Thursday, March 7, 2013

Sheep Thrill

Oh man, has it been too long.  Finals (and a midterm for one class) are upon the JC Students!  I may or may not have a paper to write, but I can't neglect my little blog.  So much has happened! Except not this week.  Just picture me glued to a chair and in between I eat some food and get a few hours of sleep.  Okay, it hasn't been that bad, but I've learned from the best that most stories need a little extra "umph" ("lying" isn't in my vocabulary.).  In honor on exam week, I've decided that I can only wear sweats and glasses and no makeup.  The glasses will make me smarter, and the rest is part of my awesome plan.  After this week, when I slap on a little mascara and put in my contacts, people can be amazed at the transformation.  A sure-fire way to get tons of compliments!  The people who wrote "She's All That" had such a great thing going- it's pretty much a scientific fact that people with glasses are smarter and therefore more nerdy.  I mean, have you SEEN how Velma looks when she blindly searches for her glasses in any episode of Scooby Doo?  Omg, how embarrassing...

Let's take it back to where it all began...the day after my last entry.  Tel Aviv is a magical place filled with rainbows and butterflies and passion fruit smoothies.  There's also a beach there, but we didn't spend a ton of time there.  There was this whole incident where I stubbed my toe and blood gushed to follow just for the squeamish!  It was pretty gross and I had to limp the rest of the day a little bit (cue violins, am I right?)  We explored the flea market aka junk sale.  Unless you're into used spoons and broken toys, there wasn't too much to get there.  But hey, one man's used toothbrush is another man's treasure!

Boardwalk and Beach
Look mom, I have (two) friends! 
We then walked (or hobbled, in my case) into the city for about an hour and a half.  After finding out the Purim festival had already happened, the only possible way to get over it was by eating French pastries and Cinnabon.  Why yes, I do like to pretend I'm both a sophisticated Parisian and a middle school mall patron at the same time.  You can take the girl out of Virginia, but...well, you know the rest.  Dinner was at an amazing Asian restaurant called Giraffe.  Pad Thai and Indian curry, how I've missed you!  It was so good, and really fun because a lot of patrons and staff were dressed in their Purim costumes.  Go to Giraffe the next time you're in Tel Aviv, you'll won't regret it.  And, if you hate it, you didn't hear it from me! "Deny, deny, deny" is a great motto to live by. (And die by.  They'll never take me alive get me to confess to eating that last bit of chocolate amaretto bread pudding!!)

Hello, gorgeous
We strolled on back to the beach, had the most amazing gelato and went home.  It was a great day overall.  Started off a little rough because I was the last one awake Saturday night (blogging, obvi) and was really tired in the morning.  I am so not a morning person...picture the bride of Frankenstein with a little bit of Chucky and a whole lot of Cruella de Vil (my hair in the morning).  Basically, stay far, far away from this girl between the hours of 7 A.M. and 7 P.M.

Monday, we went to a Biblical preservation place thingy.  I don't really know how to define it, only that we got to experience activities that Biblical-era people would do.  Like...sheep herding!! Okay, I didn't think I liked animals very much (aside from cats) before coming here.  But, I fell in love with the camel in Petra and I fell in love with the sheep at Neot Kedumim.  The key to sheep herding?  Words of encouragement!  I just tried to put myself in their hooves and thought about what I would like to hear if I was being corralled in a group of people by sheep.  I decided to say things like "You go, girl!" and "Ooh, did you get your wool combed recently?"  And, the classic, "You're baa-utiful!"  I was the best shearleader out there by far. 

There, there ewe little precious baby

Another highlight of Neto Kedumim was making our own food.  I single-handedly chopped all the wood and made (started? built?) the fire for lentil soup and pitas.  Just kidding, don't believe everything you read on the Internet (or most anything you read on this blog!)  You know I just chopped two onions for the soup and called it good.  But other people actually did chop the wood and make the fires.  It was like camping but without the bad parts like waking up in a rain puddle (seriously every time you go camping!) and getting attacked by a pack of wild boars (it could happen, you never know).

I spy my tiny head!

