Saturday, April 21, 2012

how did that happen?

the last day in jerusalem. the most bittersweet feeling of my entire life. we made sure to soak it all in on our very last day. we started the morning off at the dome and proceeded to put our final prayers in the wall. then we hit up marzipan and got one last falafel. just about everyone had gathered at the austrian hospice to eat, and it was such a beautiful day that we all just sat there and listened to the sounds of the city and heard the call to prayer one last time. we had to be back in the center by 3 to finish packing and cleaning up. i used that time to make cookies with the ludlow family one more time. it was a long and emotional day. i was so happy and excited, yet sad and anxious and depressed. as we got on the bus and drove away from the center, i felt a part of my heart stay at the jc.

how did it get here? the last day. it feels like yesterday that we were jet lagged and pulling into the city for the very first time. well i'm jet lagged again, but now i look outside my window and see mountains and roads instead of the city and churches. where am i? i feel lost. i don't know where the dome is or where all my friends are. i don't know what to do with my time. my days don't revolve around meal times anymore, and i have absolutely no schedule. i feel so out of place. i know i lived before jerusalem, but for some reason it is almost impossible to imagine life outside of jerusalem. i feel like i'm living in a dream. america does have its perks though. like clean bathrooms, more than just one week's worth of clothing, mexican food, yogurtland, free refills, cell phones, and my friends and family. it's funny the things that make me notice how long i've been gone for--like how seeing couples holding hands or knee-length skirts makes me do a double take. i really am happy to be back. i'm happy to be in america, but i am seriously missing my jerusalem family and my jerusalem home.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

if i forget you.

today, we finished finals, and never in my life have i been more upset about it. my time here is quickly coming to an end. it scares me. i'm not sure i'm ready to go back to real life. i love jerusalem. i love finishing finals and going to the western wall to welcome in the sabbath. i love walking into the old city and slipping and sliding around on the cobblestone roads. i love meeting up with the shopkeepers and getting free food. (did i just say that out loud?) i love walking through the city and getting run over by christian processions. i love hearing the call to prayer and looking out over the city. (even when it feels like i just heard it five minutes ago.) i love the long walk to and from the city and literally walking uphill both ways. (well, maybe i don't love it, but i will miss it.) i love hearing "mormons!" and "byu!" and "are you chinese?" (and the stupid little giggle afterwards, because they think they're so funny). i love returning to the jc and saying, "home!"

sometimes sj says things better than i can. the jc really has become my home. i can't even imagine how hard it is going to be to leave it. especially because i feel like i just got here.

Friday, April 13, 2012

the dead sea.

ya know, sometimes you just gotta do a little light reading while floating in the sea. and then cover yourself in mud, so the next day your skin feels miraculous.

the dead sea was the coolest experience. fun fact. it has 30% salinity. the ocean has 3.5%. you can actually stand up straight. you don't have to tread water or anything. you just bob there. you can lie on your stomach and nothing happens. it's like your body is a raft. if i wasn't having so much fun, i totally would've taken a nap. i loved this place. (let's be real, what place haven't i loved?) i could've stayed for hours. except then maybe i would have died. i hear the salt dehydrates you like crazy or something though. makes sense. i wouldn't know. huntsie dragged us out of there so we could go see the cave where the dead sea scrolls were found. i know, i know. my life is hard.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

happy easter!

happy easter! ending holy week at the garden tomb was by far my favorite experience in the holy land. we all woke up and left the center by 5:15am to make it to the sunrise, "son rise,"service at the garden tomb. the service was different from anything i would have expected, but it was a really moving experience to read and reflect upon Jesus' resurrection while sitting directly in front of the tomb. it's definitely an easter i will never forget.

since we were up and out in the city so early, we had to wander around and wait for things to open. being the first day of passover, the western wall was filled with people worshipping and celebrating bar mitzvah's. i have never seen it so full and lively. and since time is running short, hannah and i finally put our prayers in the western wall.

logan, megan, jen, jon, and i did the ramparts walk, which is the walk around the old city on top of the city walls. it had amazing views of the old city and west jerusalem, and despite megan's fear of stickers, it was a good time.

throughout the day, there were processions going through the old city celebrating easter and Jesus' life. bands marching and bagpipes playing (just like your graduation kelli!). we ended the day with an egg decorating/bashing tournament in the center. everyone named their eggs and then rolled them against each other. whichever egg cracked first lost. there was a bracket and everything. and the finalist ended up battling with a dance off.

it is so fun to be in a place where everyone focuses on the true meaning of easter all day long. and luckily the easter bunny even brought some reeses eggs (thanks mommy!) i will always cherish this easter and the opportunity i had to spend it at the garden tomb.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

meet 402.

the best room in the jc. these are my roommates. megan, jen, and erin. they are the cutest people in the world. some nights we save all our american food and take our beds off their frames and push our mattresses together and make a mega-bed and then stuff our faces. and then in the morning we have a dance party to jb, miley, t swizzle, rent, and wicked. true story, i've never really liked sharing a room. but these girls changed my mind. we're a party. and it actually breaks my heart at the thought of not waking up to them in a few weeks. good thing we're not leaving.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

fish are friends, not food.

last monday we went snorkeling in the red sea! although it was a four hour bus ride both there and another four hours back (filled with lots of singing and dancing to "boyfriend" and "call me maybe"), it was totally worth it. the sun was shining, the water was beautiful, and the fish were happy. i saw the prettiest, most colorful fish, a baby stingray, and watched my friend, courtney, chase an eel, get an octopus to wrap it's tentacles around a rock, and receive the repercussions of flicking a sea urchin. snorkeling is my favorite. fish are the happiest, cutest little guys in the world. (i will call you squishy.) and even though we were literally swimming in a jelly fish farm (as spongebob would say), all was well because apparently they don't sting in the red sea. such a fantastic day chilling on the beach of the red sea. and the really nice one-piece tan line has begun. happy summer everyone!

Monday, April 2, 2012

happy birthday irene.

nope. it's not an april fool's joke. and honestly, i think erin's birthday was more fun for me than my own birthday (and that's saying a lot). today was such a good day. we woke up and had a birthday breakfast celebration with the ludlow family, because it was also little miss marissa's birthday. then we walked and shopped through west j and into the old city, picked up a birthday falafel, and headed over to the palm sunday walk, and commemorated jesus' triumphal entry into jerusalem. we concluded the day wandering the old city and watching general conference. it is so nice to be back. i feel like we were gone for much too long. i loved spending all day in the city. and it helped that it was sunny and absolutely beautiful. happy birthday beautiful roomie! i love you more than you love sugar.

and now i'm off to snorkel in the red sea!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

our god is an awesome god.

the rest of galilee was spent basking in the sun, acting like princesses at nimrod's castle, pretending to be dinosaurs amidst all the ancient rocks, and embracing the land where jesus taught. gsg has now come to an end. i cannot believe how time is flying by here. we've been on all of our out of jerusalem field trips. i get a pit in my stomach knowing that this was the last time i would be coming home to jerusalem.