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Two Very Good Days

28 March 2009
Friday, March 27: Freeeee!
I had the most delightful day. I walked far far far down the beach all by myself and sat there in the sand and the shells and the rocks. I just sat. I listened. I wrote. I took pictures or my gecko toe ring that I got in Hawaii. I miss that place.

There are these beautiful little creations of shells all over the beach. You can just pick up solid handfuls of shells.
Then when I was walking back from my secret beach spot, I discovered even more ladybugs! They are all over. There are three right here on this little plant alone. Whoa. Ladybugs are so fun.
Yay! I found a kippa too! Kippas are the little hat things that Jewish men wear on their head. I don’t really know how they keep them on, but with all of the Jews on the kibbutz and with all of the wind on the Sea of Galilee, you’d think I’d be finding a plethora of kippas on the beach. But nope, just the one.
That evening we went to a restaurant where you could either get fish, pizza, or spaghetti. Since I am very unfortunately not a fan of fish, I got spaghetti. But they just plop down this plate in front of you with an entire little fishy on it.

We put a 5 shekel coin in its mouth too, just like the story that Christ tells about paying taxes or something, or telling Peter to go fishing and he’ll find the money inside of it. I don’t really remember the story, but here’s the picture to go along with it.

Since I didn’t eat the fish like everyone else did, I thought I should at least eat the eyeball.
Clearly it tasted pretty good. Actually, it wasn’t that bad at all. There wasn’t much taste. It was just kind of gross chewing a fish eyeball.
Then we went drove to the other side of the lake and went to Tiberias. There was a store called HAPPY DAY! Yay! It was pretty much wicked awesome.

Saturday, March 27: Shabbat
Since my group was having church later in the afternoon, I was free all morning. I got my scriptures and went and sat on the shores of the Sea of Galilee and read about Jesus being on the shores of the Sea of Galilee. Awesome, I know. I’m so lucky.

I sat in the grass too, underneath the beautiful sunshine. Then I took a picture of my Jerusalem Bible sandals, which are the best in the world.
And I got my BIRTHDAY BOX! A couple from Jerusalem came up to Galilee and brought all of our mail. YAY!
They sent my chunky peanut butter. I have the best family in the world. I loved this box so so so much. It made my day so wonderful. Mail is the happiest.
Then we went to another baptismal site on the Jordan River, where there were plaques of the Jesus baptism story in about five million languages. This is one Hawaiian pidgin. Dearest Hawaiian Kara read it for us.
Moon and I took this lovely picture while we were singing hymns and a couple primary songs. We sang one of my favorite songs that is maybe called “I Like to Look for Rainbows.” Good one.
GALILEE ROOMIES! Breana. Chelsea. Aleni. Hayley. We had so much fun in little cabana 154.
This is on the Jordan River. A lot of people get baptised here. It is beautiful.
Go in peace!
Then it was time for church. So we went to Tiberias and had a fabulous sacrament meeting. It was so so so so beautiful.

Here’s the view from where we had church. The view is great from the Center looking out at the city of Jerusalem, but I thought this was even better.

pretty colors
all the lovely ladies
purple day!
Chelsea and roomie Lauren
purple. yellow. and a little red. fabulous colors.
Goodbye Tiberias. Hope to see you again. Back at Ein Gev, Elyse and I happened to be rockin’ our purple genies. Gotta love those genie pants, and shabbat.



26 March 2009

Wednesday, March 25: Woke up of course. Got ready. Walked out my door. Picked a beautiful hibiscus from the bush in front of my door. Put the beautiful hibiscus in my hair. Went to breakfast. Ate some yummy yummy granola with yogurt. Walked back to the lovely shores of the Sea of Galilee. Had three wonderful hours of New Testament class with Brother Huff.  Ate lunch that wasn’t very good. Free for the rest of the beautiful afternoon to wander the beach.

I wandered. I wondered. I looked at lots of little shells.
I tried to read this Korean writing, or maybe it’s Japanese. Sorry, I don’t really know.
People made some fabulous sand creations. The Dome of the Rock. It makes us feel like home, Jerusalem.
At sunset, we had a little photo shoot.
My skirt got wet. Yay! Thursday, March 26: Field Trip
Our first stop was Gamla, which means CAMEL! Because this little mountain resembles a camel, my new favorite animal. Don’t worry though, llamas still have a very special place in my heart.
We went on a little hike down the hill to see some more cool ruins. These were from one of the oldest synagogues in Israel or something like that. 
Lauren and I jumped for joy off of some ruins, because ruins bring about great joy in us.
It was another fabulously beautiful day and so good to be in green mountains. I miss green.
There were beautiful wildflowers all over too. I love love love wildflowers. 
I bought this sweet leopard cowboy hat too for 20 sheks/$5 when we were at Gamla. It’s the coolest of cool.