Torah scribe at Neot Kedimum
 The craziest thing happened on our way back from Neot Kedumim.  It actually isn't crazy if you live in the Holy Land, but it was for us students.  We saw two men lower a rope down from the West Bank side of the Separation Wall and drop down to the other side.  Our Palestine teacher said that most people do this to find better work in the Israeli side.  They don't have the necessary papers to go through the checkpoint, so they have to climb the Wall.  Two of the three men made it safely to the other side, but the other one had to pull up the rope quickly because a police car was driving toward them. 

On Tuesday for an hour, I went to the Princess Basma school in East Jerusalem to teach English to 5-yr-old Palestinian children.  The first time my teaching partner and I went, it was a little overwhelming.  The only time they were quiet was when I sang "Do as I'm doing."  That would be okay if the song was 10 minutes long, but it was over in 30 seconds.  We were supposed to teach "healthy" and "unhealthy" foods.  Somehow, they all believed that french fries were healthy (hey, they're potatoes), but other than that they knew a lot.  Also, a word of advice- the game "hot potato" is not played very much over here.  So, be willing to scrap your ideas and adapt (even when that was SUCH A GREAT IDEA BECAUSE THEY'RE LEARNING ABOUT FOODS.  Whatever, it's fine.  I didn't care that much).  That first time we went was a little hectic.  It got a lot better the second time, on Thursday, when we played outside.  They definitely know "Duck, Duck Goose" and "Red Light, Green Light."  If I learned anything, it's that little kids need plenty of time to run around.  And, I'm the slowest "goose" in the world even though my legs are 3 ft longer than all of the children's legs.  No one wants to get tagged in that game.  Noooo, not the stew pot!! No one wants to get put in the stew pot!    

They wouldn't let go of our hands
"Marhaba! Hello!"
Last Friday we ran the JERUSALEM MARATHON (aka the Jerusalem 10K, but that doesn't roll off the tongue as well).  6.2 miles never felt so much like I was going to pass out/have my legs fall off fantastic.  I vaguely remember doing cross-country for 4 years in high school, but that was a different time.  I'm in a new decade of my life, remember?!  My group and I (okay mostly it was me because little baby whiner face is my middle name) decided to sprint the downhills and walk the uphills.  And boy, did we fly!  Inhaling bugs, weaving in and out of the slowpokes, you know.  It was a beautiful course that went through parts of the Old City, the famous Ben Yahude street in West Jerusalem, and overlooks of the countryside.  The only downside was just how crowded the race was.  It never spread out, which was a little annoying.  If I hadn't been running so super fast (ignore the walking part I said earlier.  I was saying that because my walking is most people's sprinting), I could've stopped to take pics.  If we're being honest here, I only really did it for the t-shirt and medal.  Everyone knows you didn't actually run a race if you didn't get a t-shirt.  And, you have to kiss your medal to make it legit. 

Sweet, sweet victory
Did I mention I ran backwards the whole time?

Sunday morning we're leaving for TURKEY!!!!!!! I don't think I can even convey my excitement with all of those exclamation points.  I was just worried y'all would think I wasn't excited if I didn't put at least three.  I'll take tons of pics and you can bet that this next blog post will be filled with fun. 


  1. You should be a food photographer! The other pics are great too. Herd, Tess, herd. Run, Tess, run!

  2. Don't worry Tess, Madonna dressed up for Purim. Nothing like a middle-aged pop star with her sidekick younger boyfriend to inspire the world. "Cause we are living in a material world..." Speaking of middle-aged, do you think they'd let me apply for next semester?

    We got your postcard. The kids loved it. Alex wanted to know all about where they drink coke in the world. What a McFarland...

    Turkey will be amazing. One of the best places I've visited. Just stay away from the carpet salesmen.

  3. Those sheep looked a little ragged. I bet you guys herded those things in a circle.
    When we tried it in Spain as missionaries, they scattered. They only time they moved well was when gave up and we were leaving the pasture and then they decided to form up and follow us just like in the bible. Have fun in Turkey young "Philly Tess".