Hello readers! I have rejoined the world of blogging because I want to remember my time in the Holy Land.
The view I woke up to my first morning. This was the first snow storm Jerusalem has seen in ten years, and we were here for it!
We spent the first few days of the week in the center. We couldn't leave at all. It's so big and provides everything you need, so I didn't really notice or care, but when we finally got to go out for the first time yesterday, everyone was so excited! We walked to the garden tomb. It's about a 20 minute walk. The road we walk down to get to the city is SUPER steep downhill, and then SUUUUPER steep uphill before you get to anything significant. I'm a little sore today (which is a sign that I need to work out more.)
The city all covered in snow
The garden tomb was nice, but I think I'll have to go back a few times to get more out of it. I was surprised that it was just right in the middle of the city. I always pictured it being in a peaceful meadow or something. That's not the case at all. There is a big bus station right next to it, separated only by a chain link fence (next to Golgotha, not the actual tomb.) I also thought that Golgotha would be more of a distance away, but it's right next to the tomb. You can walk between the two in thirty seconds. I was just surprised. It wasn't exactly what I thought, but so far nothing here is.
Overlooking the Old City from the roof of the Austrian Hospice.
I volunteered to accompany a singer and violin player in a music try out for a musical number in church. The song is so pretty. It's called Savior, Redeemer of my Soul (they sing it in 17 miracles) you should look it up. It was pretty difficult though for only having a day to prepare, but I wanted to try. So I practiced and practiced and practiced. Anyway, I was feeling good about it, but when we got up to audition, I totally messed it up. Haha! It was pretty bad, but I didn't feel too horrible about it since I only had the music for a day and a half. Apparently people were still impressed because we got lots of compliments, but to make sure that I get a musical number I played another simpler piano solo. That went much smoother.
The branch here is really small, but when you add all the students it's a decent size. Ward choir started yesterday, and I was surprised that so many people joined. We practiced before church for 20 minutes, and then sang in sacrament meeting. We sounded really good. One of my friends told me after that her and her three roommates were the only four students that didn't get up and sing. That means there was 79 of us up there!
I love all the different cultures here! Every where you look there are different people who are so outspoken about what they believe and how they live. It's sooo refreshing.
Today we got our first tour of the city, and we got to go into the Old City. I never knew that it was an actual city within a city. It's really cool. It was fun to look inside all the shops, but I haven't boughten anything yet. I saw a really cute leather back pack that I want to go back for.
I have an awkward body in this picture, but that's because these cushions aren't real. They're cement (and not that comfortable). Pretty cool though. They had a bunch of them spread all throughout a court yard.
There were cute little boys running all over the narrow streets of Old Jerusalem. Two of them followed us as we walked to the Austrian Hospice. They were talking with us and laughing, and melting our hearts. Then, when we got there, they slipped right inside the doors with us and took off running. They were giggling and thought they were so clever, but my teacher called after them and told them to get out. They knew exactly what they were doing. Sly.
The view from our balcony
Nights at the center are really fun. We play volleyball or basketball, or sometimes have game nights. Tonight everyone is studying like crazy because we have our first field trip around Jerusalem tomorrow, and a big test coming up.
Our view is beautiful, there are cats everywhere, and I feel so lucky to be here.