My Jerusalem story begins with traveling, airports, sleep deprivation. After being in Utah with the fam for a few marvelous days and after an exceptional Christmas Break, I headed to the SLC airport at 4 am on January 6th. From Salt Lake, half the students for the BYU Jerusalem program, about 40 of us, flew to Denver, then to Washington DC. Woo hoo, my first time on the East Coast. Although I don’t think the airport is a very good representation of it. In DC, I enjoyed my last few moments in America and in my own country, then…
Traveling… to the Holy Land!8 January 2009
On to Vienna we went. We flew with Austrian Air and it was soooo different not having everything in English. The flight attendents weren’t American, all the little caution stickers and stuff weren’t in English, and the movies came in four different languages. And the airplane was so bright and colorful too, which I loved. The seats were bright green and the pillows were red or yellow and it was happy happy. After that 8 hour flight, where we got two meals and we all had a personal tv screen, we arrived in Vienna!
Whoa… my first time out of the US. When I went to the bathroom, I definitely knew I wasn’t in America anymore because first of all, I wasn’t in the bathroom, I was in the WC, water closet. So that was fun. Then I went in, and I was wondering where all the stalls were. But toilets there are like all in their own separate room, with a real door, and with no cracks or open spaces for weirdo people to see through. :)
And then when I was going to flush after I had finally discovered where the toilets were, I couldn’t find the flusher. There was no button anywhere, but there was this big silver panel thing above the toilet. I thought it might be under that, but nope; the big silver thing was the button. So the toilet flushed and I left my little private toilet room and washed my hands with green paper towels. Fun times in the Vienna airport bathroom. Then… three hour flight to Tel Aviv, Israel, where we got another meal! Man those US airlines are cheapo.
Tel Aviv. Israel. My first time in a different country. I am a foreigner. It’s different. It’s good. I love it.
When all 80 students had arrived at the airport, we rode these two big, nice buses to the BYU Jerusalem Center for Near Eastern Studies. It was probably a 45 minute bus ride maybe, and my coooool friend from Hawaii, Kara, and I rode together. The bus ride was crazy because this is a totally different place, totally different. I’m in the Middle East. All of the buildings and houses and geography are nothing like I’ve been around. It’s so good to experience other parts of the world.
We finally arrived at the center at 5 pm on Wednesday night, after 28 hours of traveling. The staff was telling us, “Welcome home!” and hooray, I’m home for now! My goodness it is so exciting being here. I absolutely love it! So I was quite exhausted, as was everyone else, but we had a little orientation meeting, which I partly slept through, and we had to meet a couple teachers. When I finally got to go to sleep, it was happy happy.
I love being here in this Holy Land.