Friday, November 5, 2010

#2 -- A Picture of Somewhere You've Been

Since I mentioned Israel yesterday, I thought I'd put a picture or two from there as the "place I've been". I don't have a scanner so these are actually photos taken OF my photos -- with out my having even bothered to take them out from behind the plastic of the album they were in. So, basically, they are just awful. Still, they will give you some small idea of the amazingness of being there. I remember Rabbi Rosen telling us something during one of our first classes with him about Jerusalem being the navel of the world . . . which sounds a little odd until you realize he was explaining it as the city which the umbilical chord from heaven connects straight to. It is really just impossible to be there with out feeling overwhelmed by spiritual history. So so much stuff in such a small area. I nearly wanted to cry looking though these photos, and then, of course, I had to go pull out the journal I kept while I was there. I can't really believe that little stay-close-to-home-homebody me managed to have that experience.

Here is the Nabatean Treasury carved right into the mountain side. This wasn't actually in Israel at all, rather in Petra, Jordan. Petra has been described as "A rose red city half as old as time." And, you may recognize the treasury from Indiana Jones! It was definitely one of the coolest places we got to go to. Also here I am at the Dome of the Rock. It is in the "Old City" which is the walled in area of Jerusalem -- and while you can see it from nearly anywhere at all in Jerusalem, my friends and I wandered around the old city forever trying to figure how to actually get to it. At last these cool little Palestinian kids showed us the way.

The few weeks we spent in Galilee were, I think, about everyones favorite part of the semester. Here is a little picture I took as we hung out along the shore one evening. Tiberias was across the sea and I still have such a perfect image in my mind of the long triangle of lights from the city of Tiberias we would begin to see as night set in along the shore of Galilee. Also, here I am with my roommates at the top of Mt. Sinai in Sinai, Egypt where we all hiked at about 2:00 am so we could be up there to see the sunrise. We watched so many sunrises and sunsets during our time there that I think those peaceful moments were the cause of my eyeglass prescription doubling before I returned home.

Here was all stopped at some cool sand dunes on our way home from Sinai (by "home" I mean: back to the Jerusalem center -- which really was home to us).

Speaking of the Jerusalem center. Possibly there is no place more perfectly located and situated and more all around gorgeous. I can't believe that I spent several months with these views constantly greeting my eyes from pretty much every room in the center. Just sitting in the chapel there for one hour as you overlooked the entire city was enough to make you want to weep for joy at the experience!

And now, for my own pleasure, a few random sentences from my Israel journal:

"It will be at least another 12 hours before we are anywhere near Tel Aviv."

"Jet lag is awful. I have slept about eight hours in three days."

"I love sacrament meeting in our chapel. Today our choir sang, 'There is a Green Hill Near at Hand'."

". . . then we exchanged some money and went into the old city."

"He asked if he should put it in the backpack so no one would steal it. I just laughed, 'no one will steal our water.' . . . we reached Damascus gate . . . next thing I know, this little old lady on the street has the water."

". . . went out on a run and there was this cool Bedouin Sheepherder with about 20 goats behind him."

"I went to the Israeli museum today. The Dead Sea Scrolls are there. It is HUGE. I saw maybe 1/3rd of everything."

"Today a bunch of us headed to Joffa gate where you can get up on the old city walls and walk around."

"After class today, I took off with Jeff and Dave to look for Hezekiah's tunnel. We didn't find it."

"Luckily Shibon (an old city store owner) gave us a ride home."

". . . and then down into the valley of Elah where David slew Goliath."

"I seriously cannot stay awake at all in my classes."

"I am sitting in my room right now with Sarah listening to a tape I made."

"I wish I could write all I'm learning in Isaiah."

"Today we got to press grapes in the wine press up in the Bible Garden."

"Dr. Nazzal took us to the Dome of the Rock and the Alaqsa mosque."

"Dr. Nazzal brought the men who do the call to prayer here for us. It was cool to listen closely to that strange singing and praying that I've only heard floating above Jerusalem."

"After that they had a traditional Ramadan feast with us."

" . . . took our class to the West Bank. . . . 21 refugee camps. . . . Next we went to the Palestinian "Birzeit" University."

"Arabs are so hospitable. We came up to talk to them, but they immediately insisted on getting us drinks saying, 'You are our guests.'"

"Visited the tel of Old Testament Jericho."

" . . . we were going to walk the Via Delerosa, but their were no English tours today . . . wandered into the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer. . . . little stone steps that never stopped curving around up to the top of the church past where the cathedral bells were."

"Sarah S. and I woke up at 5:20 am . . . went to Mea Shearim to buy shabbot bread."

". . . one or two other boys began singing -- more and more male voices from my class joined in. I suddenly started smiling and almost laughing -- it was just so good and happy. They were loudly singing, 'Ye Elders of Israel.'"

"Went to Aladdin's today (the money changer). . . . He told us he's the most honest crook there is."

"It's Rosh Hashanah so lots is closed."

"We also went to Mt. Nebo. . . . I liked looking over towards the Jordan river like Moses did - seeing the promised land after 40 years of wandering."

