Thursday, June 27, 2013

Galilee: 11 days of stunning

I had the amazing opportunity to spend 11 days in Galilee. We actually moved our entire "university lifestyle" to Galilee. All of us students, all of the teachers, all of their families, and all of our fun loaded on busses and headed up to Galilee. 

Sunday, July 29, 2012

A much needed update: Bethlehem, 4th of July,Dome of the Rock

Oh man has it been ages since I last updated my blog... sorry about that. I have had a spectacular past month and have been blessed beyond all imagination. I have learned so much and experienced even more. So here we go! This post is an update concerning our trip to Bethlehem, the best 4th of July in Jerusalem, and one last trip to the Dome of the Rock. 

CHRISTMAS IN JULY? Bethlehem was spectacular. There is something special about that small city. Bethlehem is actually only about five miles south of Jerusalem located on a small hill. We were able to visit a lot of places but my favorites were the church commemorating where Jesus was born and Shepherds Hill. 

This is Anna Marie and myself setting at the place where Jesus was most likely born. It has now been all decorated by the church that owns it but it still was amazing to be here. 

Me, Lane, and Lauren on Shepherds Hill. It is right between Jerusalem and Bethlehem. We had an amazing devotional here and sang a bunch of Christmas songs and thought about if we would have been willing to go see the new baby Jesus. Would you?

While in Bethlehem, I picked up one of my favorite souvenirs of this whole trip... a white baby blessing blanket. This means that I will get to bless all of my own kids in a blanket that came from the same town that Jesus was born in! Pretty cool huh? 

As the 4th quickly approached, a bunch of the students here got a little bummed. The 4th is that time of summer when all the family gets together, you play games, swim, eat yummy food, and watch fireworks. Definitely a time to feel a little homesick. But no worries, thanks to the Ludlows, and wonderful kitchen staff, and our FHE committee, the 4th over here in Jerusalem was one of my favorites of all time! 

After classes in the morning, I headed over to the Ludlow's to make some 4th of July cakes! Sister Ludlow, Lane, and I headed to the store (in a real car) to get all the ingredients while Brother Ludlow stayed home and baked the two cakes (he is pretty domestic if you ask me)! We then spent the afternoon playing games, getting our nails painted by Marissa, watching movies, and most importantly decorating cakes! 

Here is one of them! Isn't pretty? Melia and Marissa helped with the decorating and they did such a great job!

Here are all of us with the cake: Chloe, me, Brother Ludlow, Sister Ludlow, Natalie, Hannah, Joe, Lane, Marissa, and Melia. 

 Little did we know, the best part of our day was yet to come! Akhmed (the head chef) had prepared a DELICIOUS meal for us! We had REAL HAMBURGERS!!! They were so good. In addition to the hamburgers, we had corn, potato salad, salad, and pie and ice cream for dessert. A pretty "4th of July" meal if you ask me! Thank you, Akhmed!

Lane and I were so excited for our Hamburgers (come to find out, when you don't eat real hamburgers, due to Kosher laws, for almost three months, you get really excited)!!!

Oh how I love the Ludlows! Joe, Josh, and Marissa (she broke her poor little ankle jumping on a trampoline).

This collage is for David Cramer! We realized that we had not taken any pictures together this entire trip so we pegged the 4th as the day that we would take a pic or two or three together! Here you go Cramer (aka... funniest kid here)!!!

We ended the day with "Minute to Win It" games, flag cakes and the National Anthem, a massive dance party, and fireworks over the city (there are fireworks every night here so we all sat outside waiting for someone to light some!) HAPPY 4th! 

As our trip comes to a close, a group of us girls decided that we would make one last trip to the Dome of the Rock! Oh how I love this building!

Brooke, me, Lane, and Lauren at the Dome!

