Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Cramming? Maybe.


Ask me anything about the Islamic months. Or jihad. Or the partitioning plans of the Middle East. Or how to solve the Arab-Israeli conflict. Or how good me and Allison are getting at fussball because of our frequent (and almost deserved) study breaks.

Just don't ask me how many hours I'm sleeping these days. I think my nights can be classified as naps.

See you next week, Galilee.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Biblical(?) Zoo!

Hebrew letters, OON? That's what we thought at first too. But just tilt a little to the left and then you'll understand....Zoo! Ok, you still won't understand the Hebrew part, but I can't help you there. I never pass up a day at the zoo, even though I'm still a little scarred from being licked by a giraffe at a young age. And semi-attacked by a large cockatoo the same day. Ok, not attacked, but I did not enjoy having to feed it in the bird show because it liked my hand better than the food that was in it.
Penguins are my main motivation behind zoo trips. The second I got in the park I found them on the map, and then felt instant joy when I saw this sign. Amanda and Katie love them just as much as I do (or so they claimed), so it was fun to finally share my excitment and pure joy that my little flightless friends give me.

We found out the penguins eat lunch at 12:00, so we toured the rest of the zoo first. They had an actual-size Noah's Ark there (ok not totally actual), so we went on two-by-two. Then everyone yelled at me and Jillian for ruining God's plan by being two female elephants. Zoos kind of smell funny, so I can only imagine what the ark was like. I've always felt a special connection to Noah since my primary days when my notorious problem of getting song lyrics wrong started out strong ("Who built the Ark? No one! No one! Who built the ark? No one, No one built the ark!). My dear brother still sings that to me once in a while.

This one's for you, Jac! I love that elephants don't forget anything. Except I'm not sure I would want that gift.
Definite connection.

Penguins!!! I even saved my lunch to eat with them. Usually I'm hungry by 10 a.m., which is kind of a problem, but a lunch date with penguins was more than enough incentive to hold out. I LOVE these guys! There was a lady there who has randomly traveled the world to see penguins, so she taught me and Katie all sorts of great stuff. Like...the striped guys, those are the boys. Solids, girls. And they only eat fish that are alive, not dead. And they only love one other penguin their whole life. I could go on, but then I'd miss them too much.
We stayed with them for about 30 minutes, then I could tell I needed to pry myself away. I would have been happy there all day though, no lie.

I made fun of the sign by this statue ("Warning: this statue becomes very hot during hours of the day when the sun shines directly on it, please be careful). I thought that was a little unnecessary. Then we took this picture and I hopped on the bear with no hesitation...you can't tell, but I'm in pain. The sign is not lying. And they put it up because they know people like me will still get burned. Feel bad for my hands.

And feel bad for these guys...or maybe they're just tired? Either way, I wanted to hold the little guy and tell him everything would be ok.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Under the Sea

Our wonderful Out-of-Center Activities Committee (I love the random jobs here) planned a trip to Eilat for some Red Sea snorkeling. I don't have a great relationship with water, but I wanted to see a real life Dory. My dear roommate Allison was very patient and taught me all the ropes of snorkeling. It did not come naturally...but we were successful.
My love for weird signs is only getting stronger here. This one says no diving gear in the shower, but I felt like the picture was just telling me I wasn't allowed to spear fish. This wasn't a problem because I only tried to catch them Mulan-style, trapping them with one swift grab. That game ended the second I found out that the fish actually didn't mind contact with me. I was kind of ok with it if I touched the fish, but once they started touching me it was a whole different story.

I think a big part of my snorkleing abilities came from the fact that you can't sink in the Red Sea even if you tried to. The salt does way more work than you do. We saw fish of pretty much every color, and I saw one that was so long and skinny that I'm convinced it was an eel. A friendly one though, because no one got electrocuted. Made me think of Princess Bride. Some people even saw an octopus! And some people split their foot open disgustingly deep. Ok, actually just Lisa. And now she uses a cane and I call her Gordon because she rocks it just like cute old Pres. Hinckley did.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Look, sometimes we do our hair.

Wednesday night was the first of our two talent shows this semester. This one was "formal" which resulted in only musical talents. Every other talent people thought of sharing somehow ended up in the informal classification, so I'm excited for that show in a few weeks. I accompanied Grace (Miss Orem people, she's a big deal) in a beautiful Italian song, she blew everybody away.
Left to right: Ricki, Becky, Nick, Me, Mike, Jillian, Christian, Heather, Adam
This octet has some good times during practice. And sometimes we sing :) We sang "The Pilgrim's Song" and I'm in LOVE with it. Look up the lyrics. Ponder them. I'm trying to upload a video at the end of this post (thereby making everyone mad because the internet kind of stinks here, but they will just assume it's the Skypers faults...). If it doesn't work, I'll upload it when I go to Hebrew University this week. I'm going to interview a student over there for an Old Testament assignment, the trip has nothing to do with a facebook craving. Except people keep posting embarrassing things on each other's walls here so that everyone will eventually have to cave and go check their facebook. Low blow.

