Sunday, September 27, 2009


"but I can't count sheckels!!!

"Guys this train ride is the worst!!!... It's florescent lighting. I HATE florescent lighting."

"Like all the ladies in my ward get boob jobs..."
With a pondering look... "I wanted a boob job."

"It'll be a triple date!"
"Can a married woman come?"
"Why, are you planning on getting married?"
"Okay then... anyways..."

Sitting down at the computer...
"Who am I gonna stalk now!?"

"In the ancient days they were called shakes..."
"mmm... shakes!"

We're all sitting and studying...
"I never knew that Muslims were Christians, too!"
All heads turn to her...Silence...

"Shelley, tell me how you say the name of the state I'm from"
"I don't know where you're from Mauri."
"You know... Las Vegas..."
"Oh! Arizona!"

"Rabbinic Judaism was during the 2nd till 18th century"
Turning to Lizzie..."Wait... what century are we in now?"

"Do you know what I was just thinking about, I feel like I have an internet boyfriend."

Leaning over to me, holding a gummy...
'This one's gross!! Try it..."
"No, I don't want it."
She puts it in her mouth.
"Why did you eat it!?"
"Where else would I put it?"

Friday, September 25, 2009

Mt. Sinai

We ended our trip to Egypt with a bang. Thursday morning we woke up at 2 am to hike Mt. Sinai and make it for the sunrise. We started hiking in complete darkness, under the stars. First thing I looked for was my common checkpoint of finding the Big Dipper, and then the Little Dipper. I'm getting pro. About halfway they let us break off, so I started to run. Obviously, I didn't run for that long, but I was able to break away so I could hike in semi-silence. I got to the top, with Bryan close behind, and we found the perfect spot for others to gather around us as they came. On top of Mt. Sinai, I watched as the sky turned from darkness to light. And now you can see a small glimpse of what I experienced...
Once the sun was up, people in our group started singing hymns. It was surreal sitting on the ledge, looking over the valley, and listening to hymns, thinking about Christ. I thought about Moses, and I thought about the very mountain I was on going up in smoke and fire. It made me think about life and how I personally want to leave the mount. It was such an awesome experience!
The Red Sea!

Luxor & Back

Saturday night we took a flight from Giza to Luxor. Sunday morning we started off by going to the Valley of the Kings. No pictures were allowed here. We took a ride into the valley and saw the tombs of Ramses VI, Ramses I, and King Tut. There are a total of 63 tombs in the Valley of the Kings, all of which have been robbed except King Tut's. His tomb was burried under another tomb, and was discovered by an excavater who spilled water. The water dripped and uncovered stairs leading to King Tut's tomb. In King Tut's tomb, his body was also there. It was so short and small, and amazing to see. The tomb was surrounded by more hieroglyphics that relate to our modern temples. It was an embrace, that is the same as that in the temple, supposedly. The Egyptians have similar things as our temple supposedly, because Noah had Hem, who had Shem, who married an Egyptian.
After the Valley of the Kings we went to the tomb of Hatchepsut on the other side. Her tomb is still considered in the Valley of the Kings, however.

Later that afternoon we went on a boat ride across the Nile River to where they had camels waiting for us!

My Camel's name was Micah and my leaders name was Iman. It was a great ride. Iman and I sang Bob Marley, he let me hold the reigns of the camel, and he kept asking me if I have a boyfriend. I told him he needs to find a girl and take her on a camel ride. He loved the idea. He also told me how to say I love you in Arabic, then he kept saying it to me. Very bonding moment. Ha, NOT! But it was funny, and it was crazy to ride a camel!On the way back we waited on our boat for the other group to finish their camel rides, so we got to watch the sunset on the Nile.

The next day we went to Karnak Temple and Luxor Temple. They were both huge and so much to see. Karnak temple had so many columns in one section, and huge obelisks. And Luxor Temple was also amazing. A creepy part was that as we walked through, Egyptian men would sit against the walls and take pictures of us as we walked by. It got to the point where boys in our group would walk by us and cover our faces.

We took a night train back from Luxor and returned to Giza. The next day we went to Cairo and saw Muhammad's Mosque and citadel. Islam explained the rituals at the mosques for us and the domes help amplify the sound of the one leading the prayer. In Cairo, we even ate at the Hard Rock Cafe. They sang and danced for us, and it was nice to eat an American meal.

The Pyramids

Last Thursday we headed off for Egypt. Along the way we stopped at Beersheba, Sde Boker (the Wilderness of Zin Overlook), Tel Avdat, Maktesh Ramon, and we ended at Kibbutz Yotvata. It was amazing driving through such desert, and thinking of the stories from the bible. Like outside Beersheba is where Hagar was sent and wandered. To picture her having to survive out in that desert is unbelievable. The Kibbutz Yotvata was another different story altogether. I never knew communities like this existed. They took us on a driving tour of the Kibbutz, and the tour was... interesting. Our tour guide was a lady wearing a t-shirt with cactus cowboys on it, riding rabbits and pigs, and she loves her dates. She talked to us for a half hour on the process of growing and picking dates, and also how members are voted into the community, and occassionally, voted out. To become a member, one must apply, then a vote is taken. Sounds intense, eh? The Kibbutz pays everyone an allowance, but they also provide for all their needs: home, food, insurance, school, and they can even check out a car to use. Yes, that is right, they have cars to check out. During the tour our guide had the bus stop in the middle of nowhere to look at a battery. She then went on to explain how this battery is controld by a machine, to help read the fields. I don't think that stop was necessary. Lauren Magleby made designs out of leaves, and Hailey said, "I really just wish bird would poo on her!" We all loved it.