After Gamla, we went to Qazrin, a Talmudic village, where the Talmud (which is part of Jewish holy books) would’ve been worked on way back in the day. I took notes in my sweet little note taking journal.

We saw a bunch of cutesy little Jewish kids there doing fun things.
Then we got back on the bus and went back to Ein Gev for the rest of the beautiful Galilean day.
People were playing on the beach. It was simply marvelous.
Along with the Dome of the Rock, the cool kids made a Sphinx. Maybe we should make sand creations of all the cool places we’ve been too, because we have definitely been some awesome possum places.
That night, we went down to the beach and lit some fun little sparklers and a few firework things. I love Galilee, best field trip ever.


Stacy’s Birthday

24 March 2009
Happy Birthday dearest sister Stacy! I love the girl, even if she’s kinda crazy. Actually, I think I love her because she’s crazy. I miss her. I’m so excited to see her soon. Yay!
This was our first day in the Galilee. We left for our field trip at 7:30 and hopped on a boat and went to sea. Oh I love to be at sea. We were going from one side of the lake all the way to the other, and it was a bit choppy out. We read some scripture stories and sang hymns, since we do that everywhere we go. It is wonderful.

As we sang “Master, the Tempest is Raging”, the wind was blowing and the waves were going and you could just imagine Christ walking on the water and calming the seas. 
Our boat ride took us to Nof Ginnosar (or something like that that sounded like dinosaur), where we saw the ancient Jesus boat. They discovered this boat deep in the mud in the Sea of Galilee. This boat is from the time of Jesus. They have had to do so much to preserve it and to get it out of the water without having it fall apart completely. This ancient boat is pretty cool beans.
Then we went to the Mt. of Beatitudes where I put another beautiful hibiscus in my hair. I had one of these pretty little flowers in my hair everyday in Galilee. I love it.
Beatus is Latin means to be happy or to be fortunate, so the Beatitudes are to make us happy. Brother Huff, one of our religion teachers, gave us a lesson about them here at the Mt. of Beatitudes. It was so so so beautiful here, with trees and green things and flowers and sunshine and rain. I love it.
Then we went to Tagbha, which honors the loaves and fishes miracle where Jesus fed the 5000 with five loaves and two fishes.

I lit a candle.

Tagbha is also where St. Peter’s Primacy is and is where Christ told Peter to “Feed my sheep.”
There were hugest heart shaped rocks I’ve ever seen.
Next stop was Capernaum, the base of Jesus’s Galilean ministry and also Peter’s house was, which became Christianity’s first church house.
This is a Holy Place.
I love rainbows.
Our last stop for the day was Kursi where the there are signs that say “Danger Mines!” because that area is part of the Golan Heights and Israel and Syria have been fighting over it.
The miracle of the swine, when Jesus cast the devils out of a person and into a bunch of pigsthat then ran down the hill, also happened here. It was so beautiful here and so windy on top of this hill. Oh so glorious.
Now for my favorite part of the day:

We went back to Ein Gev, the kibbutz resort thing where we stayed, and I went to the beach! Yay! The beach is my most favorite place in the entire world. I had the most delightful evening.
First I found a ladybug. His name is Winston.
I frolicked down the beach by myself and found a dead fish and named it Octavius.
I then gave him a proper burial service and said some beautiful kind words of remembrance. Every creature deserves that.
I found another ladybug and named her Emmaline, Winston’s lover.
Then I found a big plastic bag and the water and took it out of the water because things like that do not need to be in the water. Then I decided to fill it with trash, because there was a lot of trash on the beach and I did not like seeing it at all. So I participated in a self sponsored beach cleanup. 
I also found a sweet new pair of shoes.
To top that off, I wore my sweet Michael Jackson shirt all day long. It was such an excellent day, must be because my dear sister turned 25 on this lovely day. I do love birthday celebrations, and Winston, and Octavius, and beach cleanups, and beach walks, and the Sea of Galilee. What an excellent day.


