Warning: I am now 20 years old so I'm like so totally mature and my jokes may be too sophisticated for you and I am allowed to eat candy for every meal.
Happy birthday to me! At this moment my legs are super sore and I'm eating Cookies and Cream eggs (yes, they're a thing. Jerusalem does our chocolate better than we do), so I would call my day pretty successful. I also haven't been this popular since fifth grade- everyone knows my name and sings me songs and shares their cookies at lunch. Yeah, I peaked in elementary school. It's cool.
Monday, we went to places with different views of Jerusalem and the surrounding areas. Among others, we visited the Bethlehem Overlook and a site commemorating the presence of an ancient aqueduct. We also sang four-part unaccompanied harmony in the Auguste Victoria church. We love to sing everywhere we go. 71 out of 82 students are in the ward choir, but I decided to opt out of that. Every choir needs an audience, right? I pretend not to see the glares from the choir conductor as I sink lower in my seat. The best part about going to so many overlooks is that I am familiarizing myself with many of the buildings in Jerusalem. I can always tell you where the Dome of the Rock is!
|Auguste Victoria Church|
I'm convinced that everyone here has buns of steel because the hills are STEEP. Before coming here, they said we should be able to hike the Y (aka walk straight up a mountain) twice. I walked the treadmill at .00001% incline for 20 minutes once last semester, but somehow I am struggling to keep up.
I could've sworn today was only my third time going into the Old City, but then howhave I already eaten ten pieces of baklava? Well, that's an exaggeration, but I would definitely win a baklava-eating contest hands down. Did I mention I like baklava? Okay, I'm done now. Wait...baklava. Another food I recommend is shwarma. French fries + pita bread + mystery meat + tahini sauce. Need I say more? We went to a place recommended to us by Ali Baba. He has created BYU Jerusalem T-shirts and sweatshirts for decades now. In fact, Center students are well-acquainted with many of the shop-keepers. They like to poke fun at us by saying "Awesome!" and "Oh my heck!" How could they not eagerly await each a new group of naive students' arrival? As one vendor put it, "You're a strange bunch, but we love you."
|Notice I am the only one who is actually eating...priorities|
Today we explored the Old City's many quarters (Muslim, Jewish, and Christian), then made our way over to West Jerusalem. On the way, I had to stop for some cereal- we have to eat breakfast by 7:15 on Monday and ain't nobody got time for that! It's fun being mistaken for locals in West Jerusalem (the Israeli side), while having either "Mormon," "BYU," or "American," yelled at us in the Old City. Those matching blue backpacks are hard to miss in a crowd. As are the Center-issued fanny packs. Just because I wear men's Old Navy pants, does not mean I will ever wear a fanny pack. Is there ever REALLY an excuse to sport a fanny pack? They may take my short-zippered, fitted pants, but they will not take my dignity!
|Little chocolate clouds of heaven in cereal form|