Saturday, September 14, 2013

Has it only been a week?

Hi, folks!

Forgive me in advance for not including as many details about being out in the Holy Land yet. This week was primarily two things: Class hitting us in the FACE, and jet lag.

Well, we've been here ten days. It's pretty much a consensus that the same time warp you experience on the mission is what we're going through here. We all feel like we've lived here forever! And yet we've hardly been here at all.

Can I just say how amazing this center is? I pictured it being more old looking in my mind's eye, but as it turns out, this facility is very modern, new and vibrant! It's newer than I imagined it would be! It really adds to the excitement of being here. Also, random fact of the day: There are lots of feral cats out here. They wander all around the outdoor section of our cafeteria, waiting for us to drop food. And we see them wandering the streets of Jerusalem, too! I love it.

The stress load out here is immense. But I'm learning so much! The class list here is the same for everyone:

  • Old Testament
  • New Testament
  • Palestine/Islam Culture & History
  • Israeli/Jewish Culture & History
  • Ancient Near East
  • Field Trips
  • Hebrew / Arabic language
I talked to one of the administrators here, and they gave me permission to go to both the Hebrew and Arabic class! They don't really give any homework, so it's just play time for me. Ah, I forgot how much I love learning languages. After all, I am a linguist by trade! I just speak computer...

Each of these classes dishes out a hefty reading assignment every single class, to the point where I could easily spend literally all of my outside-of-class time reading. This is partially due to the fact that jet lag really hit me hard, and I'm already genetically inclined to sleep on my feet. So I've dealt with some major frustrations when it comes to staying awake. It's a thorn in my side, but at the same time I've come to terms with the blessings that come from it. Think of it! It's a built-in system to force me to prioritize the most important things in my life first! Because if I put them last, I simply can't stay awake to do it. So while it's incredibly frustrating, I'm looking at my permanent fatigue as a blessing.

I now know all of the 80 students's faces here, and there's only 2 or 3 names that don't come right to mind when I see them. What a great group of people we have here! Everyone is just great. It's a really different experience having your entire life encapsulated in one building. We all live under one roof where we eat, sleep, study, and go to church. My Old Testament teacher, Fred Woods, is also my branch president. The other Old Testament teacher, David Belnap, is our Elder's Quorum president. And for those of you who knew Mark Sleight back in our old South Jordan home, he's the Israel District President! The world gets ever smaller.

Despite my efforts to circumvent this fact, the universe is determined to bar me entirely from checking in on my Facebook, though everything else on the internet seems to work just fine. So, uh... sorry about that. And if you're wondering how this blog gets posted to my Facebook (hopefully that's working) it's because I set up a trigger to automatically post them on Facebook when I post to my blog.

Anyway, we've been on 2 field trips so far. The first was a little tour through the Old City to get us oriented to Jerusalem. The second was a Jerusalem overlook field trip, where we went more along the outskirts of the city to survey the land and the geography. It actually really helps to understand the places that go with the stories.

The Israeli people have Sabbath attire down. No neck ties. Best thing ever. Unfortunately, we still wear them for church. But when we dress up go out to certain holy places, it's no neck tie. And thank heavens, because we'd probably sweat out every drop of body fluid if we did. Luckily, we're all sweaty together, so it makes being sweaty slightly less gross, and certainly more tolerable.

Well shoot. I'd blog a little more about yesterday's trip to the Western Wall (improperly called the Wailing Wall), but the CES fireside is starting in just a minute. Until next time!

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