Sunday, 30 May 2010

food, glorious food.

I love food. I love it even more after Egypt... now that I can eat more than bread, rice, and potatoes. Now I have added gummies, ice cream, and fresh fruit to the diet.

I love gelato. Abbie, Bekah, and me on Ben-Yehuda.


Abbie and me with the most delicious fruit smoothie.

Mostly I have fallen in love with pita, hummus, shwarma, falafel, and other delicious middle eastern foods. Needless to say, I have come a long way from my obsession with ordering only grilled cheese sandwiches. Although, I miss them the most out of everything American. Yes... even more than cupcakes.

Friday, 21 May 2010

the things i learned in egypt.

1. I learned that hot doesn't exist between the hours of 7 am and 6 pm in Egypt, rather it is scorching. 122 degrees makes me feel like I am a cupcake baking the oven. Its not pleasant.

2. I learned that dehydration is serious business and that it is possible for me to down 3 liters of water in one day (that's a lot of water by the way).

3. I learned that Israel (on the way to Egypt) has its very own version of Moab... except it has pretty white rocks instead of red.

4. I learned how to take cheesy pictures in front of Egyptian monuments.

5. I learned that it is possible to be violated by a form of transportation. We took a night train from Luxor to Cairo. I didn't eat. I only slept because I knocked myself out with sleeping pills (best idea ever). And I woke up in the morning with flea bites... disgusting.

6. I learned how to keep it cool on the nile.

7. I learned that it is possible to remain healthy in Egypt. You just don't eat the food, drink the water, and sanitize your hands every 10 minutes.

8. The term carbo-load has a whole new meaning. Bread, rice, and bottled water were on the menu 3 meals a day, all week.

9. I learned how to ride a camel, and that riding a camel can give you bruises the next day.

10. I learned to not only accept but welcome my chaco tan.

11. I learned that some Egyptian merchants can be even more stubborn than I am, but for the most part I can still get what I want.

12. I learned that I am so very blessed to have grown up in the United States and to have economic, political, and most importantly religious freedoms. Cairo is incredibly impoverished and I realized how blessed I am to be getting an education and to have lived in great comfort my entire life.

13. I learned that the Egyptian people are so friendly and kind. I was able to meet up with my friend Sean who is on a study abroad in Cairo for Arabic. There were a number of people from my group that met up with friends in his group. We were able to see the real side of Cairo while with them and I was amazing by the kindness and generosity of the people that we met, both on the street and the subway.

14. I learned that sunrise on Mount Sinai can be life-changing.

(and no... this wasn't photoshopped)

15. I learned that friends can become family after only a month.

16. I learned that Jerusalem is home... and it is so good to be back.

Monday, 10 May 2010

oh hey.

i live here.

that is what i think every night before i go to bed.
i am so grateful to be here.

Saturday, 8 May 2010

the dome of the rock.

I am not going to lie, I didn't come here with a lot of background knowledge about Jerusalem. I did know what the Dome of the Rock was. It's lovely golden dome graces the skyline of the city, and can be seen from almost every window of the center. I have secretly tried to place it in every landscape photo I have taken so that people will know I actually live here. And they only let outsiders in for a few hours a day, making the place even more mysterious. So, I was pretty excited to go...

The place is beautiful. Words can't describe... especially my words. I am suffering from a lack of eloquence at the current moment. The combination of the blues, greens, and golds of the tiles is amazing. Being a minor architecture fanatic I am kind of obsessed. The dome is plated in gold... crazy.

Unfortunately we are unable to actually go in the dome, kind of a bummer.

What is amazing is that the temple mount, the place where the Dome of the Rock resides, is considered holy by the major religions. This is the place that Abraham was sent to sacrifice Isaac. This is the place that Solomon built his temple, and another temple was later rebuilt by Herod the Great. This is the place that the Jews, Christians, and Muslims consider sacred, and I can see it every morning from my bedroom window.

Keeping it classy in the Holy Land
(ps. hey look Talia... Jud and I are friends!)

Monday, 3 May 2010

hello holy land.

I am bringing back the blog, and for good reason. I now call Jerusalem home. I am obsessed with this place. Its foreign, and slightly scary, but surprisingly I feel so at home.

This week has been crazy. I have finally slightly normalized my sleep schedule. Jet lag brought me in into multiple afternoon comas this week and I would find myself suddenly wide awake at four in the morning. The naps not so weird but the 4 am wake up calls... completely out of character. The mosque down the road also blares the call to prayer every morning. I thought this would be slightly more exotic and appealing... waking up to middle eastern prayer and chanting. Not so. Especially when running on 10 hours of sleep in a 36 hour period of time. Jet lag aside I love this place. SO much.

Thus far I have oriented myself in the old city. We have walked around the walls, through the winding streets, and basically all over. I know which streets are disgusting meat markets (very sketch) and which house friendly merchants who will stop at nothing to gather your attention. I am going to become a professional haggler by the end of the semester and will be very good at avoiding eye contact in order to evade the unwelcome comments and glances that are thrown out on a daily basis. We have seen most of the major sites. I can't wait to come back and take the time to really learn and experience these places.

Bekah and I in the Old City. This picture reminds me that I am glad that I get 3.6 shekels to 1 dollar and that sometimes I feel like I am in the movie Aladdin.

I have learned that it is socially acceptable for me to dress like a 52 year old woman at Disneyland. I repped it one day and still have friends. Please note the fanny pack is strictly utilitarian.

The BYU Jerusalem Center is everything that it promises to be. The building is beautiful and offers impeccable views of the Old City from almost every window.

The building is behind me and Bekah. Its the pretty one, of course.

By far the most amazing thing about being in this place is that I am so close to the sites of the most important events in human history, the atonement, death, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. I live a walks distance from the Garden of Gethsemane. From my home I can see the city that he lived in, and the places he spent his last moments in. One crucial thing that I have realized during my brief time here is that the growth that I have already felt here didn't come from proximity to these places. It is such an amazing blessing to be given the opportunity to walk where he walked and live where he lived, but the I know that most important moments of my experience here will be during the small quiet times of reflection. This place offers the catalyst for growth and change... I am constantly being reminded of the importance of this place and the events that occurred here, but being here will not miraculously make me grow. I am responsible for what I bring back from this place, and I hope that I can make this most of this once in a life-time opportunity.