Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Petra Pictures Post!

Sorry I have been so horrible at posting lately! 

I've just been SO busy, 
and having a GREAT time. 
I promise I will sometime catch you up 
on all  I've been up to the last week.
But, right now I'll just quickly tell you about today!!

We are currently on our first
fieldtrip to 

Since we are in a Hotel (a really nice one too!)
I have unlimited internet access in my room where I can upload PICTURES!!

So, I'm just going to tell you all about my day 
via the captions in my pictures :)

(of which you are only seeing a few...I took at least 100 today alone haha)


This is me with two of my roommates Alyssa (left) and Danielle (Right). The "Siq" is the long passage that you walk to to get to the treasury. (see picture below)

Me standing in front of the entrance to the Siq. The men behind are part of a reenactment thing they do sometimes..they were awesome!
(Danielle aka T-Bone :))

This is a small archway that gives us some clues as to how the Nabataeans were able to carve their master pieces. It was cool being able to see the work at different stages. (don't worry, it's about to get REALLY impressive in a minute!)

"WAIT! In Latin 'Jehovah' starts with an I!" For our friday night movie night we all watched Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, where Indiana sets out to find the Holy Grail. (There's a part where he jumps from letter to letter on those stone looking things.)

Finally! What we had all been waiting for! The Treasury at Petra!! (Where the holy grail is ACTUALLY located for anyone who was curious. haha)

Me and all of my Roommates in front of the Treasury!!!

And there were camels there!
...so of course I had to take a quick ride on one! I mean...it doesn't get much cooler than riding a camel in Petra!
I didn't realize how tall camels are!
Pretty sweet :)

We had some free time to explore so we decided to take the longest hike (I know, my family will be in shock that I actually CHOSE to do an OPTIONAL hike...) to the Monastery because it was supposedly "totally worth it in the end..."

Us at the beginning of the hike! The brochure said it was about 800 stairs up, but our tour guide said it was closer to 1,000!

 We saw donkeys (...or is that a mule?) on the way! (Notice the fact that I am not wearing as many layers!) Surprisingly, the hike actually wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be. I was told it was like the hike to the Y, only longer and steeper...and I HATE the "Y" hike so I was fully expecting this hike to be the death of me. But I was pleasantly surprised to find it wasn't that bad! Yes, I was definitely tired at some parts, but it was quite nice! Even though many people that I talked to disagreed with me...I'd take this hike over the Y hike any day!

And in the end....it was DEFINITELY worth it.  (This is the Monastery.)

...Can you imagine carving THAT amazing structure directly into a rock face??

Me and two of my roomies taking in the beauty of Petra.

Danielle, me, alyssa, amanda.

One of the guys in the group bought a whip in the Old City a few days ago, so naturally he brought it to Petra :) It was fun giving it a swing....but I wasn't very good. haha.
On the way back we got to ride horses! (Just for like 5 minutes) but it was sweet!

This picture was taken while the horse was in motion...requiring a lot more skill than you would think. haha.

Overall, today was AMAZING. 
Petra is awesome!! 

But, now I need to get to sleep because I'm sure I'll have a busy day tomorrow!

Laila Tov!
(goodnight in Hebrew)

Monday, January 16, 2012


(For clarification, the title of this post should be sung like the song in Fiddler on the Roof....)

 [Since I've never actually gotten up
early enough to see the sun rise here
...this post is mainly going to focus on the sunsets.]

One of my favorite things about Jerusalem 
so far
is the fact that there is ALWAYS 
be a beautiful sunset.
Lucky for us
we have prime viewing location
thanks to where the JC is built.

Here are some pictures 
of the sunset
that I've taken so far:

First night in Jerusalem.
This is taken from inside the auditorium.
Is that not the coolest view to have when looking out during Sacrament meeting?!

Taken from the balcony
(that is attached to my bedroom)

After a day in the city!
(same day as one above.)

Love orange.
Taken from the Oasis (where we eat dinner). 

I think this one may be my favorite.

Another shot from my balcony. 

It had been raining for 2 days straight...
then it finally started to clear up
and this is what we saw! 

