Sunday, January 18, 2009

update

I put pictures on facebook

Jan 18




Man since I have last written I have been to the Garden of Gethsemany, the Western Wall, the birthplace of John the Baptist, the Garden Tomb and more. It has been pretty non stop. I have this feeling like I don't want to second to go wasted. I also have the feeling like I don't ever want it to end. I live in a palace, we have personal cheifs, they wash our sheets, the classes are amazing, the culture and sights are incredible, the spiritual experiences are constant, the people here are thirsty for knowlege and friendship...I can't ask for much more really. Hope all is well with all of you. I'll try to post pictures soon.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Jan 12

I noticed I got a lot of emails about people being worried about how things are here so I wanted to first just clarify that everything out here is 100% safe right now, I promise. They take really good care of our safety here and I haven't once felt scared or threatened about anything. The people here are actually very friendly to us and the previous students have already won the people here over to the point where I'm confident that we would have plenty of help if something were to happen. In a past situation, people actually recognized the students and pulled them into their houses until things calmed down.
I have been out in the Old City these past two days and I feel like I know someone on every corner now. The people just love BYU students and are used to seeing them around.
I went to the church of the Holy Sepulcre for the second time yesterday where they believe is the exact location where Jesus was crucified. They also have the old tomb where they believe Jesus was placed and where the angels said, "He is not here, for he is risen." It is considered in the Christian world as the most sacred spot in all christianity. They also have the actual stone where they believe he was placed on and people bow their heads on this stone in all humility and are just so reverenced by it.
You can feel a deep peace in the church. I can't say that it is because it was really the actual place or if it is because of the honest and pure worship that happens there, but regardless, it is an amazing experience.
The classes are so interesting and today we actually had our first class on Hebrew.
The girl to guy ratio is overwhelming. There are more than three girls to each guy here and you don't want to hurt feelings so that has been interesting...
Know that things really are safe and that I'm doing my best to make the most out of this experience. See ya

Friday, January 9, 2009

Jan 9

We had our Old Testament and Near Eastern Studies classes today which turned out to be amazing classes with great information and insights. We spent two hours on the first three chapters of Genesis alone and I learned a lot of new things. NES is going to be insane! We're going to first learn about the early river societies, which I have learned about before, but the cool part about it is that we'll be in Egypt in just a couple weeks to be able to see first hand the places we're learning about.
I'm chair of the "Out of Jerusalem Activities" and we are thinking about going to a place called Eilat to go scubba diving with these awesome coral reefs and exotic fish out there. We're also thinking about going Kayaking in a place in Galillee called Abu down the Jordan River. Also I'm hearing that you can get a camel ride in Egypt for pretty cheap and I am all over that. If anyone has any suggestions for outside of Jerusalem activities, let me know.
There are protests in the old city today so I'm stuck in the ceneter, but that's pretty normal here and things should be calmed down within the week if not tomorrow. We're actually close enough to the old city that you can actually see what's going on there too.
I have a huge homework load and we'll be learning about the 5 Pillars of Islam tonight so I'll be in touch soon.
I'll also try to upload some pictures soon.
Oh, and also I can't get this spell checker to work so there will be spelling errors, sorry.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Getting settled update


To the near thousands of people who follow my blog I felt obligated to update all of you on the recent events in my visit to the Holy Land...
First of all the flights were so incredibly long that when we all got to the orientations, we knew we wouldn't remember what was being said when we woke up the next morning. The longest flight was from D.C. to Vienna. It was with Austrian airlines and all the Flight Attendants were Austrian women in red suits with a baby blue neckerchief. When I first got on, I asked where one of them was from and she said Austria...for those of you who have seen Dumb and Dumber, you'll know how I wanted to respond!
So the city of Tel Aviv tuened out to be a place I absolutely will have to visit again while I'm here. On the ride on the bus from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem was a very scenic route and as we neared the city, things finally really started to sink in and I was grasping the fact that I was really about to be in Jerusalem, just as I had that thought we turned and the Dome of the Rock was right in front of us! That was what made it official that we were really in the Old City.
The Center itself is so awesome. We got off the bus and walked through the front garden into the top (8th) floor where we were welcomed by the wonderful seasoned people that host the students year round.
The are only small elevators that work on three of the eight floors so we helped the girls get their luggage to their rooms. Really this was a big job considering that for every male there are more than three females here. The pros outweigh the cons obviously though.
I can't remember anything but how tired I was for the rest of the night for all the the orientation classes and tours. The next thing I remember was being woken up at 5am by some different sounding sort of chanting music that blared throught the whole city. It is part of Islam that you pray 5 times a day (this is one of the five "Pillars of Islam") and they let the whole city know about it aparently. People here say it takes about two months to become acustomed enough to sleep through it.
Imagine this though, I woke up and sat up in my bed and looked out through the sliding glass doors, over the patio. Staring me right in the face is the Dome of the Rock. Yeah, I can see that from my bed!
The food is the best! All the hummus you can eat and really different food that tastes really good. And the best part: all you can eat. After breakfast we went on sort of a "wet your appetite" walk within the walls of Jerusalem and saw different places like the Church of the Holy Sepulcre where they believe that Jesus was Cruficied. We met all the different owner of the shops that, for obvious reasons, love the BYU students here. We saw so many other things, but I'll have to go back to really have more time and be able to soak everything in. I have to go right now, but there is more to come.
A special thanks goes out to evryone who made this world famos blog what it is today.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Is Jordan really the "blogging type."

Simply put, not really. But although bloggers are usually a certain type (interpret that as you will), I think this will be the most effective way to document and share my trip to Jerusalem to everyone at once and save myself a lot of time. I hope it serves that purpose.