Saturday, July 31, 2010

The Simple Life

Ten days in Galilee did us all some good. We spent half of our days visiting bible sites around the area, and the other half in New Testament class or swimming in the sea.
My nights and mornings involved a lot of beach-sitting, life-contemplating, and frog-avoiding. I miss the sunsets. Apartment 309! We were a little nervous to leave for 10 days because Delilah (our pet dove that lives in our light fixture outside our door) is going to have hatching eggs any day. Luckily, we didn't miss the squabs being born (yep, that's what baby doves are called. Google it if you don't believe me, because that's how I learned it too). Sometimes Delilah doesn't move for long periods of time...but I now know that it's ok. And I also know that she doesn't want to be poked if she isn't moving for a while because she flies at your head and doesn't come back the rest of the day, leaving you feeling responsible for her abandoned eggs.

Bonfires. My summer needed to have more of those, but no regrets. It needed more concerts too, but Alison went to more than enough for the both of us. Luckily Israel's delicious strawberry marshmallows inside of my S'more slightly eased my jealous feelings toward her.
I caught one a couple of times just to prove I wasn't too scared. But then I would scream, and (unintentionally) throw them when I felt how squishy they were...which sort of just confirmed how scared I was after all. Dang it. This is obviously not my hand because I couldn't hold one that calmly long enough for a picture.
President Brown's knowledge never ceases to amaze me. Here he is telling us all about the ruins of Bet She'an.One morning we took a boat ride across the Sea of Galilee and had a devotional. We sang Master the Tempest is Raging and I tried to imagine witnessing all the miracles we are studying in the New Testament.Caesarea Maritima...apart from the bats in a cave and the guard who really hated Americans that climb on aqueducts, it was a good time.We ate fish in Tiberias that looked way too alive. My waitress had to come over and take its head off for me after she witnessed many failed attempts. I think I could have enjoyed it at least a little more if Tyler wasn't examining the anatomy of its brain next to me, and Nick wasn't eating the eyeball across from me. Guess I had to have the experience?Church at the Galilee Branch was amazing. The view of the sea was beautiful, even though I'm still kind of partial to the Dome of the Rock out my window. The hymns are posted in English, Spanish, Hebrew, and Russian.We checked out a Syrian bunker site (Israeli controlled now) in the Golan Heights. No explosions occurred.The few hours we spent in Nazareth on the drive up to Galilee was awesome, Bro. Emmet used to live there so he gave us an expert tour. I love his understanding of all sides of the conflict here, and the stories he tells about when he was a student in Jerusalem.The Mt. of Beatitudes was one of my favorite sites we visited. Go read Mathew 5-7.
Adam crashed our girl's picture. He has a knack for that. We took a break in our field trip day to swim at Gan Ha-Shelosha, which would have been more fun without the biting fish. I kept moving the whole time so they never touched me...way too stressful. And I hit a wall in the process, but I'm glad because now I have a Jerusalem scar. Free souvenir.
Gamla -- cool hike, sad story. And this post has not left me with enough patience to give you details. Find me in two weeks for a live description.

Overall, Galilee was unlike any other 10 days I'll ever have. No technology, no distractions, no worries (besides stepping on the frogs). All free time went to scriptures or laying on a banana chair/hammock/genius chair thing, or talking to my friends that I love more every day. Abby was my roommate, and she just got her mission call to the Belgium, Netherlands mission! And Erin is going to the Russia, Moscow mission. Life has been exciting here at the if only it would slow down a little.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

And then came July...

Apparently tomorrow is the last day of July. Jerusalem stole my sense of time, and I don't really want it back. But I do want to throw a few catch up posts today while it will still say July at the bottom of them so I can feel slightly better about documenting this month.

I wasn't sure what the Fourth of July was going to be like in Israel, but it was a blast. We decorated the Oasis for a barbecue and carnival, complete with a fishing pond, bobbing for apples, face painting, and sparklers. We thought we would be able to light fireworks since Palestinians do that nightly. False. Sparklers are almost as good though.

We thought this was a very appropriate place to have a picnic that day.

The signatures on the floor of the King David Hotel kept us entertained for a while. I wish I was there when Winston Churchill was.

