Sunday, June 26, 2011

a free day

this was my day in pictures:

 las chicas!

chris, sam, morgan, me and nessa at haram al-sharif (or the temple mount) 

the bells of the ymca tower
we got to play them!

i plan to.

you wanna know somethin funny?
these pictures in NO WAY depict how hot it is here.
there are days when i just want to rip of my shirt and run through the sprinklers.
can i?
would i?
hmmmm... tempting thought.

"write while the heat is in you. the writer who postpones the recording of his thoughts uses an iron which has cooled to burn a hole with. he cannot inflame the minds of his audience."
{henry david thoreau}

feeling inflamed yet?

the question of the day is: if you saw a heat wave, would you wave back?
{stephen wright}

Saturday, June 25, 2011

a little reflection. and a little jordan.

things i miss from home:

  • my closet. my clothes. (i have nothing against wearing white tshirts every day... well... actually i do. i wore a bright yellow shirt today just to rebel.) 
  • costco trail mix
  • skittles
  • driving my favorite baby beast around town. (yes, that is the name of my car.)
  • being able to talk to my mom, my sisters and my best friends any time i want...
  • cooking
  • laundry. (that actually cleans my clothes and i'm not afraid will eat them and i'll never see them again after i put them in and close the lid! whew... i know how little kevin on home alone felt when he used to go down into the basement. ancient appliances can be scary!)

things i don't miss from home:

  • makeup. (don't judge... i haven't worn makeup since the first week we got here.)
  • being cooped up inside and not having anywhere to go (say hello rexburg during the winter?!)
  • having school in a classroom
  • facebook
  • not having a room full of crap to have to keep organized and clean. i mean, seriously... how can you really get that messy with 8 shirts, 4 pairs of pants and 2 pairs of shoes??? ok, that might be a little bit of an understatement, but it's close...
the things that make every day in jerusalem AWESOME!
(since we can't just make this about things i miss...)
  • field trips to places that i used to skim over in the scriptures because i had no idea what they meant... instead of thinking of them as an "imaginary fairytale land" i get to see them with my very own eyes! 
  • some of the most AMAZING people EVA!!!
  • teachers that do their best to make it feel like home here :) 
  • the best view in the entire world.
  • having friends that make this place a home away from home!
  • the fooooooood! (even though i don't get to cook - there is always something good to eat!)
  • sunshine! and the awesome tan i'm getting. be very jealous. especially you brooke. >:D
  • feeling like indiana jones.
  • and fulfilling lifelong dreams of riding camels, discovering ancient civilizations, world peace, etc... (ok fine... i didn't discover any new civilizations, but i did blaze a few trails... that's for you brooke. and still workin on the world peace bit. which is a little bit difficult in this part of the world...) 
  • developing some mad bartering skillz. oh yes. you said you want 6 dollars? no way. so i walk away. and guess who yells after me that he'll give it to me for 5? (bahahaha...)
so i was going to put this off til later, but it's the sabbath, everything is closed, and i know that i probably won't want to sit down and blog later... so her goes! 

day 1: 
leaving isreal was easy. in fact, i've just determined that it isn't the leaving the country that is hard for me... it's coming back in! 
first stop: mt. nebo! they even have a giant statue of a snake on a staff. we didn't look. (teehee...) 
next stop: madaba. this is the site of a byzantine church that has a mosaic map on the floor of ancient palestine.
then macherus - anyone know why that is special biblically? pop quiz! that's the fortress of herod antipus where john the baptist was held and then later killed. we even miiiiight have seen a possible place where they might have held prisoners there.
king herod obviously had a pool...

we got to the hotel fairly late... we didn't get to eat dinner until like 8 that night. i'm pretty sure that i was ready to eat my foot. but i needed it for the next day at petra, so i resisted. (pros to the la maison hotel: it is close to petra... cons: no AC, cold shower, no water pressure... it was an interesting night.) 

day 2:
you know those days when it feels like the earth's core just exploded and all of the heat is seeping out through the rocks beneath your feet? it felt like that. and there were rocks everywhere.
but petra was INCREDIBLE!
my first look at the treasury in petra!

we saw the treasury (which is actually just a tomb, but some misguided archeologists thought that it held the treasure of an egyptian king. and other people think that it is the site of the holy grail. nope. it's basically just a square room. sorry indy!) 
we spent the whole day there, which is saying a lot, because  most sites that we see we are only there for a couple of hours. but they just let us loose and we were able to go wherever we wanted! 
so we basically ran up to the monastery (which looks pretty much exactly like the treasury), ran down, and then ran up to a crusader fortress. we would have tried to go to the holy place too, but we ran out of time...

