Sunday, January 18, 2009


We started our trip this day by going to the Chagall Windows. There are 12 windows and each of them depict the personality of each of the 12 tribes. My favorite was the orange window and I thought to myself "That's got to be my tribe" and it was Joseph's window. Here's a website that shows each of the 12 windows:
After the windows we walked down to Ein-Kerem. This is the most beautiful place on earth! It's a small quaint town that is famed to be the birth place of John the Baptist. We spent most of the days wandering. It was quiet, not too many people were out and about and the paths and streets were gorgeous, not to mention the view or the awesome hike we took to get there. We saw a lot of local churches like the Church of the Visitation and an amazing Russian Orthodox church. Of all the places I've been to so far, this is my favorite. We did a whole load of hiking and I feel completed.

Most of our group by Mary's spring in Ein Kerem


Friday, January 16, 2009

Field Trip!

On Wednesday Jan 14 we had a geography field trip. We traveled to multiple hill tops and towers arround the city to get oriented and to learn more about our surroundings. I was on the Matthew bus, Eliza was on the Mark so we went to the same places but at different times. It was a rather brisk windy day and I was wishing that I had put an extra wind breaker on top of my jacket and sweater. We started at Seven Arches over-look (now I don't remember the relation of these sites to the old city, but give me a few weeks and I will;-). This was just a hotel with a great view of the city, there aren't even seven arches to be seen, somebody thought it would be a cool name. Then we went to St. Augusta Victoria Tower. It's one of the three towers on the East side of the city, which is the side we live on so where ever we are I can spot out these towers and make it back to the Center. This tower was built for Augusta Victoria, the wife of someone wealthy, because she wanted to have a good view of the city. It was built this century, but it was built in the same style as old mideval buildings. It was built to be a hospital, and it has a chapel which are still in use today. I liked this building because it was built by the Orthodox Germans, so everything is in German, and in the gift shop they have old books for sale that were apparently from the Holocaust. I met the gift shop worker, who was from Germany and came to Jerusalem to fulfill his government required service. He helped me translate some of the inscriptions on the walls. Then we went to Deir Elyas which is a hill on the Ridge Road or the Path of the Patriarchs, which is the road that Abraham and his posterity took when they came to Jerusalem. While we were there there came a shepherd family and their flock of sheep, and the sheep just started mingling in with our group as they ate the foliage. From this vantage point we had a great view of the kabutz where mom and dad stayed when they were in Jerusalem, though I here it looks nothing like it did when they were there, don't worry, I took a picture. We ate lunch at the Haas Promenade which is south of the city and it si supposed that on this Hill Abraham had his first view of Mount Mariah were he went to sacrifice Isaac. Then we went to Nebi Samwil north of Jerusalem where Samuel the Prophet is famed to have been burried. From here we were all frozen from the wind and sun worn as we traveled back to the center. I was really surprised at how close everything was. We could stand on one hill and see both Jerusalem and Bethlehem at the same time. I always imagined this area to be much bigger. It was a way fun day and I'm feeling much more oriented around here.

Me and one of my roommates, Emma, on top of the very blustery Nebi Samwil.


Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Yet another great day at BYU- Jerusalem

