Friday, January 9, 2009

Hello from the Holy Land

Here is the amazing view from my patio!
So today is Saturday and my first Shabbat (Sabbath) here in Jerusalem which is totally weird to say but what the heck, I'm in Israel! All of us students live in a little branch with a couple families who are here working at the UN or finishing up grad school which I think is way cool! So we meet in this auditorium on the very top floor (there are 8 levels) with ginormous windows overlooking all of Jerusalem. Let me tell you how hard it is to focus on what the speaker is saying when you have the Dome of the Rock staring at you and the rest of the Holy Land right there in your face. It is an incredible site! This week has been absolutely exhausting with orientation meetings galore and hundreds of pages assigned to read for classes. I'm being completely serious here! I am already drowning in assignments and I only had two classes yesterday! This better not last for four months or I'm out of here...not really but I might consider it. Well I arrived here Wednesday evening at about 5pm completely drained from the 20 hour flight and 9 hour time difference I encountered which totally messed up my whole system. My body is slowly but surely overcoming the jet lag I have been experiencing. It is so surreal to me that I'm actually in the Holy Land barely a mile away from the place where my Savior, Jesus Christ suffered for all of my pains, sorrows, and temptations. It is absolutely incredible! Thursday morning bright and early (no sleeping in for us), we were given the grand tour of East Jerusalem which houses the Old City and a little bit of West Jerusalem. As of right now, we are not allowed to go into East Jerusalem because of the Palestinian and Israeli conflict. Last night there was an attempt for cease fire by the Israeli government but that has been denied as of early this morning. The bombings going on in the Gaza Strip are about 48 miles away from the Center which seems dangerously close, but we have been told that the rockets can't reach more than 25 miles which means we won't be touched. Something else to consider is that we are about 2 miles away from the Dome of the Rock which is the third most holy site in all of Israel. According to Islamic history, this is the place where Muhammad ascended to Heaven; therefore, no Israeli or Palestinian in their right mind would ever attempt to bomb that sacred shrine. So no one should be worried at all that I might blow up into pieces any time soon. We are definitely being watched over.


Brooke and Aaron said...

I think you are brave to be on the other side of the world, but I can tell you are excited about the whole experience so we're happy as long as you're happy. The workload sounds tough. It won't be easy, but I'm sure this will all be worth it. What a unique opportunity for you. Enjoy it to the fullest! We love and miss you!

Lisa--aka The Gardenweasel said...

GOOD LUCK! I always wanted to study there but had to take two trips, instead! I am so jealous! Keep us all posted. You are the best!
Lisa Spice