To the Galilee!

23 March 2009
This lovely day was the departure day for the beloved Galilee trip where 11 days of pure goodness were spent. The Galilee is about 100 miles north of Jerusalem maybe. There is the big beautiful Sea of Galilee, which is also called Lake Tiberias or the Kinneret. We stayed at a Kibbutz, a Jewish community thing, where there was a little resort type thing. The kibbutz was called Ein-Gev and it was right on the beautiful beach. 
To start our long day, we got on el bus-o at 6:30 and drove to Caesarea Maritima. As soon as we got off there I went to use the loo, because that’s what I do everywhere we go. You never know when there is a toilet around so you’ve got to use it whenever you can. Plus I drink lots and lots of water which quite often makes me have to go pretty badly. :) 
Anyway, when I walked out of the bathroom at this site, it smelled like fetal pigs in the air. It took me straight back to my high school freshman biology with Mr. Eller and dissecting fetal pigs. Good times, good times. Mr. Eller is one of the greatest teachers ever, definitely. The smell of fetal pigs however, not so good. I don’t know why it smelled like fetal pigs either, but that’s what I thought of.

Caesarea Maritima was a port on the Mediterranean built by Herod the Great way back in the day. There were more Roman ruins, since Rome had lots of control over the Holy Land way back then. But I didn’t really care about any of the ruins. All I cared about was the Mediterranean! Oh my oh my I need the sea.

As soon we were done sitting in the ol’ amphitheater I went down and put my feet in the water. Yay! I was so happy with my little toes dancing in the water. It was the best.
When we were done learning about the place and listening to Brother Huff’s many great wisdom, we had free time to go wander around. Yay! I headed straight to the beach. There wasn’t much sand; it was mostly all baby little shells. I loved it so much. I sat there by myself having a lovely reunion with the beach. It was glorious. Along with the cutesy little shells, I found some sweet Mediterranean beach glass for my dearest sister, who I am so excited to see soon.

I was sad when we had to get back on the bus because I didn’t want to leave the beach but luckily our next stop was at a beach too. And this place looked like Hawaii beaches. We stopped here because of these ruins of a big aquifer or something. Hmm… not really sure. All I cared about was the water and the sand and the sunshine and the happiness. 

Kara and I miss Hawaii’s beautiful beaches very much, especially Kara I’m sure, since she not only goes to BYU-H but since she’s Hawaiian too. She’s a pretty cool girl. Yep.

I can’t help myself from getting the water. After a while I just let my skirt down and got the whole bottom half wet. Then when I got on the bus, I was all sandy and wet, my favorite.

You must take jumping pictures everywhere you go. It took us like ten tries to get a decent one though. Classic.

I don’t know where this pose came from, but my legs are out of control.

Next we went to Megiddo, where the future apocalyptic battle and also where 26 layers of ancient cities have been found. This is also where Kara and I took pictures of yourself as you can see.
I took pictures of some little shells I found on the beach too as I sat atop Tel Megiddo overlooking the Jezreel Valley. 

Also while I was sitting there in the wind listening to Brother Brown tell us all sorts of good things, I found a ladybug! Yay! This is the first of my many future ladybug friends for the Galilee trip.

Then we took pictures of what it might look like at the Battle of Armageddon before the Second Coming. We like to take pictures. 

Nazareth was the next stop, the place where Christ grew up. We went to the Church of Annunciation first, where a bunch of different nations created a depiction of the immaculate conception. They were so beautiful. Wow. Wow. Actually, the entire church was incredible and so huge and amazing. 




The next church was dedicated to St. Joseph which was great because usually Joseph, Mary’s husband, is forgotten about. But was a remarkable person, being the husband of Mary and helping to raise Jesus. Churches are fabulous.

After that we went into the Nazareth synagogue where Christ makes his grand announcement in front of all of these people he knew and tells them that he is the Messiah. He is the Messiah that Isaiah speaks about. The people reacted by saying that how could this man, the son of Joseph the Carpenter, be the Son of God. But they were wrongo big time.
By the way, the kind of carpenter that Joseph was was really more of an artisan. He knew how to work with all types of media and do all types of things. He didn’t do just strictly wood. I think that carpenter is just one of the many meanings from the original translated word. 
We left Nazareth and finally made it to the kibbutz, where I ate some yummy yummy soup. Mmm…. I love soup. Makes me excited for Holly girl’s vegetable chowder when I get home. 