the "fast-walkers" group at the monastery
we wait for no one!

me gettin' my zen on.
at the top of the crusader fortress...

see the little hole at the top there?
yeah, i was just there.
(take a looksie at the other picture.)

best. camel ride. everrrrrrrr!

i think i need to practice a little more before i can officially try out for the new indiana jones movie...

and if we didn't think that we were tired enough after all of that running around, we went to shobak castle on our way to amman! we started by storming the castle... brother mulestein even gave a speech that i could have sworn i had heard before. (it was right out of lord of the rings!) they had a few tunnels that we got to explore, and we just had a lot of fun being burned to little crisps. 
best part of my day? having the coolest hotel room ever! (well, not as good as some... some people in the group had these amazing suites. but i had to settle for a sitting room in my hotel room... :P) and i bet you want to know where where i got the best view of amman? my bathroom. i have to admit, it was kind of disconcerting. 

the view from my bathroom.
and yes, the window was taller and wider than me.

day 3:
ready for another full day of field-tripping? you better be - because the philosophy here is you can sleep when you're dead!
if we thought petra was hot, nature decided to turn up the heat. we went to the citadel of amman (biblically the city of rabbath-amman, which was conquered by king david.) we even found the water system that is similar to the one that joab conquered in order to take over the city. 
we had a combined devotional at the jabbok river - which is the place where jacob wrestled with the angel before he met his brother esau. it is so cool to see how historians decide where these events probably occured! they say that the spot we visited would be a very likely candidate because it is one of the shallowest slopes of the hills on the sides of the river. 

lastly we went to jerash (possibly jershon in the bible). this was a roman city with a hippodrome (a stadium where they would hold horse races), 2 theaters, a huge forum (what we would think of as a city center... it kind of reminded me of an ancient round-about), a temple to zeus and athena, and a giant public water fountain. 
pretty much awesome! 

bugs eye view of the cardo

the nymphaeum

the hippodrome

day 4: 
it was the final stretch!
we got up and they bused us to the big roman theater that we had seen from the citadel of amman the day before. we played around with the acoustics, and then walked around in downtown amman before getting kfc for lunch. 

kfc in other countries = not the same. i should just give up. (first they had no mashed potatoes, now they have no biscuits!!!)
our final stop before heading back to isreal was at the jordan river. this was an awesome site, and even though it was not what i was expecting (usually the sites we visit are nothing like what i would envision) it just fit. 

you can see the israeli-controlled side of the jordan river on the other side.

for some reason, whenever i try and get back into the country, the people at the desk give me a hard time. do i really look that dangerous???  

life in general is just awesome.
just sayin'

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

i need a theme song for moments like these.

if you have a problem with cold, damp, tight spaces,
you might get a little claustrophobic reading this...
you might want to have a little baggie on hand just in case.

one of my favorite adventures thus far -
(drumroll everyone!)
dum da da dum!

 this might look like we could see where we were...
we couldn't see anything until the flash illuminated (or rather blinded) the entire tunnel...

they said the water levels were low.
i want to know what the term "low" is actually referring to! 

this is the "upper pool" that is referred to in 2 kings.
the pillars are from a byzantine church that was built on top of it.
we also went to the pool of siloam, where Jesus healed the blind man. (see john 9)

the lamps are called "ganteghs" 

i barely made it out alive...

other places of note:
we heard about church of saint john the baptist.
it is the oldest church in jerusalem, and if you don't know that you are looking for it, you'll never find it.
it's a brown door in the wall.
and it usually isn't open.
but as luck would have it, we found it open!
but i learned that you can't learn everything from the internet... if i would have followed these directions, i would have gotten sooooo lost!

we also found the jewish open market it west jeru...
and then another pedestrian shopping street called mahane yehuda. (much like our favorite place to get gelato... ben yehuda!)

we're leaving for jordan on sunday!!!
(which means amman... petra... eek! i'm excited!)
the scary thing is that 17 people were sick today.
the odds are kinda scary.

but on a good note:
finally done with midterms!!!
{i don't know whether to be happy or sad about this... finals are in two weeks, and we leave for jordan on sunday! which means that i will probably forget everything by the time i get back... hehe...}

wanna know something weird?
the bananas here are green. but they are still ripe.
it kinda weirds me out.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

play. pause. resume.