Rachelle, Brooke, Lauren, Me, Lane, Stephanie, and Melissa

 Overall, it has been a great few weeks! This place is amazing and I am loving every second of it!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

JORDAN!!! Woot Woot

Last week I had the amazing opportunity to spend four days in Jordan. There are many things that I learned and many new things I experienced. Here is a short list of what Jordan taught me:
  • I had NO idea what hot really was! OH MAN! One day it was around 110 degrees IN THE SHADE! Yep... talk about hot! And even a little bit humid! BARF!
  • Jordan roads are horrible! For a period of three hours straight, I felt like I was on a roller coaster! 
  • Jordan is an extremely safe country... I never felt endangered. Thank goodness.
  • The King of Jordan and the Royal Family have portraits ALL OVER! Kind of cool. 
  • Jordan is a country that I didn't know was soooooo coooool! So glad I got to visit and learn the things I did!
So here are some pictures from the week to share some of the amazing experiences. 

Mount Nebo: On Monday we visited Mount Nebo which is where many believe Moses "died." 
This is Booke, myself, Robin, and Anna Marie with the view from Mount Nebo in the background... yep, practically nothing. 

After Mount Nebo, we headed to Madaba where we visited a beautiful church with an amazing mosaic map on the floor. This is Annie and myself outside the Church! 

This is the mosaic map. The historical significance of this map actually is quite amazing. It is the oldest map that has been found of the holy land. This mosaic has aided many archaeologist in finding specific things; especially in the Old City. 

To end Monday, we went to the burial place of John the Baptist. It is at the top of this mountain surrounded by barren mountains and off in the distance you can see part of the Dead Sea. 
Beautiful Lane and I with the rolling mountains in the background. 

Monday night, we were driving along on our "roller coaster" bus when all of a sudden we stopped. We all got off the bus to take a picture of this: the most stunning sun set ever!! Such a tender mercy. 

In case you don't know what Petra is (cause I didn't... confession), I have included some pictures to inform you of the amazingness of this place. This is where they filmed Indiana Jones. Basically, Petra is a city that was cut out of the mountain side. There are stunning buildings carved out of rock! So here we go! This possibly could make the top 10 best days of my life!!!

This is Shelly, Lauren, myself, and Pam as we make our way through the Siq. The Siq is a lot like the Narrows in Zion's National Park. There are tall walls of colorful rock that wind back and forth. Truly stunning!

Immediately upon exiting the Siq, you come upon the Treasury. AMAZING! Yes, this is the exact location that Indiana Jones was looking for the Arc of the Covenant. 

And yes, I RODE A CAMEL!! Woot Woot! I now can mark this one off of my bucket list! How cool huh? I rode a camel in front of the treasury in Petra! 

This is Analise and I on our camels! SO FUN! Come to find out, Camels are SUPER tall! 

Ok... I just had to! KISS A CAMEL!

So, I have this really cool friend here... her name is Jerica! She went all out and definitely dressed up like she could have been in Indiana Jones. Thus, we decided to take an action picture of us holding up this rock! LOVE HER! Please appreciate the vest with fringe at the bottom, green cargo pants, and the official LEATHER HAT! 

We then hiked to the Monastery! It was quite the long hike but so worth it. Yes, these amazing buildings are actually carved straight out of the mountain side. 

This is Lane and I.

Hailey, me, and Analise hiked up to another lookout point. Monastery is in the background. 

We then went to a bunch of tombs. So yes, I had to make a zombie pose! Typical! 
Actually, these tombs were really cool and they had amazing acoustics so a group of us sang songs in them! 

 Wednesday morning we went to the Hercules Temple site. This is Analise and I. We were complete twins this day.

Next, we went to Jerash! JERASH IS STUNNING! It honestly was probably one of the coolest sites we have been to. Jerash is an ancient Roman city located in the middle of Jordan! There are hundreds of hundreds of columns still standing. You can almost imagine what the actual city could have been like. 
This is Brooke and I  with Jerash in the background. 

We love straight jumping pictures. Note: All of our feet are in fact off of the ground. 
Just having a little fun in Jerash!

Talk about cool! Everything from a 1968 Rolls-Royce to a 1984 Ashton Martin, the cars here were SWEET! 
This one was one of my favorites: a 2008 16.4 Coupe Bugatti Veyron! This thing can fly... it goes so fast! Other cars that I loved were the Mercedes, and two bright red Ferraris. SWEET!

