Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Ketch-Up

 Shalom loved ones!

David, Davis, Amanda, me, Alyssa
             Lo and behold, Danielle is blogging. Mostly for my family that I miss, but also because this is one experience that I’ll want to refer to all my life. Jerusalem has officially been home for 28 days now, so this post is more of a summary of my new life. My goal is to blog about the best experience every week, so if you're bored out of your mind, come check out how the Texas girl is doin' in the Holy Land!

            After rolling out of bed at 7:15, I pull back our outdated green curtains and look out on the Old City. Every room here has a patio, and once after completing a worksheet on the Dome of the Rock, I walked onto ours, and there it stood, this giant gold dome. Right there! There's a joke here that if the Muslims ever polished it we'd all go blind. :P. For the next 3 months I get to share this experience with 82 other BYU students. My favorite class is Judaism, taught by Ophir Yardin. He is Jewish so wears a kippa, but is also bald..one day Ima ask him how it stays on. His lectures are letting me understand the Jewish culture better, and I feel more comfortable in the city the more I learn. Hebrew is my other favorite class. During our first lecture the Morah (teacher) promised us we’d know how to read the language by the end....a falsehood? Nope! Hebrew is so simple its impossible to make a mistake. I can sing a few Hebrew songs including Happy Birthday, and am trying to master the 26 letter alphabet. Mrs. Goldman is also a Jew and talks about her daily life. Here's a tidbit: a day in Jewish culture begins and ends at sundown, not midnight. Here's another: on your birthday you sit in a chair so that four macho men can then come and raise you up in the air til your new age---I'm fully expecting my brothers to lift me 20 times in April!
      What is amazing about being here is we go out into the city and on field trips and actually get to see these sites we study. The Western Wall is as close as the Jews can get to the Temple Mount (where the Dome of the Rock lies), because it belongs to the Muslims, so they worship at the Wall. Friday nights to welcome in Shabbat (Sabbath) I got to observe the women praying, dancing and singing--worshiping in their way. It was amazing to see such dedication and I even got to touch the wall!

Alright....was that a descriptive intro? Trying to condense a completely new life is actually quite difficult. It's like calculus except enjoyable. Neway, I love you all!

The Judean Wilderness
     Shalom,
        Danielle

p.s. Shalom means peace, hello, and goodbye






  Left: Boys love to play marbles or tops in the streets. 
Right: Lys, Hannah, Amanda, and I with our olive wood rings. Omar, a local olive wood carver, loves BYU students and gave us these to "practice" for marriage :).