Taken outside the center on the way to Hebrew University
(which is about a 7 minute walk from the JC) 

If you weren't convinced before
there's simply no denying it now.

Jerusalem is gorgeous. 

Exploring: Under the JC!

On Sunday I was able to go to Hebrew U for a little bit
to upload pictures! 
So...if you have a second, 
look through some of my old posts
and check out the pics!! 

Since I wasn't able to stay very long
(with the internet in which I was allowed to upload pics)
I uploaded some and am just now going back to add the words later.

SO...here you have it:

A few days ago
we had a special treat.

A tour of Jerusalem Center

It was pretty cool. 
Iran Hyatt
 (the director of the JC and the Jerusalem Study Abroad Program)
was our tour guide.

He's worked here here
....for a long time (around 20 years I believe)
so he knows LOTS of cool facts about the Jerusalem center
and how it came to be.

(He started in the security department
and then eventually became the head honcho!)

He's a great guy
and he's hilarious! 

Here's the back of Sterling's head as our group is going through the door that leads to under the center.
We were excited! 

There is a tradition for students to write their names on the walls/
pipes under the building.
I looked and looked 
for names of people I knew.

...until I found....

I decided it was only fitting
to sign next to Annie!! 

(...although I have to say I'm very curious as to why 
it says 
"George Bush"
at the bottom. 

Me in my cute hard hat
pointing at my name next to Ann's!

I looked and looked for the name
of my dear dear cousin Madi
who came last winter.

And believe me
I looked HARD!

I had to settle for the next best thing...
the name of Megan Brink,
Madi's  Jeru roommate that I hung out with a few times this past semester! 

While under the center Iran told us 
a crazy story
about how the only way they were able to 
remove the dirt on Mt. Scopus in order to build the center
was using a donkey
pulling load after load of dirt away.

Crazy huh?!
(The process took about a month.)

[We took a group picture after the tour
but it's on someone else's camera...
so when I get it from her I will add it here :)]

It was a good day! 

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Yofi Tofi!

Well I've been here for over a week now.
That's weird.

I feel like I just got here
but also feel like I've been here for a while
....both at the same time.

(I feel like a missionary for saying that,
they always say that at the beginning of their missions it seems.)

I'm starting to get into the routine of things
as far and classes and stuff goes.
They seriously assign so much reading it's insane,
I don't know if I'll ever get accustomed to that. haha.
I don't know how people actually get through it all,
especially since the reading assigned isn't...easy.
It's times like this I realize:
I'm a college student.
(Seriously...I'm way too young for that.)

Yesterday we had our second day of Hebrew class.
I am enjoying learning a little bit about the language
but even more I am enjoying hearing stories of everyday life
from our Jewish teacher
Mrs. Goldman.

There is so much about Jewish 'culture'
(I use that word cautiously due to a lecture we just had in our Islam and Palestine class)
that I know nothing about!
The little I DO know is SO interesting to me
and it definitely makes me want to know more.

For example.
She taught us a song:
"Shabbat Shalom"
(Peaceful Sabbath)
that many Jewish people will sing on Fridays at sundown
to welcome the Sabbath.

She said that her family always turns off all electricity
in preparation for the Sabbath
as the Sabbath is meant to be a family day.
People should not be distracted with other things
or "Do work."

She also shared with us a prayer that is sung
after every meal in which they eat bread.
From what I understand
everything you could eat (or drink) has is a prayer that
one should recite either before or after
(...I think it depends on the food as to when you say the prayer but I'm not sure).

Tomorrow we get to go on a fieldtrip to
The Western Wall
(which is one of the Holiest Sites of the Jewish faith).
We will be there
on Friday at sundown
to welcome in the Sabbath.

We were instructed to wear long skirts
and to not bring cameras or purses
as the Jewish people consider this
and therefore breaking the Sabbath.

I think learning about other religions and cultures
really makes you reflect on
your own faith and traditions.
(cue Teviah [from Fiddler on the Roof]... "TRADITION!!")

