesome. I've said it before. But it's so true. She is so much fun to be around and keeps us all laughing and entertained. Christmas break was no different. While there are many stories I could share about "Mom's adventures in Rennes", there is one that really takes the cake.
It all started mid-afternoon on the 31st of December. Last day of the year. Andrew, Lindsay, Erika and I had been given the task of going down to the little store to buy some snacks and drinks for our family New Year's Party. While the 4 of us were going to the little store by my house, Mom and Dad were going to another, much bigger grocery store to look at some stuff to take back to Africa. The plan was to meet back at my apartment; however, Mom and Dad finished early and so came to the store to meet us.

Allow me to insert that the little store that I and my siblings went to, is the store I most frequent, and typically buy all of my groceries at. I recognize the cashiers, know where to find everything in the store, etc. Just because it's where I always go.

So, the 4 of us kids were finishing up when we saw our parents arrive. My Dad sat down to wait for us on a little bench just beyond the checkout counter, while Mom came in to talk to us. As she walked up to me, I noticed that the pockets of her fleece were zipped closed, but bulging.

"Mom, do you have stuff in your pockets?" I asked.
"Yes. I just bought a packet of cornmeal and since we forgot to take along a bag, I just put it in my pocket!" was her reply.
"Mom! You can't come into a grocery store, with food you've purchased at another grocery store, just zipped in your fleece pocket!"
"Oh, no one will notice it!" she assured me.

So we finished our shopping, checked out and then went to show Dad what we'd purchased for a rockin' New Year's party! :)

And this is where it starts getting good. So we're past the check out counter, but still in the store, and we started showing Dad all that we had purchased. That's when Mom unzips her fleece pocket, and puts the cornmeal package into the bag of already purchased stuff.

As an outsider, it really looks like shoplifting. I mean, here is this lady that obviously has something zipped in her pocket and as soon as she's past the checkout point, she unzips her pocket and puts the contents into the "paid-for-stuff-bag"!

We really didn't think anything of it, or really notice that she'd put her cornmeal in our bag, for that matter.

We started walking home, chit chatting about our plans for the evening, how we were going to keep Dad awake until midnight... when all of a sudden we hear someone yelling behind us "madame!!! stop stop!!! madame!!!!! heeyyyy stop!!!!" Turning around, we see the tall security guard, coat tails literally flapping behind him, running across the bridge and waving us down. "What could he possibly want!?" I thought.

He runs up to us and yells at Andrew to give him the bag so he can look inside. Immediately he pulls out the cornmeal and asks where my Mom got it. Oops. He was NOT happy. While Dad was getting out his receipt from the other grocery store that showed proof of purchase, and the time, and the date, I tried to explain what had happened to the guy. He didn't really care, and was not looking for an explanation. After seeing the receipt, and reluctantly admitting that we had indeed purchased the cornmeal, and not stolen it, he lectured us all about not walking into a store with items purchased elsewhere. He repeated it until he was convinced we understood.

Oh man. What an incident!! :) I will never forget the sight of this tall African security guard running and yelling at us from down the street! The tall security guard that I often see when I go to the grocery store... haha.

But oh how we teased our mama about being a shoplifter!!! :)

And then this week, I was checking out at the same grocery store, and lo and behold who should appear but the same security guy. So I smiled as innocently, kindly and non-creepily as I could, and watched his eyes as they moved down and scrutinized my bags. Haha. I guesss he hasn't quite forgotten!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

downtown Rennes with the pretty lights

The first night my family was here, we walked downtown to see the Christmas market and lights.

It was also the opportunity for everyone to try the traditional "galette saucisse". Andrew and Dad especially loved it.

Us girls were more fans of the nutella crepes...YUM YUM YUM.

Chestnuts roasting on an open fire... 

Hats, hats and more hats for sale

It's not a very big Christmas market compared to other cities in France, but I still find it pretty cute!

We walked by a macaroon and chocolate shop and while most of us browsed from the window, Dad walked right on in! :)
Everything you see in the window is made out of chocolate!

The pretty streets of Rennes

It was SO surreal having everyone here at the same time! It was a WONDERFUL feeling!

Mom snapped this picture of Dad and his 3 daughters walking home that night. A bit blurry... but what special memories!