"Sarah S. and I hiked with Jason up to the 'high spot' where the altar for sacrifice was."
" . . . So I pleaded, 'No! No! I love that one!' He said, 'Oh! But you are breaking my heart!' I just took it gently from his hand and laughed, 'I'm not breaking your heart.' He just smiled and I gave him one deniro."
" . . . bunch of us left at 7:30 to go hear the Israel philharmonic play."
"Security called our buses, but they took forever to get back."
"We noticed they'd given us new curtains -- so we cheered some more and made someone come take a picture . . ."
"He just kept saying, 'Think how lucky you are! Not only are you a member of the church, but out of the millions of members, you got to come here!'"
". . . we had a simulated 'Seder' or Passover dinner with Rabbi Rosen."
". . . then we went to The Monastery of the Cross. It was probably my favorite church that we've visited so far. . . . just two old guys and a 15 year old boy. He spoke a tiny bit of English, but they really only spoke Russian. I think the only thing they knew how to say was 'No entry' if we headed towards somewhere we couldn't go."
"We went first of all to Masada. . . . climbed up the Roman siege ramp."
". . . the Dead Sea. . . . I was so funny to just sit there and completely float."
"W spoke a little Arabic with the owner of Lana's then we came back and played a round of chess on my new set."
"I just spent the entire morning right outside of our room snorkeling along the coral reef of the Red Sea!"
"Strange hiking up Sinai in the dark. There were camels everywhere and occasional huts selling things."
"We are now back at our little home here at the center. I love it here. I loved as we got near the view I had of Jerusalem. It truly is a city on a hill."
"We had the choir do a beautiful song -- Mendelssohn (sp?) from 'Elijah' -- 'He Watching Over Us.'"
"We went to Shepherd's field to retell the Christmas story . . . hill was sloped and covered with rocks and shrubs, and the entire time we looked past two hills with Bethlehem nestled between them. . . . There were actually sheep across the valley walking down a little slope. You could hear them bleating distantly and an occasional sheep bell. . . . It was so perfect it makes me want to cry."
"He hugged Jason and kissed him on the cheek and did the same to each of us, then he just crouched and beamed at us -- I wasn't really sure what we were to do. The store owner came and said something and the guy left. . . . he still seemed pretty cheery. . . ."
"Driving in tonight, I looked at the Sea of Galilee and I felt like crying just for a brief second. . . to think my Savior really walked on, knew, and loved these shores."
"Mt of Beatitudes . . . Caupernaum . . . Chorazin. We headed to Tiberias after that."
". . . a number of tourists were killed in Egypt . . . tourists fleeing out of Egypt . . . everyone has been speculating about what will happen . . . tonight we found out from Pres. Evans that no, we are not going. . . . I won't go see the pyramids, etc. When will I ever again get to Egypt?"
"Today is Thanksgiving."
". . . went to Nain which is where Christ brought back to life a widow woman's only son."
"I am on an airplane right now at the tail end of a 13.5 hour flight from Tel Aviv to New York."
Well! That was certainly long and yet still missing roughly 100 trillion of the adventures. Sigh. what a cool adventure.


marzee said...

How neat! And to think - you were there right about this time - how many years ago? So great. I hope to go there someday. But goodness - no way could I ever have the guided tour you did. Amazing! What a treasured experience. Maybe we could go together - you be my wise tour guide - and this time we WILL see Egypt! Wahoo! (Remember - because we're both going to be rich someday? Hawaii, Jerusalem AND Egypt!)

Karen said...

What an amazing adventure. I am so glad you included some of your journal entries. It was easy to feel what you were feeling by you words. Someday, I would love to hear you tell about it.

BS and the Kids said...

Oh Nancy the memories! Some bring back fond laughter, others nostalgia and others tears of joy! I kept thinking who is Sarah S, but DUHHHH! Thanks for the memories and for sharing in such a fun way!

BS and the Kids said...

And I couldn't help but think, "YOU will DIE!" from a certain one of those pictures!

Kelly said...

Nancy, I love love love your posts! I loved the 15 things about you, everytime I read one I thought "that's right, that's my Nancy!" It is fun to reminisce with you about your stay in Israel. I definitely want to travel there sometime-perhaps we could go together?

Nancy said...

Thanks Kellski!

And Sarah, yes! I nearly forgot, "You WILL Die!" It's a miracle any of us escaped that fate! Hah! We MUST make Jill come down and for our next get together we should bring our pics and journals etc. to reminisce with!

P.S. Oh, as for Scott's ostrich farm photo. I think it was directly across the street from where we stayed in Galilee. A few of us just wandered over to check out the ostriches one day, I guess? Weird.

Jill said...

All the Jerusalem pictures here and on Facebook lately have left me feeling very nostalgic. I loved the journal snippits, so many memories...I am so glad that we got to be roommates there. Somehow I know that it just wouldn't have been the same if it hadn't been the four of us in the room. I am going to have to get a plane ticket for just me and come visit you 3. What about Jan-Feb? after all the holidays are over?

Nancy said...

Jill! I know! Imagine the awfulness had you girls put "room mates who go to bed early!" Are you really going to come visit? Last time I went to dinner with the Sarahs we were seriously saying that we had to have you come down and then all four of us go spend the night somewhere (maybe one of the Sarahs even said they have a family cabin or something?). That would be so fun!!!

BS and the Kids said...

I can't help but think that had we put early to bed roomies what we would have ended up with. But really, who goes to bed early in college anyway? Would anyone really have put that? Only nerds for sure! Jill, we would love to have you. An Midway would do. Anytime....let me know in advanced so I can change my schedule. I really don't remember that Ostrich farm, that is so funny!

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