Monday, April 8, 2013

Holy Holy Week

It's April already??  Time flies when you take two naps a day!  Yeah, right, I wish.  That's only happened one time since I've been here.  Of course it's been here in Galilee.  I'm a fan of this more slow-paced life.  Of course, "slow-paced" is relative, seeing as we still have class for 3 hours and wake up at 7.  Worth. It.

So, an embarrassingly long time ago (embarrassing because I haven't blogged about it yet), we took a field trip to Bethlehem.  First, we went to Herodion.  It was dirty and windy.  That is all you need to know about that.  We visited a few churches, a few shepherd's fields, and bought blankets.  Baby blankets from Bethlehem!  My kids won't get their dinner until they say that 10 times fast.  Yeah, I do think they'll love me a lot, why do you ask?  Most importantly, we got 30 whole minutes of free time to shop around.  I can't deny it, I'm addicted to the little shops around here!  I hear the words "special price for BYU" and my heart melts.  Well, mostly, my wallet empties.  We went to three shepherd's fields because they are the traditional sites that different denominations recognize as the shepherd's field of Jesus' birth.  We spent a long time at one of the them that was located right on the Mount of Olives.  Sometimes I get caught up in the craziness of exams/soccer practice (I would have written it as "practice" but it's the real deal), but it was nice to have some time to ponder and reflect on Christ's life.
The "exact spot" where Christ was born
Beautiful churches on beautiful churches
Gotta be sheep at the shepherd's field

Shepherd's Field, Take III
Later that week we went snorkeling in Eilat.  I laid on the beach, swam over some coral, and got a little dehydrated I think.  Why yes, I am still a four-year-old who needs to be reminded to drink lots of water.  I would also appreciate it if my friends made airplane noises while feeding me dino nuggets and applesauce.  Now receiving applications to be my friend!  I took basically no pictures, so just imagine me floating on top of the Red Sea.  I'll do my best to put you in my feet (no shoes. snorkeling. duh.)  Sparkly Princess music is now taking you to a daydream/flashback....La la la, I'm just a-swimming around in the Red Sea.  I wonder where the nearest ice cream place is.  Oh, look, a school of fish!  That's really cool.  Maybe I'll change my major to marine biology.  Do you think anyone will notice me picking my wedgie?  Let me get a closer look at that awesome coral down there $ag*!?@giadf#%!!! (me taking in a liter of salt water.  Dontcha know, I'm converted to the metric system?  I'll come back and start referring to everything in kilometers.  Like those people who have visited Chile one time and have to call it "CHIle."  Dude, you're from Montana.)

The best picture I have of Eliat...oops
Some classes and other stuffs happened.  We went to the Old City to celebrate Palm Sunday.  Contrary to popular belief (okay, maybe it was just me), palm fronds are not cuddly.  They are not to be regarded as friendly animals for petting or else used to comfort people (In case you are a robot like me and would choose to stroke someone with a palm frond instead of touching him or her.)  Palm Sunday was a PARTAY! (College Freshman year 7th grade, anyone?  If you used the word "party" instead of "partay," I probably couldn't sit with you at lunch.)  There was a huge parade of people who walked for 2ish hours.  My friends and I joined in near the end at St. Stephen's gate and walked for a few minutes to the end at the Pools of Bethesda/St. Anne's Church.  Whoever said Mormons don't know how to party didn't see me in the Palm Sunday parade!  Granted, it wasn't on the same level as me dancing to Miley Cyrus' musical masterpiece "Can't Be Tamed" or "My Goodies" by Ciara, but it was a great time).

We had three field trips in three days, plus a midterm and a paper.  Talk about stress!  Just kidding, y'all know I was watching Easy A and chillin' like how I do.  The first of the three field trips was to the Jewish Quarter.  We went to two excavated houses, and then the Jerusalem Archaeological Park.  It has the famous steps that Jesus probably walked on.  The next day we visited the Christian Quarter.  It was probably the best field trip ever because most of the churches we were going to visit were closed for Holy Week.  So, our field trip lasted less than 3 hours.  You guys, that never ever happens!  We celebrated by doing something really unique and shopping in the Old City!

Church in the Christian Quarter
We "toured" the Separation Wall on Friday.  Basically, a local Israeli came and showed us a part of the wall, gave some history of it, and then took us to a spot we visited on our first ever field trip.  Talk about coming full-circle.  It's still hard to believe I've been here since January and been to as many places as I have.  I feel like I'll come home and think it was all just a dream.  I mean, it featured the best parts of dreams- lots of ice cream and forgetting to wear underwear in a public place.   

Easter Sunday in Jerusalem was such an amazing experience.  We left the Center before 6 (¡-it's upside down because I hate emoticons and thus an upside-down/sad exclamation point seemed appropriate) to get to the the Garden Tomb's morning service.  Over a thousand people showed up for the service, which was mostly singing led by a worship band.  Since the BYU-JC Centers are well-established in Jerusalem, we had the best seats there!  After the service, we wanted to go to the Temple Mount (with the Dome of the Rock), but the line was super long.  Jerusalem was packed all of Holy Week with pilgrims experiencing the city and all of its holy sites.  We decided to get breakfast as Plan B.  We headed over to the Jewish Quarter excited for a Holy Bagel or a pastry or something delicious.  Even just some cereal from the grocery store.  We headed into the store, and the cereal aisle was boarded up!  This same experience was repeated at Holy Bagel and basically every other place in the Jewish Quarter besides some meat restaurants.  Meat breath in the morning, oh baby!  I honestly don't know why we decided to go to the Jewish Quarter for breakfast.  Not like it was Passover week or anything... leaven really hurt me.  I thought we had something and it was always there for me, but then it left me for a whole week and matzo took its place.  I tried other things, but nothing measured up to leaven.  And then after a week it just expects me to take it back!  Well, you know I did without a second glance at the dry, tasteless thing known as matzo. After walking around looking for a non-Kosher store, we stumbled into a tiny shop with hot pastries!  Talk about serendipity.  John Cusack was the owner, I bought gloves there, good times.  Just kidding, that would be weird.  As we ate, a bag-piping parade passed us by.  Just another reason why Jeru is the best.  We decided to take a leisurely stroll back to the Center, stopping to shop as we went.

"He Is Risen"

Later that day, we played soccer with Palestinian children.  These kids were better than the ones we played with before because they knew a lot of the other students.  Not me, guess I'm not cool enough for 10-yr-olds.  Someday, someday.  My day was made when Ahmed told me I was "pretty good."  Pretty good?? I'll take it and run with it!  My team was a little unbalanced because all of the boys banded together to be on one team.  So, we had about twice as many people.  I only caused a few broken pinkies, so it was a successful game.

Now, I'm in Galilee and I'm super sorry to be so behind in blogging.  Life is still great, but most everyone is excited to go home soon.  It'll be bittersweet saying goodbye, but it's getting time for a new life chapter.  A few more things are still on the agenda- more souvenirs + swimming in the Dead Sea + eating shawarma (yeah, I haven't done that enough yet).  They just don't have anything like it in the states!  And with that I've officially become one of those annoying people that says "the states."  Tess, out.


  1. Yeah - I found it without you even mentioning it - sneaky Tess! Love you being a sheep - I'm glad you're excited to come home - we are too!

  2. I'm so happy to see my baby sister again

  3. Both in pictures and soon in real life!

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  5. So what was the score of the game? Were you victorious? I hope you put the beat down on the 10 year-olds?

    - John