Today is officially my last day in Jerusalem. Where has the time gone? I remember the day we got here, thinking there was so much time to go do and see everything. Yet here we are at the end and time has run out. Time is a funny thing, it prolongs itself when you need it to move forward and and then flies by just when you wish it would slow down. I guess the most important thing is that you don't waste the time your given, and not once minute of this last semester has been wasted. I have...
Ok so I have this ongoing thing with memories: no matter where I am I end up being the one in charge of keeping memories (who decided it was a good idea to put me in charge of things? seriously.). I am a hard core journal keeper, picture taker, and blogger (which has not been as good as of late, sorry!). It probably has something to do with a deep seeded fear of forgetting things. I want to remember everything and I know my pathetic brain won't let me do much, so I have to document. Anyways, as a result of this, I'm now going to embark on a journey through the past 4 months about people and places that I just can't bear to forget. I know there won't be enough time for me to include everyone, but maybe once I get home I'll throw some nostalgic posts up. Anywho, here are some of my favorite pics, in no particular order, that haven't yet made the blog until now...
Here is Shamra and I on our first field trip through the city at seven arches. Shamra was one of the first friends I made here and she was always there to support my ping pong needs when no one else would.
This was the day I discovered falafel. As you can tell, Alexis and I were thoroughly enjoying ours. The free pitas and non smoking building also might have had something to do with it.
Angie and I with our rockin hard hats at Beersheba where we happened to be in range of the rockets from Gaza. Luckily, we had those hats, because if some rockets had hit us, they would have saved our lives FOR SURE!
I will miss this when we leave...Miriam giving me hugs and nuzzling my ear like a teddy bear. Although when it happens in public places we do get funny looks. What's wrong with a little lovin?!?!
My dearest Moon and I outside the church in Tiberias. This girl has more soul than a shoe store and this picture captures her essence.
Richelle and I right before our hike up Mt. Sinai. Only a true friend would sing B*witched songs with me all the way up the mountain.
My high school chum Allison (ya titans!) and I falling of Tell-i-forgot-what-it's-called. I know it's hard to read in arabic, but I'll translate...DANGER!!! FALLING ROCKS!!! ONLY STAND HERE IF YOU ARE STUPID....check.
Kara (I call her RaRa sometimes because she cheers me up) and I at the Med Sea. We're going to run a half marathon together...someday. It's on the bucket list at least.
My peeps and I in the secret cave where we officially inducted ourselves into the hall of fame. 2 Legit 2 Quit Baby! Oh and.....that was awesome.
This was our informal talent show were Angie, me, the three Steves, Anne, and Whitney all performed "Luxormotion." While I did get to play Mama Pharaoh, my favorite part was Blunck's diaper.
I knew I'd have friends here when we got off the bus for a stop on our way to Egypt and made a zen circle. Good karma lasted the whole semester! Yeeah!
The day atop Mt. Hertzl where the offical VL club roster was formed. I am happy to say that I still maintain the chair of president while Aleni continues on as VP and Stephen as an honorary member.
Suzie, Josh, Moon, and I at Sambooki with the famous brownie surprise. Who knew such great joy could come out of a small triangle pastry?
A group of us composing the 8th wonder of the world...the human pyramid. Notice I'm the one looking about to crumple on the bottom. I proclaim myself the weakest link.
And of course I can't forget Stef...my better half while here in the Holy Land. Here we are at the beach in Tel Aviv where for once, we aren't acting like crazies.
Okay, so even though it's only been a few days, there has been nonstop action here at the JC and if I put off the blog any longer I know I'll get too far behind. So buckle your seatbelts and hold on tight because we're hitting a whole lot of action in this post...
First of all, I just have to write a little blurb about Aladdin because he really deserves a shout out. As most of you international travellers know, money changers are a part of life whilst living abroad. Here in Jerusalem, we have the superior services of Mr. Aladdin to assist us. This guy takes care of all the JC students money needs, and he does it all with a smile...even when we clean him out of shekels. He also has an entire wall dedicated to JC student notes, so if you ever find yourself in old city, you should pop in for a visit, because Aladdin is the man.
Fanning myself with the very last wad of shekels I could withdraw
Ok, so back to the action. Wednesday was another free day, so I finally went to visit Ein Karem, the place where John the Baptist was born and raised. While the experience was a little bit diappointing after the excitement of Galilee, it was good to get out and see some new sites. We got to roam around and explore, all the while hunting down the best deals for ice cream. The most thrilling part of the day was when we got lost in the hospital and had to surrender our sack lunches to hospital security because they weren't "kosher". Only in the Holy Land...
The Church of the Visitation where Mary and Elisabeth stayed
My favorite mural inside the Visitation Church
The supposed spring Mary stopped at while visiting the parents of John the Baptist
Thursday was our Herodian Fortress field trip to the West Bank, and I have to admit that this trip exceeded all expectations simply because the JC peeps are awesome. Even though it was freezing cold on top of the hill, or tell, or whatever it was, we still had a good time. Chelsea Owens made the trip there even more enjoyable while she entertained everyone with her violent camera abuse. Once we got off the bus and it was clearly not repairable, she proceeded to throw it down in front of unsuspecting students, who would then gape in horror. Then Jess Veater and I got to have a heart to heart discussion on the way home about our whole Jerusalem experience. Like I said, the people here make everything a hundred times better.
