Wednesday, January 30, 2008

there's just something about...

snow falling at 11:00 last night that made a not so enjoyable trip to the library bearable and even a little bit magical. Its beautiful.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Its snowing. And I'm freezing.

Well, today marks four weeks to the day since I stepped off the plane here in Utah. Somehow it feels much longer than that. Not a day, or a minute for that matter, has gone by without thoughts of my experiences in the Holy Land and the surrounding areas filling my mind. Everyday since I've been back at BYU I've seen or hung out with my friends from the JC. Friends just doesn't seem like the right word for them though, we shared so much more than normal friends would in four months. Every time I'm with them I home. That's the only way I can describe it. Seeing them helps me not miss Jerusalem as much, its like a part of my past life I got to bring home with me. Its strange the things I didn't think I would miss about Jerusalem, or things I didn't even realize I had until I came home and didn't have them. In an effort to help you understand, I'll try to make something of a list of the things I miss the most, in no particular order, for that would be much to difficult. But to make it a little bit less sad, remember that these things are not just the things I miss about the last four months, but the things I love! Forgive me if the list is rather lengthy. 1. seeing Jerusalem outside my bedroom window every morning. 2. reading about something in the scriptures then going to visit it. 3. having a new experience every day. 4. Jimmy's cooking, despite the weight I gained and the sometimes strange smell it had. 5. living with my best friends. 6. 79 other people taking the same classes as me, so I always had a study buddy. 7. the beanbags 8. the smell of the old city, its like.....mmmmm.....just like that 9. the flush button on top of the toilet 10. prayer call. 11. best sacrament meeting view ever. 12. shuwarma, from that shop up the street from Aladdin's 13. Friday open air market trips for challah bread and fruit rolls 14. lanas and Abdul 15. little kids playing in the streets all the time 16. the short cut through the city to Shabans store 17. fireworks.....every night 18. month long holidays 19. really good shower pressure 20. lizards in the hallway to my room 21. the Hajj to my room (I know, no one would ever think I miss this) 22. peanut butter and honey pida for lunch every day 23. the space between the classrooms 24. uphill both ways 25. walking everywhere because we can 26. knowing the old city backwards and forwards, literally 27. shopkeepers knowing who we are 28. "bus one" 29. nasty sack lunches 30. falling asleep instantly because I've had a completely exhausting and productive day 31. weather above fifty degrees 32. the amazing sunsets every night 33. olive trees 34. taxi or shirut rides that almost caused my death numerous times 35. tour buses parallel parking 36. donkeys on the road 37. eternal spaz uno 38. hearing multiple languages on a daily basis 39. finally understanding that I was the one speaking the foreign language 40. trying new food 41. endless puns about anything and everything 42. Tarik, Tofik, Eran and everyone else that took care of me at the JC 43. Galilee and everything that happened there (even being sick helped me learn and grow) 44. oasis water: the best in the JC 45. incredible vistas from all around the city 46. "sketchy" 47. daily miracles in my life 48. the service couples, all of them 49. linen exchange towel wars 50. getting up early and going to bed relatively early Well, thats all for now, I'm sure I'll post again soon with some more things I miss and love about Jerusalem. I love the JC!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

one final down...

