Wednesday, January 16, 2013

You're a Strange Bunch But We Love You

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! 

RIP, aqueduct

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.


Bethlehem Overlook
I could've sworn today was only my third time going into the Old City, but then how
have 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
I've got shekels in my pocket and I'm ready to conquer the city! My days in the Jerusalem Center are jam-packed but very exciting.  Believe it or not, the "studying" thing is actually real, so I have to make time for that in-between looking at cat memes and brushing my hair (I have loads of free time now that I can't access Netflix).  Actually, they keep us busy between our classes and field trips.  And I've spent our last two free periods of time exploring this beautiful city! Tomorrow is another day of classes and free time, as well as a party for all of the January birthdays.  Here's hoping that I'm the only one born in this month! 


  1. Your hair looks long and lustrous in every photo so the hair brushing thing is really working for you!

  2. That hair...that beautiful hair...and skirt!

    Happy birthday still in this time zone!

  3. We're all jealous of your adventures. I love your blog Tess! Excellent wit and understated sarcasm. This is going to be a great read.

  4. I don't know what excellent wit or "understated sarcasm" mean, but sign me up for some shwarma!!

  5. I think "Shwarma" is something you get from a food vendor in Jerusalem.

  6. Didn't Ed have a bad case of Shwarma over Christmas?

  7. Anything with "mystery meat" has Ed's name written all over it.

  8. I love mystery meat. That case of shwarma over Christmas was definitely one that packed a punch! Not even close to J2K....