Thursday, April 25, 2013

Jerusalem, If I Forget You

Goodbye genie pants and jewelry stores
Well, somehow I made it to the U.S.!  I'm just sitting in my queen-size bed(!) writing my last blog post. Yeah, I don't get it either.  I would post a picture but 5 chins is a little more than most can handle.  But really, how was I in the Jewish Quarter eating pastries just yesterday?  Sorry, I'll try not to make this post too sentimental.  I'll start with the last few field trips and then we'll see where this goes.  Sorry I couldn't get around to posting this in Jeru- the last few days went by so quickly!  The Sunday after Galilee, we went on a field trip to the Dead Sea, Masada, Qumran, and Ein Gedi.  The good news?  We got to wear shorts!  The bad news?  I was temporarily blinded by some pasty white legs/sustained some fairly major injuries when I brushed against a few of the girl's hairy legs. When it's wintertime, girls go wild aka their razors go into  hibernation.  What can you do I guess?  I am strong.  I am invincible.  I am WOMAN.  Masada was a bit hot but it was the site of an ancient fortress on top of a cliff.  Qumran was basically just this cliff thing.  Well, probably more significant than that but I'm really tired (remember the bed thing? I'm not really a person that "tries to beat jetlag."  I embrace it wholeheartedly, taking as many naps as possible and staying up all night watching Netflix.

Cistern in Masada
Jess and Tess
The Dead Sea.  Ahh, what to say about that place.  Well, it was pretty fun because you could float!  Other than that, the Dead Sea has few redeeming qualities.  We realized that we could bob up and down and we would barely touch the bottom.  However, all of that bobbing fun did not go without consequences.  Oh, it burned.  Like a fiery dragon blowing where the sun don't shine.  Basically, major pain and it wouldn't stop.  We quickly realized the bob was crazy painful and the only way to prevent "fire burning" was by floating.  We also coated ourselves in natural black mud and our bodies ended up super smooth and softy.  Another word of warning: if you accidentally get splashed with water, pray for help to get you through the subsequent few minutes.  Your eyes burn.  Your tongue burns.  Everything burns!
                             The Dead Sea- Float or Die!                                                                                                                            
After washing off from the Dead Sea, we went to a natural spring called Ein Gedi.  It had waterfalls and was very beautiful.

No, I'm not wearing my mom's suit from the 90s...
On Wednesday my friends and I decided to do something awesome.  With help from YouTube and Just Dance, we choreographed our very own boy band dance.  It was a mashup of "Dynamite," "Space Cowboy," and "You Don't Know You're Beautiful."  All the essentials.  It was probably the best performance I've ever been a part of.  Jackets were thrown off, the crowd went wild, and I was lifted off the stage by two strong men.  Does it get much better than that?

On our second to last "Official Free Day," we hit up the classics.  We went to the Dome of the Rock, the Western Wall, Schindler's Grave, and, of course, shopping.  I have to say, Schindler's Grave was so much more meaningful after watching "Schindler's List" and visiting Yad Veshem.
My mission-bound best friend
Putting my prayer in the Western Wall

The following week we had finals.  Insert me grumbling/trying to sleep here.

The next week's free day was filled with shopping and walking around West Jerusalem.  It was rainy and cold, but we didn't wimp out!  When we got too cold/wet, we went to the Waffle Bar to recharge.  Hello white/milk chocolate sauce all over a rich waffle.  Come to momma T!  After lunch, we went to the Shuk (the covered outdoor market) for the last time.  We bought awesome pants and found apples the size of a small child's head. 

Spice stores are pretty
On Monday and Tuesday, we went to places that were a part of Christ's Last Week.  After the field trip stops, we could go around the city.  Just some last-minute shopping (there's ALWAYS more to do.  I mean, crappy long-lasting Old City gifts are the best!) and eating.  Foods I will miss? Falafel, baklava, these delicious red straw candies, and basically any kind of chocolate candy.  European chocolate is far better than American chocolate (say hello to Miss East Coast Snob, amiright?)  I won't miss the all-natural peanut butter they served at the Oasis, though.  I'm a Jif girl any day.

And that's about it.  The last few days were filled with goodbyes, sitting on my suitcase to make everything fit (yep, it doesn't just happen in the movies), and exploring Jerusalem for the last time.  For our last day in the Holy Land, I did not have many things I wanted to do.  Above all, my friends and I had to visit our favorite place in the Old City- the Jewish Quarter.  It has everything you could ever want- a Spanish guitarist, lots of people, and delicious food.  Yesterday I ate my last falafel and only bought 1 souvenir.  Talk about something to put in the record books!  I signed the money changers "Book of Mormons," and wrote a note full of advice for future JC students.

For those of you who have been wondering, here's a few shots of the JC.  I did live there for a while I guess.

The chapel/auditorium.  See the Dome?
The Oasis= breakfast, lunch, and dinner
So painful with suitcases

I'm so grateful I got the chance to come here- even if I had less than a week to prepare.  Somehow I made it all work (with a lot of help from people I love) and I am so glad I didn't pass up the opportunity.  To anyone and everyone reading, you must visit Jerusalem!  Hey, I'll even come back as your tour guide.  Thanks for reading diligently.  It's been great writing this blog and feeling like I am somehow connected to my loved ones back in the U.S.  Shalom, y'all!

Old City street
 Church of the Holy Sepulchre

Jerusalem, if I forget you, Let my right hand forget what it's supposed to do.


  1. Oustanding experiences recorded in a wonderful blog. So glad you went; great to have you home. Dad