Three to go! Yesterday after the Old Testament final, everyone wanted to get out of the JC to celebrate. Class had ended unusually early, and lunch had been moved forward and hour, so I wanted to go see if we could get finally manage to get on the Temple Mount with its crazy irregular hours. I managed to find a group of about 12 who wanted to go, so we grabbed our things and ventured out into the city. The first unusual thing about yesterday was that it was overcast, windy, and a little bit cold! As we walked through the city it even tried to rain a little bit! For the first time since I've been here it felt like the beginning of fall. I loved it! The second unusual thing happened when we arrived at the Western Wall a little bit before 1:00, and, miracle of miracles, we were allowed on the Temple Mount! I was so excited to walk up through the tunnel I've only seen from the outside for the last two months. The Temple Mount is very beautiful and clean. There isn't much up there, just the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of Rock Shrine and a few other small buildings, but its such a cool feeling to be up there. I kept thinking about what Solomon and Herod's temples must have looked like so many years ago. The Dome of the Rock is the most prominent feature of the old city, and probably of Jerusalem too, and I was there! I touched it with my hand! Its moments like yesterday that remind me I'm in Jerusalem living my dream. Those kind of moments happen quite often, like every time I look out the windows here at the JC. Or when I look through my pictures and realize its me standing next to those pyramids. Or when I'm doing my study questions for Archeology and written right into one of the questions is "remember when we went here?" Or when I realize I don't think about price in dollars and haven't for quite some time now. Or when someone in the old city asks us for directions, and we can tell them exactly where to go, usually with short cuts. Anyway, I hope you enjoy these pictures of one thing I've wanted to do since before I got here. Jerusalem never ceases to amaze me and fill me with wonder.
Here you go, a picture of the Dome of the Rock taken right in front of it.
This is me in front of the Dome of the Rock with James and Sarah. The guy who took the picture cut off the top, but that's OK. You can probably tell we are all pretty happy about being there!

Sunday, November 4, 2007

As Promised.....

the highlights from the past couple of weeks here at the JC. OK, so I know this picture is sideways, but I love it. This is me in Petra at the treasury. I felt like Indiana Jones. It was wonderful!
Conquest Field trip: I went to the place where David fought Goliath and we did a reenactment of the whole scene. We also went spelunking through some really sweet caves and looked at old tel sites.
Judges Field trip: I went to Jericho! Its a pretty small ancient city, but it was pretty neat. It was fun and exciting because its actually in the West Bank, so we spent the morning in Palestinian territory. It was an interesting experience to see the Palestinian flag waving, especially after all I have learned here. My opinions of the world and politics sure are changing.
Tel Aviv: About twenty of us decided to go to Tel Aviv one day, and it was great! The beach was beautiful and the water was really warm. It was salty and sandy, but just the thing I needed after classes and the crazy Egypt trip.
Galilee: We took an overnight trip here, and saw a bunch of things along the way. We went to Mt. Carmel, Megiddo, Cesarea, Akko, and Nazareth. Each of these sites was very informative and wonderful, but the Sea of Galilee and the Kibbutz we stayed at were heaven! We were right on the beach! I got to swim in the Sea and it warm and wonderful, despite the fish swimming around our toes. I didn't want to go when it was time to leave, so I'm glad we're going back....for nine days!
Midterms: I had three midterms the past while, and I think they all went well, but its hard to tell. As such there has been an increase of studying around the JC. The next two weeks are going to be filled with studying as well, because we have four finals- Old Testament, Palestinian Narrative, Language (Arabic for me) and Israeli Narrative. I am really excited for these classes to be over, because then I will only have two classes to worry about!
Olive Picking/Crushing: We had the opportunity to pick olives a couple of weeks ago, and it was great fun! I loved being up in those trees picking olives. Plus, olives are just the right size fruit to hurl at someone and not hurt them! There were many an olive war taking place. A few days after we picked olives we crushed them to make olive oil. We have a crusher and a press here at the JC, so we did it in our own back yard. Its a good thing too. When olives are crushed, they leave this really gooey mess behind. Its nasty but kind of fun to play with. I may have started an olive goo war. And when I say may have, I mean I did. And I am proud of it! Note to self, olive oil doesn't come out of clothes all....
En Karem: I went with a group of about twenty of us one day to the traditional birthplace of John the Baptist. We walked around a lot and saw a lot of really great churches. The town was really quaint and quiet compared to the hussel and bussel of Jerusalem, and I really enjoyed it.
Hezekiah's tunnel: This may be one of the coolest things I have done in my life. Ok, so maybe not, but it was great! The tunnel is about six football fields long, so its a bit of a walk. There is water in the tunnel usually about as deep as my knee, but sometimes it got up around mid thigh! All 80 of us got in a massive water fight at the pool of Siloam where we popped out of the tunnel. It was really hot that day, so it was totally worth it!
Seder: We had a pretend Passover meal about a week ago, and it was really interesting. Our Jewish teacher, Ophir Yardin came and led the meal. There was singing and toasting and eating and a lot of laughter. I have a new appreciation for the Jewish people since then. I love learning about different religions and cultures because I feel like I am so much more aware of what is going on around me.
Mt. Nebo: This was our first stop in Jordan. It was a great lookout and I took some sweet pictures. Moses looked out over the promise land from this mountain.
Petra: Amazing. I don't even know if I should say anything else. Wow. The treasury is cool, but thats only the first thing you see in the canyon! It goes on for miles more, and it just gets cooler! I also got to ride a donkey to the top of a mountain where there was a monastery, and I got to ride a horse out of the canyon. Donkeys are scary and competitive, but I think I laughed the whole time I was on mine. It was hilarious!
Jerash: I really like this place. It is the most intact Roman city in the world I think. It is really really great. We sang and danced with bag pipe men here and got to watch a chariot race in the hippodrome.....somewhat illegally.......but no one needs to know that......
Amman: We spent two days in Amman, the capital of Jordan. One night I went to the mall with a few other kids and we went bowling! And we had milkshakes! It was so crazy I'm still laughing about it. I spent Halloween in Amman, and it was probably one of the coolest Halloweens I will ever have. Me a three of my friends walked down the street from our hotel and bought a pumpkin (the last one) and ice cream and orange fanta. Back at the hotel we made fanta floats in the 2nd floor lobby and laughed a lot. Then we took our pumpkin out to the porch and carved our teacher's face into it. We wrote Brother Huntington a poem, then took the jack-o-lantern and napkin poem, put them in front of his hotel door, knocked and ran away. It was hilarious! Despite all of the crazy fun things I did in Jordan, I think my favorite part was listening to the District president speak. (the Amman Jordan District includes Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Egypt, small eh?) He talked about missionary work in the middle east, and how the Lord is preparing the area for the gospel.
Well there you have it. I wanted to post more pictures, but it takes an eternity to do any such thing over here. I guess you will all just have to come over and look at my pictures when I get home in six weeks and let me talk your ears off, because I will! I love you all!