When our bus caught the first glimpse of the pyramids, everyone went crazy. People were standing up, yelling, cheering, and taking pictures. It really was surreal to by driving through the city of Giza, and have the pyramids pop up on the skyline. I always thought they were more in the middle of nowhere, but they are right outside of Giza!That night we went to a light show at the pyramids, and we really were this excited. We got our tour guide who would stay with us the rest of the week, Islam Said, and he started off with a bang. He named us Tut, but reminded us quickly that it is pronounced "Toot!" So everywhere we went he would say, "Come on Toot! Hurry up Toot!" We loved it. He introduced us to the pyramids by giving us some facts. The tallest of the 3 pyramids is 500 ft/149.4 m tall and each brick weighs 2 tons. There are 117 pyramids total and the last was found just about 6 months ago. The Giza pyramids are 4500 years old, and they are tombs, not temples. Lauren Ricks, Lauren Magelby, and I excited about the pyramids!
The lights on the pyramids were so cool. I was sitting there under the stars in Egypt, looking at the pyramids. Best line of the night was, "The world fears time, and time fears...THE PYRAMIDS". The program was great, L. Mags and I were cracking up.
The next morning we headed to the pyramids and got tickets to go up into the pyramid and see the tomb in the biggest pyramid. We climbed up a small shaft and it opened into the tomb, right in the middle of the pyramid. We continued to see the rest of the pyramids, and the Sphinx. At the Sphinx, Adri was lining up a picture of me looking like I was kissing it (of course, a must, right?). But the best part was the little boy who came up and started to try and help. He kept squeezing my lips to purse them together, and I couldn't stop laughing. Thus the picture is not posted, because I am just kissing the chin.
The Pyramids!!!

Thursday, September 24, 2009


This morning I hiked Mt. Sinai. No Big Deal.

Camel? Camel?

Friday, September 11, 2009

First Week

Jerusalem is amazing. And that is maybe the only simple thing about it. Classes loaded us with lots of reading this week and I feel like I have information overload right now. We are beginning to learn about Judaism, Palestinians and Muslims, the Old Testament, and the land surrounding us. Everything is so complicated because each story is built upon another that happened thousands of years ago. So as I'm learning more, it is fun to then walk around the city and notice things that we learn from our reading.
Tonight we went to the Western Wall to watch the Jews celebrate the beginning of the Sabbath. People were dancing, singing, praying, swaying, and sincerely pressed up against the wall praying. They will stay out all night doing this, we only stayed 2 hours. During that time a shooting happened right outside the gate in the City of David. 2 men were shot, 16 and 40. None of the students knew about this until we gathered to go home. Instead of the 20 minute walk back to the Center, they escorted us to a bus in the opposite direction with all security personnel lining the streets, following us in vans, and running up and down the line of students. When we got on they realized we were missing one student. So the guards became more frantic, grabbed a student who could recognize him, jumped in a van, and drove off. Brian had gone to the bathroom, and when he came out, we were all gone so he took a taxi home and beat us. So he was fine. It was a crazy though.
Everyday is like a new adventure, and even though things are planned, we never know what exactly will happen. Today Lauren stepped in human feces, I bet she didn't plan on that when she woke up. We also sat in King David's Hotel for a minimum of 30 minutes, thinking how nice and modern it was. We looked at the pool, looked at shops, and then asked for directions to the Dormition of Abby. "Oh just go to King David's Hotel and it's around the corner..." Oh, so that means just around the corner then? Taylor asked. "No, you have to pass a gas station, a store, then you'll pass King David's Hotel, and it's behind that." Hmm... No wonder the hotel looked so modern, it was the wrong one.
I had a Solero today and instantly thought of my whole family in Europe! I can remember everyone saying Solero over and over, and I always felt so left out, until I learned what it meant! Ha, so rediculous, but I'm glad I had you guys watching out for me, haha. It was delicious though.
Here's some pictures thus far...
After getting crushed in Damascus Gate

Haredi Jews (ultra-orthodox)

Western Wall

Jerusalem at sunset from BYU Jeru

Orson Hyde Garden

The street up to the Center

St. Augusta Tower (church)

Looking over Bethlehem

Underneath the BYU Jerusalem Center

Written on the walls
The REAL King David Hotel

The Dormition of Abby

Mary's Tomb

Damascus Gate on Friday afternoon...and Amy
The streets of the Old City

Thursday, September 3, 2009


This morning I woke up to the sound of the prayer call blasting through the speakers on the hill next to the Center. It is in Arabic and goes on for at least 5 minutes. As it woke me up I thought about all of the people getting up to pray, and was amazed by their devotion.
After breakfast and a meeting, we headed off on an orientation walk throughout the city. We saw so many things that as of now I don't know how to spell, but I'll try anyways: Olive trees, Kanab valley, Mount of Olives, Garden of Gethsemane (from a distance), Old Jerusalem... hmmm, really I don't remember all of the places. We weren't allowed to bring a camera or money, they just wanted us to get oriented with everywhere. So I just walked, looked, and tried to take it all in. Obviously in the months to come it will all become very familiar to me.
It is different than I expected. Every building and part of the streets are made with limestone. In many parts of the city you can see how over centuries the city just gets higher and higher because instead of tearing things down, they just build over old buildings.
I can't believe I am here. It still feels like just a vacation. I feel like I need to be buying everything now, seeing everything now, but then I realize I will be here for 3 1/2 more months. Crazy! And exciting. I'm loving it. It's fun getting to know all the people right now. It's like every hour I get to know someone better, which is so much fun.
Jerusalem, so far, so good! I'm loving it!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


After 25 hours of travel time, I am here!