I realized that I never said anything about shabat (the sabbath). I have been called as a nursery leader. I have three little kids in nursery and they are all adorable. On that same thought on shabatt we never get lunch, but I now get snack time. I have yet again defied the system (whoo hoo).
Yesterday a group of us went to West Jerusalem (the Jewish quarter) and we went to this place called the time elevator. It was a motion ride that covered the history of Jerusalem from the jewish perspective, I felt so smart as I walked out of the theatre.
Today we went on our first field trip. It was all with in 15 miles of the center, but there is so much to see. I now have see Jerusaelm from every angle. I have decided that the buses+ these streets+ my motion sickness= no bueno. We went to Samuel's barriel place and 200 steps of the tower of a lutheran church (that I can't remeber the name of) and we saw ramat rahel (it is a lot nicer than when mom and dad stayed there, they told us that it was renevated in the last 5 years or so), we also went to a jewish cemetary and a few other places.
The day was really cool getting to see all the sights, but the more I am in this land the more I realize two things: How absolutely beautiful it is and how torn it is. I used to think that the conflicts i Isreal were so cut and dry, black and white, but the more I learn the more I realize that neither side is completely clean. In the last five years there has been a huge undertaking of building a seperation wall. Imagine two children fighting and putting a duct tape line down the middle of the room, only it is not duct tape- it is cement and the line is not straight down the middle it is built around all the cool toys and the best bed and the larger part of the room.
Yesterday we had a man from the American Embassy came and do a forum. He spoke very openly (not to be shared with the media) about the goings on in Gaza. I mean to tell you what... wow. It is insanity!
I love being here!
P.S. Dad I met Tuttle. (I thought he'de have more of an accent after graduating from Poli-Techniqe, but alas he didn't)


Sunday, January 11, 2009

Rainy Day

Today we met out modern Near Eastern studies teachers Ophir Yarden who is Jewish and Dr. Adnan Musallam who is Palestinian. Both are amazing professors and I'm excited to learn each of their perspectives on the Holy Lands. After lunch we had free time and we were told we could go into Jerusalem but only under very strict conditions. There had been some Palestinian demonstrations in the city last week, protesting the conflict in Gaza. We were asked to stay in groups of at least 5 people and at least one guy. As we walked around in our group I felt safe. I love being inside the Old City. We went to The Church of the Holy Sepulcher, it was nice. As we walked the streets we heard "No charge for looking." and "For Mormons, half price." a lot. I wasn't planning on buying anything, but it began to rain, so I bartered with a guy who wanted 50 shekels for an umbrella, he eventually went down to 20, but I told him that it was still too much then later I came to a gentleman who sold one to me for 15. We got back to the center drenched, but way happy. It was a lovely day!

If you will look closely, I am noticeably dryer than the rest of the group, thanks to my new umbrella ;-)


Friday, January 9, 2009

Well I officially realized I was headed to a whole different place when I was on the flight over. I got up to go to the bathroom and there was an Islamic gentleman with his head in the corner of the back of the plane and he was chantting this beautiful song. I almost felt guilty go to the bathroom.
We also got to visit the city in a city tour. This is the coolest city ever, bu let me tell you I have never felt more like a "peculiar people" more in my life. It was very evident to every person in that city that we were not locals. It also was interesting to see all the soldiers with there massive guns that they tote around 24/7. Even when they are off duty they carry their guns; because, if their gun is stolen then they get some kind of harsh penalty.
Today was the first day of classes and it was intense. They basicaly expext us to read the entire old testament in 9 weeks. It will be an adventure.
I love it here and I can not wait to get to go explore more in the city.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

It starts...

So we are now officially in Jerusalem! We arrived last night at about 5pm and had our official tour of the Jerusalem Center. It was too dark to really see the city, but we could see the Dome on the Rock from every balcony. Our rooms all have a balcony that faces the old city. This morning I was awakened by the prayer call at about 4:52am. I was planning on getting up early anyway so it was the perfect wake-up call. It was our great privillege to have a walking tour around the city. We began at the center, which is on the east and walked around the town a bit then we entered the Old city through Damascus gate and we got to walk through the winding paths of the city. I really liked the inside of the Old City. It seemed alot less hectic then the outside, and the paths looked so much like what I imagined with the limestone steps and buildings. You could really smell Jerusalem inside the Old city. There was a mixture of spices and breads and fried foods. It was wonderful! We left the old City through Joffa gate, and it looked a lot more European on the west side of the city. There were a lot of tourist shops and a great variety of people. The weather was fantastic, probably in the 60s. What a lovely first day.

At the Salt Lake Airport right before takeoff!

Thursday, January 1, 2009


This Blog is created to show the comings and goings of Jecia and Eliza in Jerusalem this Winter 2009 semester. We will be leaving January 6th! This is going to be so exciting! I hope you all have... seat belts on your computer chairs because, boy... this is going to be a wild ride!