Brother Whipple played patriotic songs on the YMCA bells for all of Jerusalem to hear that day, too. I decided to stick with Come Follow Me though, because of its non-intimidating key signature. Then we left for Galilee the next morning! To be continued...

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Life as of Late

You can't hear the crazy fun Arab wedding that's happening on the next hill, but it sounded like a party. I love Jerusalem all the time, but especially when it lights up.
Ophir, our teacher for Judaism, Zionism and the State of Israel, took us on a tour of Yad Vashem. It was really impactful, especially the children's memorial. It didn't leave me as depressed as the museum in DC, it had an interesting perspective.

We wandered through the Old City and found Justina and the Syrian Orthodox Church she takes care of. She told us about miracles she has witnessed there and sang us a song in Aramaic. That was the first time I've heard the language the Savior spoke. We found out later that we'll be visiting again as a class soon.

Besides building hygiene kits each week, some of us were able to do a Meals on Feet service project. We take lunch to homebound Christians and sing hymns for them. I love getting deep into the Old City to see the residential parts. I asked our guide if he still gets lost sometimes, and he said yes. That took all pressure off of trying to get the hang of that maze.

Still obsessed with the Dome. If I sit down at church and I can't see it, I go and move seats. And then I let it distract me during the next 70 minutes.

We went with Bro. Manscill and his wife to the Light Show in the Old City. It was so fun to be there at night, since we're typically not allowed to be in East Jerusalem after dark. We walked through the streets and saw light shows on the side of buildings, then a final show at the Citadel that went through the history of Jerusalem.

The Citadel was cool during the day, too. Especially the double drinking fountains that Morgan just loved.

Here's Absalom's Tomb, one of the 30 bible sites we visited for an Old Testament assignment.

I'm not going back to school in the fall because I found a love for cutting hair. Ok, not true, but I've wanted to learn for a while now and boys here are very trusting. Minimal mistakes have been made, but it doesn't even matter because boys never look at the back of their head.

My roommates stole my camera and took a series of impersonation pictures. This one was probably the favorite, just because now Allison understands how loved my blanket makes you feel.

On our Bethlehem field trip we listened to a panel of students talk about university life in the West Bank. Their perspectives were interesting, and they all had different viewpoints -- one-state solution, two-state solution, give up on finding a solution...everything is so complicated here.
The campus of Bethlehem University was beautiful, even though most of the students were gone during a break.

We ate lunch at a Bedoin Tent restaurant with our Modern Near East (Palestinian Perspective) teacher and his wife. I've had lamb 3 times now. I think I like it? Until I see a real lamb and then I feel guilty. But cows are my favorite animals and I'm always up for a cheeseburger, so my logic is faulty.

Baskets and baskets of pitas, and all this good stuff. It's like Middle Eastern fondu. I gotta learn how to make pitas when I get home, bread never sounds good anymore.

Brother Manscill's Old Testament class just ended and we're all way sad to switch teachers. But Brother Emmet will be fun! We have a lot of New Testament class time scheduled for Galilee so I'm excited.

Christmas in June! Constantine's Church of the Nativity was beautiful. It's hard to know what happened where here, or what you can be sure about, but I'm not frustrated by it anymore. You don't have to be a certain somewhere to know something happened, and that's all that matters.

We sang Christmas song after Christmas song where Christ was born, and I was loving it. I'm always up for celebrating Christmas too early. Brother Manscill is so good at making us realize how sacred all the sites we visit really are.

I'm the shepherd. Tyler was almost the baby, but we decided that was a little too much. He's better at looking like a wise man, anyways.

Out of the millions (not exaggerating. K maybe.) of skirts in Jerusalem, Brooke and I came home with the same one :) Every time I'm in the Old City I lose my craving for shopping. I miss price tags.

We heard a performance of the Call to Prayer at Arab Night. It's one of my favorite sounds, especially now that it doesn't wake me up anymore. I love hearing it on my walk back to my room (which is 309 by the way, even though I've walked into 409 multiple times and wondered why all my stuff is gone. All the floors look the same).

The food at Arab Night...some of it was great, and some of it would maybe be great if I grew up here and was braver.

Best part of Arab night...the dancing! I loved it so much! We had a night of Israeli dancing since then, which was also fun. Especially when the Macarena came on, and when President Brown did the twist.
Ok, I'm done throwing random highlights out. Two days until Galilee!!