Living in Bible Times

22 March 2009
Neot Kedumim… what does that mean? I don’t know. But that’s what our field trip was called today. We went to this place where you do all these things like they used to do in the Bible. Fun fun.
First we had a little sheep herding contest. We had to get all of the sheep to move from circled area to circled area and keep them in there for 30 seconds. My team won. Yay!

Good thing I didn’t try to herd the sheep by myself, because they were quite unresponsive to me. Actually, when I tried to get a picture with them, they just avoided me and ran away.
They ran away from Kara too.
Then we went caterpillar hunting, as they did in the Bible. Just kidding. I just have this new fascination with bugs and I like to make friends with them. Except…
THE CATERPILLAR POOPED ON ME! I was observing its incredibly engineered body, then I saw a little something coming out of its bum and screamed and the caterpillar fell on the ground. Then I looked on the ground and saw this little green conglomeration of caterpillar poo. Wow… a whole new realm of understanding with the fecal matter world.
After the caterpillar poo incident, we ground up some hyssop and some other stuff and made some sort of spice. Lauren is so good with that ol’ mortar and pestle.

This is my hand that I used for my mortar and pestle party. Check out my new watch… HARRY POTTER!
When I take notes on the field trip, I like to draw pictures. Today I drew a lovely picture of Harry Potter. I’m a big fan of that HP.

It is getting so beautiful here. There are flowers all over the place. Also in my time in nature, I found some mosquito eaters in love. Then all of these little children found a chameleon or some big lizard type thing. Cool to the max.We also saw a Torah scribe. The Torah is the first five books of Moses and the Jews are such devout Torah studiers. The Torah scroll has to be had written by a scribe, who studies how to do it and it has to be perfect. Incredible edible egg.Almost as exciting as watching the scribe was finding a bathroom. Hooray for toilets. Actually, I’d rather squat than use a lot of the toilets over here. 

It was a delightful little field trip today. I loved it. It was great because a lot of times we just go and see sites and ruins and its fun stuff when you herd sheep and do things. And also, it was just so beautiful today. Green, sunshine, flowers, I love it.

I love the Garden of Gethsemane.

21 March 2009

I went today after church with a group of people and we went throughout the Garden and all found a nice quite place to write in our journals or read scriptures. Gethsemane is pretty small, but it is peaceful there. What a fabulous place to ponder.

I was walking around looking for my contemplation spot and saw Chris with a little friend. He found this cute little turtle crawling on the ground. You gotta love that Jerusalem wildlife. I love going to Gethsemane.

Christ performed the atonement in this place. He suffered for the sins of the world here. How blessed I am to be able to be where so much has happened.



20 March 2009

I went to the Shuk today! Hooray!
It is the Jewish outdoor market and I love this type of shopping. They sell wicked cheap fruits and vegetables and lots of nuts and spices. Then there are some clothing and souvenir shops and pretty much anything else you could ever think of, or maybe half of the stuff you could think of.

And of course… they sell kippas!

There’s also people that play music and stuff. There was this cool dude selling things that Stefanie and I just had to take a picture with, and this is it. Awesome possum huh. What interesting people this world has… :)

Clearly, the Shuk is the happening place. I love it.


Ein Kerem

18 March 2009

Today we had a free day so we went to Ein Kerem, which a beautiful little village where John the Baptist was born. I loved it so much here.

See… so beautiful. I love nature. :)

We went into a few churches there and inside guess what there where… mosaics! Yep. It’s true. Some cool people many many many years ago made this beautiful church and this cute little birdie mosaic.

Churches are holy.

Flowers are so beautiful. I love them. I love them in my hair. I love sunshine and flowers and Ein Kerem all together.

Inside one of the churches there was this absolutely beautiful painting of Mother Mary and Baby Jesus. I love it.

When we were walking around the town, I walked by this car and there was a car seat in it. But that’s not the best part… as you can see, there was a doll sitting in the carseat and it pretty much cracked me up. So I took a picture and am showing it to the world.

Marianne, Chelsea, and Cate outside of St. John’s church. I think this commemorates John the Baptist’s birthplace.

Chelsea and Shamra, my cool to the max roomie, inside the church

Outside of the church there were all of these plaques with scriptures about John the Baptist in lots of different languages. This one is francais. Hooray! Je l’aime.

beautiful little magical staircase

After buying a sandwich, an apple, and some love nuts and eating it in a park, we continued our Ein Kerem journeys. We wandered into a little art gallery with these beautiful gardens outside. The guy had some really cool art and I loved his gallery. Here’s some pomegranates.