 We spent the last day of our trip at the Jordan river. We went to Bethany Beyond Jordan to see the traditional Baptismal site of Jesus. We had a wonderful devotional here and enjoyed the spirit of the occasion. Interesting fact, we were on the Jordan side, but what you see behind us is Israel. Yes, all that separates these two countries is this small river. 
This is Joe Ludlow and I. He is such a great kid... one of my favorites! We talked for a long time on the bus ride home and he truly does have some wonderful goals and ambitions in this life. One of my favorite 14 year old friends. 

Me by the Jordan river. 

One last quick thing... in Aman we stayed in a very nice hotel. A group of us girls were assigned to stay in the "Royal Apartments" which were practically really nice apartments on the top floor of this hotel. How lucky am I? 

Well Jordan was amazing and I really enjoyed everything we saw! The coolest part was saying "I can't wait to go home" and having "home" be Jerusalem! I am so blessed to be here learning the things I am learning and experiencing the things I am experiencing. 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Hezekiah's Tunnel: a break from the blistering sun

What could possibly be a better solution for a hot day in Jerusalem? Nothing but the one and only Hezekaih's Tunnel: originally built as water storage/constant source of water for the City of David, now used as source of fun and relief from heat for JC students. It was so fun and definitely needed. The water at first truly was cold but it felt oh soooo goooood! Hezekia's tunnel was chiseled out during the day's of King David's reign. This tunnel is 1/3 of a mile long. At some points the ceiling is really high and at some points you have to bend over to keep from hitting your head. At the highest point the water came to mid thigh but for the majority of the walk it was just above my ankles. All in all, such a fun trip. A group of us hope to go back and do the entire tunnel without lights. Exciting? YEP!

Dwight and I just getting excited to enter the tunnel! WOOT WOOT!

Heather and I heading down into the tunnel. And then me cheesing it up in the tunnel. Clearly I was super excited!!!

History in this place goes SOOOOO far back! I love it! We were just walking through the City of David... 

Here a group of us are being statues where the tunnel comes out! Maybe we should work on our "Statue" faces?

Ok... so we had to do it! We are fountains! YEP!
If you can't tell, we are all spitting water out of our mouths. Yep fountains at Hezekiah's Tunnel! 
Note: Luke (bottom right corner) is really good at the whole fountain thing!

Here is Brother Harper (aka best teacher EVER) teaching us about the Pool of Siloam. This is the actual place where Jesus healed the blind man. There are very few places here in Jerusalem that are the ACTUAL places that Jesus walked. Most places would be 20 feet below the current ground because of build-up over time. But this location has been excavated and preserved so well over time that it is the actual place that Jesus walked. Powerful!

Brookie setting on the steps at the Pool of Siloam. 

This is a picture of the town that is across the Kidron Valley. It is relatively close. It is so easy to see how David could have been on his roof and looked across to see Bathsheba bathing. This story reminds us of the importance of being in the right place at the right time. 

Look at how condensed this city is. Everyone is literally on top of each other. I love that everything here is required to be built out of limestone. So pretty! 

Overall, this field trip was super fun and a nice little break before we started all of our finals. The rest of this week is FULL of tests, tests, and more tests! blah! Just a good reminder that I really am at school!

Passover Seder Meal

Last week we celebrated the Passover by having a Passover Seder Meal. Ophir (our Israel teacher) came with his daughter and we went through the ritual Passover Seder Meal. It was so interesting and fun. The meal was delicious and I learned a lot about the Jewish religion. 

This was my place setting. It was a pretty fancy night here in the Oasis! 

This is most of my table: Natalie, Rachel, Me, Alyssa, Pam, and AJ. What a good lookin' bunch!

Ludlow sandwiches are the best kind of sandwiches. 
This is J-Rowdy (also known as Brother Ludlow) and his son Josh (also known as my little brother)! Oh how I just love this family! 

 Such a fun night full of fun, friends, food, and traditions!!!