Whether you agree with the doctrine or not
I think there is much truth that can be found in all religions,
and I think we can learn aspects of faith from many different places.

It is fascinating to me
the respect that the Jewish people hold
for the Sabbath day.
Admirable I'd say.

Another thing I learned in Hebrew class
was the expression
"Great, excellent!"
Mrs. Goldman said that often kids will combine
with the word
meaning: good.
And say:
"Yofi Tofi!"
(I've decided to adopt this expression into my vocabulary...hence the post title :))


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Hello. Goodbye. Peace: Shalom!

There are about a million other things I could be/should be doing right now 
...playing volleyball with my roommies)
but instead, I am blogging. 
It's actually pretty fun!
...when I'm not feeling overwhelmed with all of the things I have to remember to tell!

Today was our first day of 3 new classes.
 But before I talk to you about today..
I'll give you a real quick rundown of yesterday.

I'm still trying to get a hang of the schedule here
(from what I can tell it's pretty much all over the place)
but from what I can gather..typically mondays are our "fieldtrip" days.

Sometimes they are 1/2 day, 3/4 day or the whole day.
Yesterday's was 3/4 day fieldtrip.

We were to be ON the bus at 8:00 a.m. SHARP.
(....I literally had to run up 4 flights of (steep!) stairs to get there on time.
I'm definitely going to plan ahead next time...)

Then we went around to different sights.
I'll be honest... I can't really remember the names of all of them
and I'm much too lazy to get out my fieldtrips manual to look them up. 
The first one was called Nabi Samwil (Arabic for Prophet Samuel I believe).
It was a holy place for both Muslims and Jews
and has a really cool overview of the surrounding lands.

We went around to different places
and we would read scriptures about events that happened 
somewhere in the land that we could see
right in front of our eyes.

Pretty cool, huh?
Yes. Really cool.

Don't worry. 
I took lots of pictures!

Taken from the top of the Augusta Victoria bell tower.
Singing Christmas Carols at Bethlehem overlook. 

Me and Makara (our only BYU Hawaii student) at Bethlehem overlook. 
Waiting in line for the restroom...
the guy's line is ALWAYS shorter!!
it's just not fair!

After the fieldtrip we came back and relaxed for a bit before dinner.
Then had FHE....excuse me.
We are under strict instruction that it is to be called 
"Home evening"
(rather than Family Home Evening)
that made me a little bit sad, actually.

I am always so tired here!
After "HE" my roommates and I were determined to watch a movie.
We started it (No Reservations..a classic!) at about 10:30 p.m.
and the three of us were OUT within the first 15 minutes!
I literally have been asleep before 11 p.m. every night!
I guess I'm turning over a new leaf :)

Okay so that was yesterday....
now for today....

Breakfast was from 7-8 (....why do they do this to us?! haha) 
Then we had Old Testament class from 8-9.
Then we started a new class, called
 "Judaism, Zionism and the State of Israel" 
taught here in the center by a man named Ophir Yarden
an actual Jewish man!
Complete with Kippa-covered head!
It was sweet. 
I think that class is going to be really interesting. 
Today we just talked about what the term "Jewish" means
and how it's ridiculously hard to define. 

The biggest question I had during the whole lecture?
How he keeps his kippa stationary on his incredibly bald head. 
The best theory I could come up with was double sided tape.
Would it be totally offensive if I asked him?
Hmm...I'll keep you posted on that..

After class we had a few "housekeeping items"
then lunch.
Then Hebrew! 
It was my first Hebrew class for the semester! 
(We were given the choice between taking a 1 credit Hebrew or Arabic class..I chose Hebrew)

That class, 
taught by an American Jewish lady 
(who is married to an Israeli) 
is going to be really fun as well!
And hopefully not too hard :)

She (I can't remember her name...oops!) loves incorporating Hebrew songs into the lesson plan
and she said she would always have Hebrew music playing as we enter and leave the classroom.

Guess what song was playing as I left?! 