Then we walked on this oh so magical path to go to the hospital up on the hill that had some incredible stained glass windows. They were done by Marc Chagall and there are 12 of them, one for each tribe of Israel. They are amazing.

Sitting on the hillside pondering the eternities… :)


O Little Town of Bethlehem

17 March 2009
St. Patrick’s Day is so cool, especially when you have a field trip to Bethlehem! 
     Bethlehem is in the West Bank, which is Palestinian territory. For the most part, Palestinians are not allowed out and Israelis are not supposed to go in. Other people can go there of course, and to get there, you have to go through the border and through the big, ugly Separation Wall.
     At the beginning of our field trip, our professor for our Palestinian/Muslim studies class, Dr. Adnan Musallam, met us and he taught us things about the West Bank and another guy did too. Then we went to Bethlehem University.
     It was so cool being there because we were interacting with college students just like us. They were all Palestinian and 70% of the 3000 students are Muslims with the other 30% are Christians. We talked to them for a long time and it was so good because you really realize that we are so similar. They really want peace of course. They want to meet with Israeli youth and talk with them, but it is practically impossible. Many Palestinians and Israelis want to meet together, but they can’t. 
     Dr. Musallam is the coolest. He is such a genuine person and wants to teach us so badly. He is so proud of his heritage. He was just smiling the whole time while we were there, learning about his people, his life, and his home. We were smiling too. Adnan is so great. I miss his class. He puts so much work into coming over to Jerusalem to teach us. He has some sort of special permit and he has to wait in line at the border and probably be all checked and everything, but he loves coming over to teach us. Hooray for Musallam!
     After Bethlehem University, where Musallam teaches and is in charge of a lot, we went to the Shepherd’s Valley Tent Restaurant. It was in a giant tent. Sweet dude. Fo rizzle. We didn’t pick the food, they just come around and put all of these little plates in the middle of the table of all of these little sauces and salads and then they give you a basket full of pitas. Then everyone just grabs pitas and dips wherever they want. It’s such a dun eating style. I love it. But I don’t really care to just eat pitas and dips and things for a meal. But at least they gave us some wheat pitas. Wheat is the best. 

     After lunch we headed to the Church of the Nativity. On the street there was this sweet VW bug. I want one of those cars. I think an old bug would actually be my most favorite car to have. Yep, that’s what I want. Maybe not one all tricked out like this one, maybe I could paint pretty pictures on the outside instead though. 
    Instead of a VW bug, this is my sweet ride! If only there were more rust, this is exactly what my car is. Oh man oh man I love this baby. I love it so much!
     This car would probably be pretty sweet too. This cute little boy was just cruising around the grounds at the Church of the Nativity.

     The Church of the Nativity is built on the spot that tradition marks as the birthplace of Christ. It is one of the oldest operating churches in the world.

     We went under to where Christ was born and there were so many people that I couldn’t really grasp where I was. We were all being rushed in and out unfortunately. But this star on the floor marks the spot where Jesus was born. I was in Bethlehem, where Jesus was born.

     I’m not sure why Kara is closing her eyes :), but this is the only picture I have of this spot. It is where the manger was. This is where the wise men came to, where the animals stood around, where Jesus lay wrapped in swaddling clothes.

     The flames in this picture are so cool. This was inside the church in front of a statue of Mary and the baby Jesus.
     Of course there were also stained glass in the windows. These churches are so beautiful. I love them. After visiting inside, we walked around a little town square thing in Bethlehem to buy things. The tourist industry in Bethlehem has gone down so much, especially since the Wall was built. They are struggling in a lot of ways.

     After we crossed the wall, we went to Shepherd’s Field, which is hill between Bethlehem and Jerusalem. We had the most delightful Christmas Program there too. I love Christmas.
     We sang Christmas songs, read the Christmas story out of the scriptures, and a few people shared other stories,  as well as some testimonies. I really enjoyed it alot.

     I saw a shooting star!

     Making wishes – one of my most favorite things to do.

     My wishes always come true.



15 March 2009

Two decades. Twenty years. That’s how OLD I am. Twenty is huge. It’s so so so much bigger that wee little 19. Wow. I am 20. Exciting stuff, yes it tis. I am loving this.