Friday, November 2, 2007

Friday, October 5, 2007

I survived Egypt . . . barely!

Me sitting on a pyramid at Giza. I actually got to go inside this one.

Camels: big, smelly, hilarious creatures!

James and I "eating" in a tent thing. This is yet another meal in Egypt where more talking, picture taking and goofing around took place than actual eating. I think I almost wasted away.

This is me on a faluka (kind of like a sail boat for about 25 of us) on the Nile. I'm glad I didn't fall in because man is it nasty. The faluka ride was wonderful though, very relaxing.

This is some sweet pillars in the Karnak temple in Luxor, Egypt. I loved the pillar room!

Well there you have it! Some pictures from Egypt. It was a wonderful week there, but it was definitely good to be home again. The JC never looked better. Lets see, quick highlights from the week. We spent one night at a Kibbutz in Israel where they made us dinner and taught us to sing and dance. Every hotel had a pool, so we always spent time there after a hot day seeing the sites. We spent a day in Cairo at Giza looking at the pyramids and riding camels. We also went to Memphis and saw the first step pyramid ever built. The night train to Luxor was...lets just say an experience. The Valley of the Kings where we were able to see King Tuts tomb was pretty cool, as was the museum in Cairo where all of his stuff is. One whole floor of the museum was dedicated to Tut, and he was only a minor King! It makes me wonder what the major Pharaoh's had buried with them. Karnak and Luxor temples were pretty neat, as was my boat ride on the Nile. On the way back to Israel we stopped in the Sinai to hike. We had church late Saturday night and then some people attempted to sleep in the grossest hotel I've ever seen. We got up at 1:00 am so we could hike the mountain and watch the sunrise. I ended up not going to bed at all, but played UNO by the pool until wake up call. The hike was hard, but the sunrise was absolutely worth it. When we finally pulled into the Jerusalem Center at about 10:00 Sunday night I felt at home! I love Jerusalem and its clean water and cooler air.