Havenu Shalom Aleichem!!
(in case you forgot about that family favorite--check out my post here.)
I sang along as I was leaving and one girl heard me and was totally blown away ;) 

 After Hebrew I had another short break until my final class of the day:

This class is also taught by a local professor.
Dr. Bashir Bashir.
(sweet name, no?!)
Although much of what he said went over my head..
...I am really excited for that class as well! 

As we were all scrambling up the stairs before class started
I thought about how cool it is that we all
live here together
and how we take classes together
and eat together
and go to church together
and wander around the city together....
I think it's awesome.
At least right now....
hopefully I'll still feel this way 3 1/2 months from now :)

Well, I suppose I ought to stop procrastinating homework
and get reading! 
I thiiink I'm mostly caught up now, so hopefully I won't get behind again
(because trying to catch up is really overwhelming!)
Until tomorrow?


Forgot! More Sunday Evening Festivities

I just remembered I forgot to include part of my Sunday evening!

The Center here does something really cool:
Host free concerts for the public
every Sunday night
(and also some Thursday nights!).

They feature local musicians 
as well as performers from abroad.

What was Richard Elliot 
(organist of the world-famous Mormon Tabernacle Chior
--Good job Sis. Clark!)
doing in Jerusalem?! 
He was here in celebration of the BYU Jerusalem Center
(and consequently the beautiful organ we have here in the auditorium/chapel)
hitting it's 25 year mark! 

I was lucky enough 
to be an usher for this historical event!

I ushered with Amy (middle) and Loie (pronounced Loy).
They are so great!!
The concerts, as I said, are free
but you have to have a ticket
and usually the tickets are given out/claimed
weeks/months in advance!
You can try your luck in standby, but I wanted to be sure I could get in
so I volunteered to be an usher.
 It was fun ushering in people from all different backgrounds
and overhearing many different languages! 

The concert was great.
My favorite piece he played (by far!) was 
"Go Tell It On The Mountain"
which was apparently written so he could play it shortly after injuring his shoulder 
(or many he had surgery on it? ...i can't remember).
That does not mean it was an easy song, however,
  it had some CRAZY footwork going on!!!

Richard Elliot playing the organ. 
Taken in the auditorium. Those are the big windows in the front.
You can see Brother Elliot's reflection in the glass!
(The organ is in the back of the room...behind all of the chairs.)

It was really cool to see so many people from different backgrounds
come together
for an evening of fun 
and enjoy the talent that Brother Elliot has been blessed with.
He is truly a talented musician!!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Marriage Advice from Native Shopkeepers.

Sunday was our first full day without any set plans

However, the JC is clearly strong believers in "early to bed, early to rise" because The Oasis
(where we eat our meals) 
was only open from 7-8 a.m.

At breakfast we were given little lunch bags with directions to make a pita sandwich, 
as it would not be open for lunch.

After breakfast Danielle (one of my roommates) 
(...I've been meaning to do a post about my roommates..I'll do one as soon as I'm able to upload pictures.
But for now just know that they are FANTASTIC)
and I went into one of the classrooms and 
kind of worked on homework/blogged.

Then at 11 we met up with a small group and headed to the City! 
We were originally planning on going to the Israeli Museum, 
but when we went to get our tickets from the Security office 
(here at the Center)
they had already given out all of the tickets they had 
and told us we'll have to go on another day.

So, we set off!
Without any plans.
An adventure!
Our objective? To get just a little bit more oriented with our surroundings.

We were going to go to the money-changer's (remember..Aladdin? ...but pronounced "Alla-dean")
but when we got there, there were tons of our fellow classmates crammed inside
so we decided to do something else and then come back.

We wandered around
until we heard 
"Mormons! Mormons! Over here!!"
(which we actually hear quite a bit...we are pretty popular around these parts :)) 
It was Omar..the well-known olive wood carver.

We spent over an hour
visiting with Omar
and checking out all of his impressive olive wood pieces.