once again, i am amazed at the speed at which this week flew by.
(are we sure that we didn't just hit the fast forward button and forget to press play again?)
so this week has been crazy busy. we went to tel aviv on monday, and it feels like it has been weeks, not a matter of a few days.
good news of the week: 
i have a place to live in the fall!
even better news:
i'm living with my sister!!! (you better be ready to hear about some pretty amazing adventures come august...)

now back to israel.
i never thought that i could get sick of wearing a tshirt and pants every day. but i discovered this week that i can. especially white v-necks. however, they are almost a necessity here (for those of you planning on making this trip in the future - bring as many as you possibly can. they will save your life!) but i think that i am going to boycott all tshirts when i get back home. and i might just throw all of my clothes into a big pile in the middle of my room and cannonball right into the middle... and then roll around in them for a bit. why hello dear friends! did you miss me??? because i missed you!
do you ever feel like you can do more crazy things when people don't know you that well? i have this crazy memory of the first time i bore my testimony... i was in island park, and i wanted to bear my testimony. i remember thinking: nobody here knows me... if i look stupid then nobody will remember me. the next thing i know, i'm standing there, in front of a packed church (this is right next to yellowstone in the middle of summer... peak tourist season anyone???) little did i know that there was another overflow building. not just people sitting out in the foyer. no. an entire building of people that can hear me. luckily, i haven't met anyone that remembers me from there, but i have this strange habit of stepping outside of my comfort zone when i don't know anyone. 
what did i do now you ask?
i danced. 
if you know me at all, this will probably have you rolling in fits of laughter on the floor. those two words (me and dance) don't usually appear in the same sentence for me, unless they are separated by a little word called CAN'T. 
i'm not saying i did spectacularly. because i didn't. but i had a ton of fun! 
and honestly... the best part of the whole thing was the costumes. if i had access to youtube, i would post the song that we danced to, but i guess you'll just have to listen to it yourself. (waka waka by shakira)

i have to give props to my pal jess... 
who taught me everything i know about ratting hair... 

 can i be buried in one of these pleeeeeeze?

dormition abbey
i was our groups leader... they wanted to be able to go out and explore the city, and thanks to the amazing sense of direction (which i inherited from my mother!)... i led us all over the city.
i decided that my call in life is to be a tour guide.

 absolom's pillar

 we stopped by a shop in the armenian quarter that did ceramics... this table was incredible!
you can see the 8 gates of jerusalem.
(only 7 of them are open...)
i've been through all of them except for golden gate...
i was debating if it would be worth sitting and chipping away at the wall...

nuff said.

a good end to a fantastic week!
(and i looooooooooove my visiting teachers!!!!)

Friday, June 3, 2011

this is what happens when i stay inside too long.

dilemma: (this is going to sound like old news) but i figure i might as well tell you why i don't post as often as i would like.
my computer doesn't like my camera. 
sounds juvenile right?
i told them to work it out... but so far, neither one is yielding.
so picture-posting here will probably end up being stolen for my compatriots here with me in jerusalem until i can get my own pictures uploaded! 

we just got done with midterms... WOOHOO!
[you were under the impression that this was a vacation weren't you???]
nope. i actually have to study. boo.
but since we couldn't really leave the center for the past two days, i regressed back to surfing the web. and blog stalking. (my favorite!)
not that this is anywhere in the near future, but i think that this is super cute!
how many of you (hopefully this is limited to just you girls!!!) had american dolls growing up? i did. i'm pretty sure i read all of their stories, and knew all about their lives. i had an even split between those and the hardy boys... (my dad had to have a hand in my literature choices as well). what did your doll say about you? mine made me laugh. i had one of the dolls that looked like you, but if i'd have had my choice, i would have gotten molly. (it had something to do with an obsession with world war two...)
being in israel, i find this blog particularly funny. i'm on a hunt for cookbooks. (because the food here is amazing!) but i'm thinking falafel fridays when i get back to the states is going to be a very good tradition. a very tasty tradition at that...

on another note, we started a volleyball tournament last night!
my team is the hyksos. you miss a lot when you don't hear us cheer. it is pretty incredible. we lost the first game, won the second, and i stayed to watch the other teams play the last game. now i just need to get my basketball kick for the week and i'll be happy!