One word pretty much sums up Egypt: sketchy. The food was the same at every meal and always a bit sketchy. The city was dirty and merchants pushy and demanding. The looks we girls constantly had from local guys, sketchy. Transportation, sketchy.

Funny moments from Egypt:

I almost got sold for several hundred camels to some random shopkeeper.

The horse/donkey drawn carts being driven down the freeway. Sometimes the people driving them would stop to sell right there on the side of the road.

Our tour guide saying "BYU bus one we are here" more than a million times each day in his classic Egyptian accent.

Our horse cart tipping over right in front of our eyes, but somehow we still got in.

Taxi drivers that only take us to their friend's shops, even if we don't want to go shopping.

The fact the Egypt as a whole smells (and tastes?) like camels.

I used so many different kinds of transportation on this trip: bus, taxi, walking, horse carriage, faluka, plane, swimming, train, camels.

Its so hard to decide what to tell you all about, but I hope this at least helps. I am having a wonderful time here. I went to Tel Aviv yesterday with a group of about twenty. We hung out at the beach the whole day, playing in the warm Mediterranean water, eating American style hamburgers, and watching the sun set in splendor. Today we took a class field trip and went spelunking! I was totally squished in the caves, but it was wonderful! Yesterday was the one month mark for me. I still wake up every morning amazed I am here. Everyone is constantly happy and smiling because we are each living our dreams in one way or another. I have learned more in the past month than I have in a very long time. Not just historical and cultural things either, but about myself, other people, and the gospel of Jesus Christ. I am constantly learning, and I only hope I will be able to remember it forever!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Update........and pictures!

(Jerusalem! I love this city! this pictures is taken from the east looking west at the temple mount. You can see the old city wall in the foreground, and the newer city of jerusalem in the back.)
(this is a sideways picture of me eating my first felafel!)
Hello again, and sorry for the long wait on pictures. I hadn't uploaded any pictures until today, as seeing as I'm leaving for Egypt tomorrow, I could use the memory space. I've done so many cool and exciting things in the past two weeks. I've been to the western wall to welcome in Shabbat with the Jews, walked through an ultra orthodox Jewish neighborhood, and attempted many times to get onto the Temple mount. I've eaten felafel (very delicious), found an amazing pizza place with a hiliarious owner, and discovered good Israeli ice cream, which I didn't think existed. I've learned the streets of the old city well enough that I can go pretty much anywhere and make it back home, walked along the old city wall, and learned which way is north without the use of Utah mountains! (I figured this would be a nearly impossible feat, so I'm surprised I mastered it this early in the trip) I've started learning Arabic, and I can now carry on a simple conversation with the local shop keepers. I've made friends with Abdul, who owns Lana's, the little shop down the street that we always buy junk and snacks at on our way home from the old city. I try to go out into the city at least every other day, and I'm still caught up in my school work! This place is amazing! Never have I felt unsafe or in danger.....well, I guess only when I'm riding in a taxi bus, but thats not really too life threatening...
Well, I guess this whole pictures thing isn't working out as well as I would like. I will try to put pictures on again when I get back from Egypt and have more time. But until then, I hope you enjoy dreaming about the Holy city as much as I will, because I'm going to miss it this coming week!

Thursday, September 6, 2007

and so it begins...