Chelsea and Kara V. showing off the pathetic remains of her broken camera
Anne, Carly, me, and Stefanie all bundled up on top of the hill
The separation wall that we pass each time we go to the West Bank
Sunday marked another highlight day here in Jerusalem with Easter. With services going on all over the city, it was tough choosing which ones to attend. However, the ones I went to really made the day worth it to me. A group of us headed over to the St. Augusta Tower Hospital grounds where we attended a sunrise service. Watching the sun come over the horizon as we sang Christian hymns and listened to sermons was amazing! The best part though, was when the pastor incorporated an object lesson with a racket and tennis ball. At one point, he attempted to a hit a ball gently into the crowd and ended up hitting the little wooden cross on the altar instead. It almost tipped over and you could tell from the look on his face he was fully ready to be struck down by the heavens. Awesome. After that we had some breakfast back at the JC and I proceeded to stuff my sweater full of food and smuggle it out of the Oasis since our sack lunches weren't looking hearty enough. Next we headed to the Garden Tomb where we all sung our little hearts out to Christian rock songs and praised Hallelujah as the sermons were given. The whole day was spectacular and I don't think I'll soon forget the experience of worshipping with these strangers. We all became united in our love for the Savior and it was phenomenal (can you tell I'm running out of superlatives?).
The breathtaking sunrise over Jerusalem on Easter Sunday
The pastor at St. Augusta just minutes before the tennis ball and cross incident...I almost died laughing
Me and my "food baby" walking out of the Oasis
Our Garden Tomb pastor who gave a great sermon, but the podium was my favorite
Finally, we get to today...which was the Herod and Essenes field trip. First we drove to Masada, which is the site where the last zealots (okay so they were actually the daggermen called the Sicarii, but minor detail) were defeated by the Romans in 73 AD. We hiked around, shouted out for the sake of echoes, and Miriam took the liberty of coloring my toe with yellow hilighter...which effectively disturbed the entire field trip group all day long. Then we were off to the Dead Sea where I opted to bask on the shores while everyone else got covered in mud and floated around in the water. I got many a dirty looks for my Palestine shirt, and a local Israeli even grilled me about it (clearly I took stupid pills this morning in thinking it was a good idea to wear a Palestine shirt to Israeli sites). Afterwards, we headed to the ridiculously crowded waterfall trail of Ein Gedi and then to Qumran, which is the site where many of the dead sea scrolls were found. Basically, everything has been so fantastic the last few days, that I don't know if I'll be able to leave this place after all.
Here's my "phalangical jaunditis" toe, pretty convincing huh?
Keri, me, Lara, and my Palestinian shirt in all it's glory, at the waterfalls of Ein Gedi
Valorie and I obviously doing something we shouldn't be doing...
Aleni, Jess, Chelsie, and Hayley looking very excited to learn about Qumran
It's been an exciting past few days, I almost don't know where to begin. Maybe the beginning of the week will work. So, this past sunday was Palm Sunday. This means Jerusalem basically has an all day celebration. There are special church services everywhere and almost the entire city comes out into the streets for processions. Of course we wanted to take advantage of this opportunity, so all of the JC students headed out to the Mt. of Olives. It was such an awesome experience and we got to intermingle with so many different people! The best part was when Stefanie, Aleni, and I tagged along with a Polish Christian group who sang a variety of songs like Shine Jesus Shine. Smacking around palm fronds and cooking ourselves in the hot hot sun has never been more enjoyable.
Aleni, me, Stefanie, and our Polish friend Adam who taught us all the cool songs
The flooded streets atop the Mt. of Olives
The next day was our Christian field trip through all the churches of Jerusalem. We covered it all, from the church of the holy sepulchre to the terra sancta. It was great to visit so many different places of worship and feel the spirit and reverence in each one. My favorite was the church of st. mark where the older woman in charge of the church told us how the spirit translated language between her and a german man. I love listening to people tell stories, probably because I'm so bad at telling them myself. Haha.
Lauren, Miriam, me, and Eliza outside the church of the holy sepulchre
This is what was meant by the scripture about a camel fitting through the eye of a needle easier than a rich man being able to get into heaven. So me and the camel...pretty much the same size
Yesterday was a half free day and after debating over yet another sack lunch (I loathe the sack lunch) I was invited to visit the King David Museum. So our little group of five headed into the city and shopped on our way to the museum. It was a good review for our near eastern studies class and it was just nice to get out. Favorite quote of the trip was defintely Anne. I wish I had the picture to accompany it, but basically we looked at a display and Anne goes "Oooh! Photo-op! You be the headless one!" Awesome. We even made time to squeeze in a shave for the boys, who got a legit shaving job from a local.
A view of the Dome of the Rock and the Jerusalem Center from the top of King David's Tower
Anne and I with the Emperor Hadrian who apparently gets a little grabby