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.