Omar also made me laugh with his "wall of mormons"

This is the dialogue of one of our conversations with Omar:

Omar: You should get a nativity for you, and when you get married your husband. Or you can wait for your husband to get you one...
Danielle: I don’t know...I might be waiting a looong time...
Omar: How old are you?
Danielle: 19.
Omar: Ah! In 2-3 years, I guarantee you will be married! I know it! And promise me you will send your wedding announcement here to Omar.”
Just after this conversation, Omar gave us each olive-wood rings
"for practice"
and sent us on our way.

Showing our olivewood "wedding" rings.

As we were walking back on the street we heard, 
"Mormons, mormons!
From East to West, BYU is the best!"
We turned to see another man who proceeded to invite us into his shop.
I had actually heard of this shop, because Amy, the wife of my former boss, Dan,
built a very strong friendship with the "Bagdhadi Brothers" 
when she came to Israel...a few years ago.
I was told specifically (by Dan) to look for them!
After talking to them for a bit..
this is what I saw: 
Dan's wedding announcement! 
As we were getting ready to leave, 
I'm not entirely sure how the conversation turned to marriage, 
but the Bagdhadi brothers had a thing or two to say:
"Do not many someone who is not from where you are from."
They said. 
They then proceeded to lecture us (for a good 10 minutes)
about all of the problems that arise when people from 2 different places marry.
Most of it went over my head (some words were harder to understand than others)
but the conclusion was:
15 miles should be the limit of how far away your spouse's family lives from yours.

Otherwise, there will be much contention with whose family to visit:

the mother will want to visit her family
and the father will want to visit his. 
So they will plan separate trips at the same time,
and the kids will go with the mother--
so the mother will be stuck with all of the children while trying to travel...
apparently it's a very messy situation.
hahahhaa. It was pretty funny.
I'm sure Dad will be happy to see that though, 
(if he reads these posts)...he's worried that all of us kids are going to get married and move far away from CA..
I'll consider trying to keep their advice in mind

As soon as we left Bagdhadi's we were called over to Jimmy's.
The 3rd famous olivewood souvenier shop.
He, too, had many impressive and beautiful masterpieces.
 I was particularly blown away with one that was out.
I knew it would be really expensive,
but I wanted to ask anyway.
$2,500 he told me.

He said that many of the students that come here
buy the smaller nativities now
and then come back in later years (when they have more money)
and buy the really nice/expensive ones! 
I thought that sounded like a pretty good plan :)
Jimmy had a bit to say about marriage as well:
It's simple," he told us,
"You just need to find the right guy, with a good heart
. . .and a good job!” 

Nephites vs. the Lamanites chess set.

I'm not really sure why all of the shopkeepers were so keen to give us marriage advice
(I've talked to other people and it doesn't sound like anyone else got what we did, haha.
maybe because we were there just as a group of 4 girls?)
but I thoroughly enjoyed it all.

After all of this we took a quick stop at Aladdin's
where he showed us his
"Book of Mormons"
(a book he has had all of the BYU Jeru students sign since 1992) 
which i thought was absolutely hilarious. 

Then to the Old City! 
We ate our pita-lunches on the roof of the 
Austrian Hospice

On the roof of the Austrian Hospice! 
which is a beautiful and calm Lutheran Church building
in the midst of the busy city
that already I know I'm going to love spending time in/on (it has a great view!)
(...and lots of German speakers hang out there, which is a plus!)

 After that we walked around the city exploring!
We played marbles with some kids in the street
we asked for prices of certain things to compare from shop to shop
we walked by 'Basti Restuarunt'... 
 "Where Jesus had his first pizza!"
the shopkeeper kindly informed us ;)
On our way to find a particular falafel stand
we ran into a small tour group of people from Texas! 
One of my roommates (Danielle/ I like to call her 'T-Bone') is from Texas 
so we stopped to talk to them for a bit.
We actually ended up chatting them with 
for almost an hour! 

It was fun to meet some friendly faces from the good 'ole
US of A.

Our texas friends!! 

We started heading home and then realized
we had talked for so long with our new Texan friends
we would be cutting it close to getting home by sundown! 

We jogged part of the way 
(only the downhill parts ;))
and made it back just in time! 

one of my favorite sunset pics so far....see sunset post.

it was a GREAT day in the city!!