Thursday, February 26, 2009

A couple pictures

Summer Sales Update

I just found out we'll be going to Portland Oregon this summer. I have never been North West and I feel unbalanced having not lived there. So this will be the fourth corner of the U.S., fun fun. We're celebrating the Pass Over meal today here at the center, the only bummer is that I have to dress up...

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Feb 25

Today I had one of the coolest days out here yet. We went to Hesekia's tunnels which are underground tunnels they used in times before Christ to bring water into the city without getting attacked, since the water was outside the city. We were waiste deep in the water in a pitch black cave with flashlights. The day was very eventful after that and we went to a bunch of churches and met a ton of cool people along the way. The coolest thing was meeting this Armenian guy that was just going to show me the view from his house of the Old City and it turned out that he took four of us into his house and talked with us for a while and invited us to come any weekend and have a BBQ and that he would introduce us to his neighbors and that we could hang out with all the people there. I had never really been in a native's house like that before and thought that was such a cool thing. I have his number and a lot of people here really want to do that. I thought it was cool because Shant (who is Armenian) has a family that always treated us like this guy did! So sweet.

The day was really just filled with the theme of awesome people and that's what made it one of the best days yet.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Feb 23

I had a spare moment to go to the Old City and we went to an old old library that has been run by the same family for years and years. We got to see the coolest old books! They had this one book on poisons and remedies that was dated back to 997. It was so amazing, this lady that was nice enough to show us this stuff (which is not common to get in, but this one girl in our group, Jane, is able to win anyone and everyone over) and she was just handling the books like it was no big deal and letting us handle them and take pictures.
Then, like usual, we hit up a couple churches before Hebrew class. We Have been playing soccer and volleyball any chance we aren't studiying or exploring around the City. Life is almost too easy here. There are no real trials or difficulties and that in itself is the biggest trial.
Sacrament meeting here is like General Conference every time. The spirit of the people here, along with the spirit of the place just make things intense. I gave a talk on Shabbat (Saturday) and I figured it would be pretty good. I had some cool new ideas on how to really define and develope humility from C.S. Lewis from "Screwtape Letters" and worked on it foor about an hour, maybe two the night before. Well, it turned out that the big window behind you as you speak, with the view of the old city was really scenic while I was speaking because we were having a huge thunder storm with big old lightening bolts reaching across the whole skyline. Also, right before I spoke, there was a violin/piano piece that a couple of extremely talented students played and that just set the stage so that my talk had to be good. I am pretty sure that was my most favorite talk I have given or can ever imagine giving. Music, weather, subject matter, view, people, it all just lined up perfectly for a great experience. I am really happy about that whole deal.
The food here is sooo good here by the way. That's just a cherry on top right? Hasta pronto.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Feb 19

What's up people? Yesterday I had one of my favorite experiences here yet. We went to Yad Vashem which is a Holocaust museum here in Isreal. The work they put into the place is amazing. As you walk through, it is all in a sort of artlike architecture that is symbolic of different things they want to convey like unhealed wounds and the good that is yet found in human beings. I had studied the Holocaust before, but never in such an upclose and personal way. They have survivor stories playing all around that are just impactful. They have all the names of the victims they can find and pictures of the people so as to "help them live that much longer." Yad Vashem in Hebrew translates to memorial name. It comes from Isaiah when the Lord promises that their name will be conserved for all eternity. Jewish culture and history is so rich.
Two days ago we took a group to Tel Aviv, which is the major city around here. We just hung out on the beach for hours, shopped around at the outdoors markets and got some hambergers and had a lot of fun there. We were also celebrating our friend Andrea's birthday, there were ten of us and it was a fun dynamic.
Classes are still very demanding, but in a good way. I am convinced that some of the stuff we learn here, I wouldn't be able to learn anywhere else in the world in a school, really. Like in our Ancient Near Eastern History class we are able to take archeological evidence, writings, modern revelation and everything else and have a real lesson in history. I had no idea how many stories in the bible had concrete evidence of their reality. I didn't worry too much about those stories really happening, I just benefited from the lessons they taught, but to see the amount of things we learn here is incredible. We can really dive into all of the Old Testament stroies here. We haven't even touched the New Testament yet! I am so excited for that.
I am making a lot of great friends here. I had no idea how much the people would make this program or break it potentially. It must be like that in all study abroad programs, but I had never thought of that. The people here really do make it though. Too many to even mention all of them. But my roomate chris is the ideal roomate. Man we have so much fun. Everyone guesses that we knew each other before. I mentioned Andrea who is such a great friend to have and has been so fun to have around here. All the teachers are so awesome! While I was writting this, chris got on the phone and called one of them, brother skinner, and said "Hey bro skinner I had a couple questions about the reading, can I come down to your apartment to ask you a couple things? Ok, be there in a second." Its crazy living with them. Chris and I even home teach all their daughters!
Alright well I'd better go, Hasta pronto.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

well darn

I couldn't get those pictures up woth this internet connection here, sorry!

Feb 15

What's up everyone? So I finally got to go to the chruch of Mary Magdalene and that was really cool. Gosh maybe I'll take some time today and post some pictures. We have been really keeping busy with school work and tests, wee have yet another one tomorrow for Jewish Civilization and we just had one for Ancient near eastern studies. We have been playing volleyball a ton here. Last semester they mentioned they played basketball a lot, but this semester we have some good players and things get nice and competitive. Other than that I have a great roomate and a lot of really good friends here and that makes things a lot better too.
I'm speaking this Shabbat on Humility and hope I can do as well at conveying the spirt like pretty much all the speakers have done so far. We have great church services here, everyone just has a deep desire to know the Savior and grow and be better. Scripture study has been really good too.
V day was great, all the people here really make an effort to make everyone around them feel loved and you often see people expressing gratitude and speaking well of each other, it's just a good group of people. It's a joke that everyone comes from such perfect back grounds. We just had a talent show and it was amazing seeing all the talents we have here. I played "One Year Six Months" by Yellowcard on guitar with a friend of mine Andrea and I feel like it went really well. I had never formally performed like that, but I really liked it. You all should have seen some of the other talents though, it really is an amazing group.
Happy V Day to everyone and sorry for all the birthdays I forget about. I thought of Moms and Carlene's but it stayed at just a bad. Maybe one day I'll do better at all that stuff. Hope all it well, I miss my nieces the most. Hasta pronto.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Feb 9, 2009

Ok so I have concluded that I really don't like to blog that reasons being that I don't have any kind of feedback and have no idea if people are reading what I write, I don't get responses like I used to on my mission and I liked having a time set aside to write people which is not the case here. So unfulfilling might be the overall description word I'm looking for. We are always on the go here and I am really having the time of my life people! I just got back from the place where Sampson broght down the building, also where David killed Galiath. We learned how to use slings to throw rocks, read those scriptures where they happened and the coolest part was we sang hymns in a cave and them explored through some crazy old caves and had places where you have to shimmy your way through to be able to even move. I have to go!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Egypt Jan 2

So the reason I haven't written in a while is because I just got back from Egypt baby! I really don't have a lot of time now because we have a midterm tomorrow and I need to get things done. Its really an ordeal to load pictures here and that's why I haven't posted much at all anywhere. But we saw the pyramids, road camels, sleeper trains, buses, taxis, airplanes, horse drawn carriages, rode sail and motor boats, hiked mount Siani at sun rise, had sacrament meeting in street clothes, fought off perverts from the girls, bought cheap stuff and negotiated sweet prices for things like t shirts and papyrus scrolls, went to museums and all kinds of Egyptian sites, learned along the whole way, saw mummies, slept any chance we could get, the list goes on. I have to go, but I'll post soon.