I woke up the morning to the most delightful surprise. Marianne and Kara made some beautiful little signs of 20 reasons why they love Chelsea and they got some big giant balloons. Then Marianne came in early in the morning and decorated the room for me. Those girls are so sweet and I love them so much. When I woke up I saw the sun shining outside, and balloons and pretty signs all over the room. I was just like, “Yaaayyy!” It was the happiest. Marrianne and Kara are wonderful. 

You can see some of the many wonderful signs from Marianne and Kara. Then later in the day, Shamra put love nuts all over the table for me. Oh goody! You know I love love nuts. She’s such a cool roomie. I really like that funny girl.

I mostly just studied during the day, because we have serious exams coming up, but then came the night, and then came the party. Marianne, Kara, Elyse, Anne, Alexis, Annie, Shamra, Stefanie, Lauren, Stephen, and I got in a big giant taxi and rode to Ben Yehuda, because that’s where the parties happen.

We went to go get ice cream and crepes and things. I ended up with some delightful frozen yogurt and some absolutely perfect flowers!

Stephen Wilkinson, one of the coolest guys at the JC, was the lovely gentleman to get me the flowers. He’s so so good. And I love flowers so so much. They made my birthday even better than it already was! 

I had so so much fun on Ben Yehuda. I LOVE BIRTHDAYS! They are the best. This was such a goooooood birthday. I had so so much fun. We had such a wonderful time, I just can’t even tell you how good it was. Happy happy happy. Yay for birthdays!

My birthday got even better we we got in the taxi on the way home and it happened to be the most hoppin’ dance party taxi on the planet. This guy had all these sweet lights in his taxi and sweet dancing jams. It was so excellent. That taxi ride was definitely, no doubt, one of the best parts of my lovely celebration of 20 years.

Being 20 is glorious. I love it. I’m so happy.

Farewell Teenage Years

14 March 2009

How do you say goodbye to your beloved teenage years? 

     I didn’t know what to do with myself, but luckily Moon did. With only a few hours left to go before I turned the big two zero, Moon got me kisses from all of the non sleeping students in the JC.
     It all started on the stairs when a few girlies were asking some lovely young men to give me a birthday kiss on the cheek. My cool home teacher, Jacob, was first. Then Stephen Wilkinson was lucky number two. After that came Steve Marcum and Jacob Curtis. Then we finally got Shelby to do it. Then came the blindfolding, and along with that came 50ish more birthday kisses. I had to guess who everyone was that I got fun birthday kisses from and I owe them all a big shukran and mahalo for all of the loves. Thanks especially to Moon, who gave me a very very good aurevoir to the pre adult era.
     I still don’t know if I completely consider myself an adult though. Who knows how old I’ll be before that happens. I hope it never does. Child for life, that’s the way to do it.
     I’m so excited for the lovely twenties though. So many good things to look forward to. This life really is the best. It has definitely been the best for me, and only more good to come.

Handel’s Messiah

12 March 2009
There was a group of us students that went to see Handel’s Messiah being performed by the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, and somehow Stephen, Nycole, and I missed out on the tickets, so we just went by ourselves. Fun fun! It was so good.

It was an incredible performance. It took about 2 1/2 hours and it was quite amazing. I really really enjoyed it. Handel was so inspired when he created this. I loved it.
I had such a good time going out, even though we had a lot of studying to do, since we have exams, but the performance was so good. I love music. I love being in Jerusalem. 


Ugly Wall

11 March 2009
The Separation Wall is ugly.

It is the big physical barrier between Jewish Israel and the Palestinian West Bank.

It goes against international law. Why is it there?

It has greatly reduced suicide bombings and has made it much safer in Israel, but it makes it so much more difficult for Palestinians to get through and it has destroyed a lot of the Palestinian territory. 

A Palestinian from Bethlehem in our branch named Sahar was telling us how she comes to church every Saturday. It was easier before the wall was built, but she’d still have to sneak over. And I believe once it was built, there was a skinny little hole she could get through. Then she’d be like a fugitive every time she’d be on this side of the wall and had to be very concerned about getting caught. Recently though, she just got a job at the UN and has a permit so that she can get to this side much much easier. It still takes about an hour and a half though and she has to get all checked and inspected. Sahar is an amazing woman.