All the performers! Including Brother Whipple himself, the man is incredible on the organ. He has a doctorate in Organ Performance. Did you even know you can do that? He's our very own Phantom, sometimes he rocks out on that thing and it's the only thing that gets me through long hours of class. Bless him, and his darling wife.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Caves! Big ones, Small ones...

And yes, some that are only as big as my head. Claustrophobia = conquered.

You can't tell from this picture though, because this is Zedekiah's cave and it's particularly roomy. We have to visit 30 bible sites for our Old Testament class, read about what happened there, write it all up and turn it in soon. So Zedekiah's cave made the top 30!
We take a lot of jumping pictures here. ("We'll always be sure to give you time on field trips to take your narcissistic jumping pictures." -Bro. Hamblin.) I decided to boycott this one.
Danger! This one is just pretend though, but Lisa found real danger at the Red Sea last week. Sliced her foot open on coral between snorkeling adventures...just got chills again. Sharks smell blood, and they say there's no sharks there but I was still keeping my eye out after that. More on that trip later!

Micah's Cave was considerably less roomy than Zedekiah's. Meet Amanda, my fellow claustrophobe. Together we have conquered the pyramids, this here cave, and as of Monday, Hezekiah's tunnel. I didn't even mind the tunnel, so I think my fear really is being conquered!

Taking pictures in a cave is a good time because you'll never know how they'll turn out. Pitch black until the flash, so sometimes the people next to you are actually doing something completely different than what you think (thank you Scott). Or maybe you don't even know the person with your camera is taking a picture yet (see above).

And this cave (also roomy) was extremely fun to sing hymns in. It was so fun that I decided I didn't want to be translated just yet.
I don't remember the name of this cave...there have been a lot of them lately. But all the musically talented people in our group revealed themselves that day and sang songs for us inside :)

The roomie! Ali. I love her, except for when she makes me laugh extremely hard in class, which is a regular occurence. Ok, I love her then too.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Americans are Loud

The Center doesn't have enough security for my taste, so we decided to go somewhere with even more. (Sarcasm. The security guards have their own personal Truman Show.) First we went to the Knesset (the Israeli Parliament) and then to the Supreme Court of Israel.
I'm going to have a library in my house. It's going to be a combination of this one, and the library on Beauty and the Beast (complete with the ladder on wheels). Come visit anytime.
This is outside each of the courtrooms. The whole building had really interesting natural light, and the courtrooms are acoustically designed in a way that voices carry easily to the judge. The combination of it all made it a really interesting building.
We took a tour of the Knesset in Spanish because that was the only one going at the time we were there. Poor Michael tried hard to translate for us all, but finally we just went and asked the guard to turn on the English tape instead of the Spanish one. They looked slightly angry, like we beat some small part of the system.
That says the Supreme Court, if you can't see it. Promise.


Dear West Jerusalem,
I love you for a lot of reasons. Your gelato is high on the list.

See you soon,


Monday, June 7, 2010

A Day in the Bible Life

Bible Day! We went to Neot Kedumim to do some hands on biblical stuff. Jud volunteered me to be Rebekah and draw water from the well.

I volunteered Jud to be my camel. They gave him a leash.

Herding sheep is NOT easy. I don't know how Babe did it. We split up into groups and had to move this herd from one circle to another. I was distracted by the confused goat the whole time, but we learned later that the goat is actually the trick to it all -- the sheep like to follow it. Doesn't make sense.
I may have resorted to pushing. One of our many ineffective methods.
We had better luck with making pitas! They smelled better than the sheep, too. We also saw an olive press in action, a threshing floor, a wine press, cisterns, water wheels that looked like life-size hamster toys, and.....COWS! I love cows. More than my sister does, even though she'll deny it. My milk addiction puts me in first place, Ali.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Last of Egypt...Promise.

I couldn't move on from Egypt until I posted about Mt. Sinai! Then I'll stop living in the past. If you can't tell from the picture, we had to wake up at 2:00 am for the experience...worth it. Well, Lisa looks like it might not have been, since she's still asleep.
Tyler, on the other hand, looks awake at all hours of the day. This is at the bottom of the mountain before we headed up the camel-infested trail. After a week of sleep deprivation it was kind of interesting to make my body bust out physical activity in the middle of the night. I think I was nodding off while we walked. Is that even possible? But then camel drivers would yell at us to get out of the way and I would be alert again.
We got there a little before the 5:45 sunrise. I'd take a sunrise over a sunset any day, and this was definitely more beautiful than any I've ever seen. I'm even counting Senior Sunrise, as seen from the hood of my little Hyundai (may it rest in peace) in the Cedar High parking lot. So yeah, this one was good. Cameron loved it so much that he wouldn't even turn around for a picture.
Once the sun came up all the way it was fun to get a full view of how totally out of it everyone looked. Kendel is an obvious exception. I loved singing hymns and looking out over all the rolling mountains there. It really did feel as holy as a temple.
On our way down we stopped and had a testimony meeting. Times like that give me intense reminders of how much I really love everyone here. And on the way back down we saw a blue lizard. Good day.

NOW I'm done posting about Egypt. And I'm almost done writing about it in my journal, too :) I'm growing to love being behind in things. It just means there's always something happening! I love it.