Well my friends, I have arrived safely in the Holy Land! The one hassle I had was the airport loosing one of my bags in Tel Aviv. Don't worry though, it was returned to me today, thank goodness. I wouldn't have had any of my school books if I never got it back. On the upside, because my bag was lost I got left at the airport with four other JC students, so we got a personal ride to the Center. Our driver was Oie, a member of the security staff at the JC and my new hero. He is 26 and has been working at the JC for three years. He loves basketball and American music, and has a wonderful sense of humor. Well, these first couple of days have been amazing! The plane ride was crazy long, and to this point on my adventure I have had a grand total of 7 hours of sleep since I woke up on Tuesday. Who needs sleep anyway?... Yesterday was hours of orientation and trying to get settled into our new home. Home! I live here! The JC is so much more beautiful than any pictures I had seen. I have a room on the third floor with three great girls, Holly, Maryanne, and Sarah. We have a balcony almost as big as our whole room that looks out over east Jerusalem and the Old City. It is a beautiful and humbling site to stand there and look out at the city. We also have a pomegranate tree growing out there. Our teachers are nice and seem like they will be rather interesting, though class doesn't start until tomorrow (Friday). All of the staff (except for three teachers and a few service couples) here are local Israeli's or Palestinians. They are Jewish, Muslim and Christian and all get along and work together in harmony. The JC is the only integrated work force in Jerusalem, a haven of peace in a world of turmoil. Today we took a walk through Jerusalem, which was wonderful! As we walked, we saw so many amazing things: Orsen Hyde park, the garden tomb, the church of the Holy Sepulcher, The Dome of the Rock, the Hebrew University, Ben Yehuda street, churches on every corner from every different denomination on the planet, Herod's gate, walked through Damascus and Jaffa gates, money changers, multiple museums, merchants galor, and many many different people. Some how the merchants new we were coming and would run out to the street with their cards for us. One told us to come to his shop only if we were true Mormons, not Jack-Mormons. One gave us a free lamp like the ones the ten virgins may have carried. Omar (who remembers everyone he ever sells to and loves the JC students) talked with us for quite some time. Back at home we had lunch which was delicious. I think they are trying to fatten us up over here because the food is great and there is so much of it! I also think the staff just don't want us eating outside of the JC, otherwise we might get sick. Well, I better end here because my computer is about to die. Plus, I have breakfast at 6:30 and class at 7:30. From the few days I've been here I can tell this is a land I am not going to easily part with. I love everything about it already. They constant light breeze, the smells on the street, the beauty everywhere. Even the people feel like long lost friends. I can't wait to study more about this Holy Land where so many wonderful things have happened. As I learn, I'll try to let you learn with me, because this experience I'm having is something I want to share with the world.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

What does it mean!

Several people have asked me what the title of my blog means, so I guess I will attempt to expalin the hilarity of my discovering it. I was rummaging through the dictionary in search of a "K" word to go with my name, and in a stroke of luck I came across kibosh, which means nonsense. oh perfect! I thought, nonsense by Kerri! I knew thats exactly what my posts would be, so I had to use it. Just as I was about to shut good old webster, my eye caught the word right below kibosh. I read, kibbutz: an Israeli farming community. I burst out laughing. Can life get better? I submit that it can not!* I couldn't have picked a better title if I was pulling words out of thin air, which I've been reminded, it seems like I did. Anyway, so there you have it, "nonsense from an Israeli farming community." * special thanks to Brian Regan for letting me quote him all the time...

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Hello? Is this thing on?

As a first time blogger, I suppose I'm excited enough to post for no good reason other than to make sure this works, which of course it does. Oh well, I guess you'll just have to deal with my uncontrollable excitement. This blog is soon to be my main means of communication with the world outside of the middle east. I'm ultra excited to go to Jerusalem on study abroad in about six weeks. I can't believe my dreams of traveling are finally coming true! In a few short weeks I'll be walking down hundred year old streets and seeing places I've only read about. I can only imagine what I will learn both in and out of class. But, until then, you and I will be left to our dreams of an ancient land and an opportunity almost too good to be true.