Not only can Palestinians not get through the border, but Israeli’s can’t either. You have to have very special permits to do so, and if even if you do, sometimes you still can’t get through.
Danny Seideman, an Israeli Jew, was the one to teach us all of this today. His view was very unique as an Israeli, but it was an excellent one and I learned a lot from him. He, like so many other people, just wants peace in this land. There is so much conflict here.

As I was taking notes from what he was saying, a little ant crawled across my paper. I of course had to take a picture of it. This picture is so blog worthy.

I don’t think I like this wall. Nope. I don’t.

We need some peace.


Jewish Mardi Gras = Purim

10 March 2009

Today we celebrated Purim, which is a Jewish holiday that commemorates the deliverance of Jews from Persia about 2500 years ago. In the synagogues they read the Scroll of Esther, they give gifts to each other, they drink a lot a lot a lot of alcohol (not us though), and my favorite part is that they dress up and stuff. Yay! I love dress up!

I didn’t have a specific costume, but I Moon did hook me up with this sweet make up. And I put this cool scarf on my head and I was wearing a jingle jangle belly dancer skirt over my genie pants and I had on elf shoes. I must say I looked pretty good.

A big group of us went to Ben Yehuda Street in West Jerusalem. It was supposed to be the happening place. It wasn’t.

Marianne, Kara, and I got matching little belly dancing skirts.

Moon is so fabulous. Room 410 was full of pretty girls in need of costume type things and Moon was putting sweet make up on all of us. Moon, Richelle, and Miriam are such a wonderful room. I love those girlies.

While we were on Ben Yehuda, we wandered around, looking for some sort of party or something fun to do. I went into a little market and found some chunky peanut butter, which was a party for me! Skippy Natural super chunk is my favorite, but regular chunky skippy peanut butter works too.  

Everyone was in the synagogues, so Ben Yehuda was not that exciting at all. So we left and went back to the JC. We waiting for our taxi near McDonald’s. Yes, there is McDonald’s in Jerusalem too, unfortunately. This picture is for you my favorite twins.

Don’t we look lovely?

I need to incorporate all of these extra holidays in my life. It’s the coolest of cool. 


Dome of the Rock

8 March 2009

The Dome of the Rock is the most distinguishable landmark here in J Town, and I finally went there today! 

It was completed in 691 and is the holiest site in Islam.
We’re not allowed to go inside, but we can go all over the grounds, and it’s absolutely beautiful.

The exterior detail is incredible.


I really liked the grounds there. It was like a big park all over and it is a good little social environment. There are groups of Muslims around with little children playing and people just sitting around. It was so sunny and peaceful.

There was one girl that asked to take a picture with me too. Her father spoke English but she didn’t, and I asked for him to take a picture with my camera too, but she didn’t want to. She just wanted one with me. :)

I need to go back to this beautiful place, although it is lovely seeing it from my bedroom view everyday.
Muslims are so dedicated. They pray five times a day. They stop whatever they’re doing when it’s prayer time and they all pray, facing Mecca. They also have a month where they fast all day everyday. They can only eat while it’s dark and they do it for an entire month called Ramadan. They also give a lot of money to the poor around them. They ideally want equality between them too, because during their feasts and stuff they share a lot with the poor. And during the Pilgrimage to Mecca, they all wear similar clothing so you can’t tell any difference between wealth status. There are so many Muslims around here and I have gained such a greater appreciation for them. As a religion, they are so dedicated. It’s wonderful.


In Christ’s Footsteps

8 March 2009
Today I walked where Christ walked.

We went on a field trip and saw what Jerusalem was like in Herod’s time. We saw the walls of the temple mount, and saw structures that are around 2000 years old. Everything is so old here. Isn’t it amazing? Christ and the apostles and lots of people would’ve walked on this exact path to get to the temple.

The temple was destroyed in 70 AD and I don’t know how the Romans did it. There are these humongous stones, that you can see behind Jessica and I, and they hurled them off the top. I don’t know how they would’ve or could’ve destroyed the temple, but they did, and we saw the remains today.

As you can see, the road was paved with these huge, thick stones, and when the giant giant stones were pushed off the top, they caused so much damage to the road. It is incredible how they destroyed the temple, and even more incredible how they built it.

Behind Kara and I is what I like to call a giant catapult, but Brother Skinner informed us that it wasn’t so. That thing was used to move stones and place them I think. We can still pretend its a catapult though.

