Friday, January 6, 2012

Terrorist Gardens.

(Before you freak out about the through the end of the post. 
\I'm going to save the explanation for the very end :) haha.)

Hmm...What to say.

I walked the roads where Jesus walked.

. . . What did you do?

Haha. Sorry to rub it in....but how can i help it? :)

Since I arrived everything has literally been a blur. 
They keep the first few days VERY packed, 
I think to help us get over our jet lag as fast as possible.

Yesterday morning breakfast started at 6:30 a.m.
then from about 7:30 to 9 we had more housekeeping/orientation stuff blah blah
then, we split up into groups of 8 or 9 and went on a brief walking tour of the Old City.

Sister Ludlow (the wife of my Old Testament professor, Brother Ludlow) was our "tour guide."
It was so neat.
I'm starting to get a baby grasp of the layout of the city and the areas surrounding it.

We first went around the outskirts of the city
and she showed us different places that will be helpful
such as:
-Alladian's [the money changer] (pronounced 'Allah-dean'...but looks suspiciously close to how the way the Disney movie character spells his name...),
a guy that does lots of the Olive Wood nativities (forgot his name...), 
and a few other random things.

Then we went in the Old City.
I'll be honest, it wasn't really how I expected it
but then again, I don't really know what I was expecting! 

The weirdest thing, I think,
was the fact that in the middle of all the hustle and bustle of the city
where there are countless people shopping and eating and selling...just living everyday life,
there is a sign that says 
"Via Dolorosa"
labeling what is thought to be the path that Jesus walked while carrying the cross.
RIGHT THERE! Just in the middle of everything!

There are churches built over the ground of the path--
pretty much from the start of where He walked
to the hole where the cross was put in the ground.
In the spot that the cross stood, 
the ground is cut out of the church
and you can sit and reach through the floor to touch the hole where the cross went into the ground.

Is that making sense?
We weren't allowed to take cameras on our walking tour yesterday, 
because it was supposed to be a very brief overview 
and they knew if we all brought cameras
we would be out there alllll day long 
(which is very true).

But I'm sure I'll go back many times 
and many a picture WILL be taken :)
(so hopefully you'll be able to understand more what I'm talking about...)

One thing in the Old City that I really wasn't expecting..?
So many german-speaking tourists!
  It was great to walk around the city hearing German mixed in with the Hebrew and Arabic.
(As sure as many other languages that didn't particularly stick out to me.)
Anyway, after our roughly 4 hour tour of the city
we came back to the center and had lunch
(the Oasis, where we eat here in the center is REALLY nice by the way...
the food is interesting, and for the most part good :) haha)

Then more orientation.
(The last of it...? hopefully!)
Then free time (I tried to go some homework but fell asleep.)
then we had a "get to know you activity"
The typical:
missionary/elbow tag,
two truths and a lie
hand slappy game
ant-hill something or other.
(I really hate most of those games...but I tried to have a good it was fun...kind of...)

After the games it was time to crack down and do some serious homework.
I tried to read in the library with my roommates,
(who are GREAT by the way!)
but I kept dozing off
so I decided to do the reading in my room
where I could read it outloud in an attempt to stay awake.

That worked for a while
but after I literally fell asleep sitting straight up in the middle of a sentence
I decided it wasn't worth it and just gave in to sleep.

To finish the reading,
I got up a little before 4 this morning....
but it was worth it because I was actually able to stay awake :)

I got through most of the reading by the time breakfast came around at 7:00.
Then I had 2 hours of Old Testament with Huntsman,
and 2 hours of Ancient Near Eastern Studies with Ludlow.

I was actually really interested in everything and I feel like I've already learned quite a bit!
(I guess that's not hard considering I knew very little coming in..)
The more I learn more about the culture and the conflict here
the more interested I am to know more.
Which is great...because I have a hefty load of classes
that will force me to learn allll I want to know
. . . and more.

After class I went with a small group into the Old City.
Our first excursion on our own!
It was exciting!

We didn't have much time because we had to be back at the center before sundown
and pretty much everything was closing in preparation for the Sabbath.
Now I'm back at the center getting ready to eat some dinner.

I'm sure you're dying to know the story behind the title,
so now I'm finally going to tell you :)

This was a small exchange of conversation that happened on the bus on the way from the airport to the JC (Jerusalem Center).
(I forgot to tell you the other day, and it's just too good to leave out.)

Girl 1: "Oh my gosh! Look!! Those gardens are terraced!"
Girl 2 (after an awkward pause): "..those sure as heck better not be terrorist gardens..." 

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