Friday, April 30, 2010

Home in the Holy Land

The Jerusalem Center! This building is beautiful, definitely the most beautiful place I'll ever live...unless my public relations/piano teacher dreams pay off more than expected (staying hopeful). Tonight we had a fireside where President Brown, the associate director of the center, told us about the long process of building the center. It's the third most expensive building the Church has built, on a piece of land they don't even technically own.


I thought the London Center gave me extreme stair-climbing skills, then I moved here. All we do is climb stairs. Wrong, all we do is eat. But getting to the Oasis to eat involves climbing a lot of stairs, so both can be true. The hallways to our apartments are in open air with no ceilings, so between the main building and my room I'm walking outside. The architect did that to give the center the feel of the Old City.

This is my view from my balcony, constant distraction. The architect's goal was to make the center look like it had always been here, and make it welcoming. It's a stark contrast to our neighbor, Hebrew University. The same architect designed both structures, but Hebrew University wanted to look like a fortress to look intimidating over East Jerusalem.

I'm so excited for the classes! Just not excited for the constant inner struggle of wanting to be out in the city when I have homework, or thinking about my homework when I'm out in the city. But it'll be worth it! My next post will be in Arabic.

Maybe.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Pictures Not Included

I know the 1000 words rule, but I have not taken one single picture in Jerusalem yet. I'm having too much fun to get my camera out of its case :) But I need to wish my mom a HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Love you mom!!

Reason I miss my mom:
  • When she makes me food, I always know what it is.

What I've learned in Jeruaslem:

  • It's ok to eat food and not know what it is. Sometimes it's good. Other times you can make it look like you ate more than you did.

Reason I miss my mom:

  • She understands my love for my baby blanket, and only judges me on days she feels like making fun of me. (I think she's actually glad I still love it, deep down.)

What I've learned in Jerusalem:

  • Probably better to make my bed with my baby blanket under my pillow. My roommates and I are quickly starting to love each other, but it's not necessary for me to involve certain details in the first impression stage.

Reason I miss my mom:

  • She makes me take drugs when I need them.

What I've learned in Jerusalem:

  • I should have taken drugs on the plane. Jet lag is alive and real, and it is not my friend.

Love you mom!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Relocation


Right now it is 72 degrees in Jerusalem. It's also 10 in the morning there. I may die of heat this summer, but I'm pretty sure I'll die happy. But really, I might die.

Cedar has been amazing all week, and yes, my bags are still empty. Don't worry, I'm almost to the actual packing stage of packing. Tomorrow is a 3-hour orientation meeting in Provo where I get to learn about rules, and then Tuesday I fly out! I'm getting really excited to go -- mostly just because now I get to change the time zone on the clock to the right of this post (and down a little.....). Sweet :)

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Separation

Dear Easter candy,

Thank you for being the best candy of the whole year...but it's time for me to move on. It's not you, it's me. I just never feel good anymore, and if I try and keep you around I'll just be distracted all the time.

I just think we need a break. Maybe by this time next year I'll feel better about things, and we can try again. In fact, I think there's a very good chance that will happen.

But for now, we need to be done. It causes me a lot of pain to say that -- but I also feel a lot of pain every time I buy another package of you. Our relationship is just unhealthy. I'm unhappy when you're here and I'm unhappy when you're not...we sound like a Taylor Swift song. I'm not comfortable with that.

I'll miss you,

Maddie

Happy Easter!

I love when Easter and conference cooperate! Makes for a good weekend. AND I loved being home for it all...last year the Easter Bunny had a hard time finding me in London. But Ali came!!

We had a memorable Easter Sunday -- Sacrament meeting in my ward so she could meet all the cute primary kids, Evensong service at St. Paul's Cathedral, a visit to the Tate Modern, and then a picnic in Regent's Park. We had a couple of rough moments during the service though, like when Ali thought the cushion you're supposed to kneel on was actually provided to make your chair more comfortable. She stopped sitting on it pretty quick after she looked around though.


I didn't get to laugh at her for too long. When we left I almost got ran over by the priest procession because I was standing on the stairs completely zoned out for a minute. She chose to watch it happen and laugh rather than tell me to move...this is me a few moments after the experience, looking a little ashamed. Luckily they walk slow so I got out of there pretty quick.


Mary Poppins stairs, woot! No birds, though.
Here's possibly the only video Ali took without trying to talk with an English accent. I wish you could take pictures inside the cathedral because I LOVE this place...next time.

video

Friday, April 2, 2010

Here Comes the Sun?


Oh the Festival of Colors. It's the closest thing to Woodstock BYU students will ever experience. The Hari Krishna people celebrate spring better than anyone I know! Which made me double-mad at the snow yesterday... once you've thrown chalk at friends/strangers to bring in spring, sunshine should be a done deal. It just makes sense.



I'm glad people take advantage of the especially fun aspects of other religions, but it kind of makes me wonder if mormons have anything like that -- something so fun that, religion aside, everyone wants to come for the experience. The best my roommates could come up with was stake dances. That was a sad realization.


There were llamas at the festival. And peacocks. And way too many people. The whole experience gave me a pleasant reminder of how much I loved the Hari Krishna people in Rome last year. They lightened up a particularly tense moment during our slightly stressful backpacking trip (it may have involved an inconsiderate pigeon, Ali's head, and every napkin we could find...but it might be too soon to bring that up with her so that's all the information I'm giving). A group of Hari Krishna dancers randomly showed up at the Pantheon and cheered us up because their songs are so easy to memorize. Bless them.


Now that the chalk has been thrown and spring is (supposedly) officially here, I am no longer wearing coats. I'm just not. I hope the weather cooperates.