We were at the retaining wall around the temple, which is the same wall at the Wailing Wall, just at the southern end. Since that wall is closest to where the Holy of Holies and the Ark of the Covenant would’ve been, people still put their petitions into the wall. 

Christ and the apostles walked up these steps 2000 years ago to go into the beautiful temple. I walked up them too.

The Huldah Gates have been filled, but they would have been the entrance into the temple grounds. 

Being in Jerusalem, I see a lot of old things and a lot of stones, but the ones I saw today were especially amazing. I was actually walking on the exact same stones and saw the exact same structures that Christ would’ve walked on and looked at 2000 years ago. I love being here.

Hill of Spring

6 March 2009
Field trip to Tel Aviv day, and the day after we got back from Jordan too. Tel Aviv is about an hour away from Jerusalem and is a much much more modern and less conservative city than J Town. 
First we went to a Jewish History Museum or something in Tel Aviv. It was such a sunny sunny day and everything is getting so beautiful.

Then we went to this other place where some Zionist stuff happened and some meetings back in the day, but I fell asleep there and I don’t really remember what was going on. But here’s Annie, Heidi, and I in a significant room, with a picture of Theodore Herzl, founder of Zionism, in the background.

Then we were free! We wandered around Tel Aviv and came across some interesting souls, and there were cool ones too. Here’s a dude playing some sweet jams. It was so fun being in Tel Aviv. It’s such a cool city, and a very nice contrast from J Town.

This was one of the more interesting people we came across. I don’t know what he was doing or what he was dressed up as, but he looked good either way, obviously.

We saw a kosher Burger King too! Fun fun. There’s a lot a lot of kosher stuff around here, since it’s a Jewish state and all.

After wanderings through the streets… TO THE BEACH! I went to the Mediterranean Sea… yay! So so happy. I need the sea so badly. I miss it so much.

Except this beach was way to Waikiki-esque for me. Too many people, too crowded. I prefer Hukilau or Temple Beach all to myself. That’s the greatest. I miss the beach so much. 

happy feet in the sand and sea

happy girls on the beach

Seriously, as soon as my feet touched the sand, I was so happy. This was such a good and needed beach reunion.

I wanted to go swimming so badly, but we didn’t have enough time. I did get into the water though, but just up to my knees, and I got my skirt all wet, and it was so happy.

Then we had to walk back to another part of town and on the way, we stopped for some delightful frozen yogurt. Yummy yumkins!

I want this car. Other than my sweet 1991 Subaru Loyale, this is the only car I would want. I want one big time. I don’t like new cars. I only like old cars, and junky cars. Junky cars are the best.

a door

walking in the hot sun

THE WISHING BRIDGE. I LOVE WISHING! They have all of the zodiac signs and you put your hands on the plaque and look out at the sea. This is my wishing spot.

My wishes always come true. And what more could I wish for right now?


A Mosque, More Ruins, and the Jordan River

4 March 2009
Day 4 of Jordan. Our first stop was this mosque. 

Since we don’t cover all of our skin, the women had to put on these black robes and had to have our hair covered. Pretty much the only skin you could see was face and hands. As you can see in this picture, Lisa and I our using our lovely revealed hands to hold fake wands and pretend like we were students and Hogwarts and casting spells. Cool huh? I love magic, and Harry Potter.

Look at all those pretty ladies!

Everything inside the mosque was so beautiful and so detailed. It’s incredible how much work they put into it. Here’s a picture of the carpet. It was cool You have to take your shoes off to go in too. And these mosques are probably full of devout Muslims during the many many many times they pray to Allah. So many Muslims are so dedicated and do so much for their religion.

coolest ceiling I’ve ever seen

These pictures do it no justice whatsoever. It was beautiful in there.

We were sitting in there in our little black Harry Potter robes listening to our guide, Iyad, tell us all about Islam and the mosque.

This is Stephanie, my roomie in Egypt and Jordan.

Our Jordan guide’s name was IYAD. Check out the sweet name tag.

We hit up more sweet ruins in Jordan and lucky Moon discovered a fuzzy little Jordanian caterpillar! Yay for bug pictures! 

This is for sure the coolest of cool. 


On our way back from Jordan to Israel, we had a little stop here, at the Jordan River.

Jesus Christ was baptized in this area. What a lucky ducky I am to see all of this! I am so happy to be here.

I love trails.

Chelsea and Heidi on the River Jordan. 

I couldn’t do this post without the picture of this fly. Gotta love those bug pictures you know!