Hello! The above was my very first view of my new home! I know I haven't written for a whole week and there's so much that's happened already that I need to tell you about! But there's so much that its impossible to put it all in one post. Before I start telling you any of the details of the activities we've done, my sister reminded me that I haven't really told y'all of the day-to-day things we've been up to and what life is really like at the good ol' Jerusalem Center. This will be our topic for this evening!
First off, I love the people I've met here. I live in an apartment with three other girls, (Valorie, Alexis, and Allison) and we all get along so well. We spend a lot of our time just laughing at each other uncontrollably. Total there are 77 people in the program and we're already forming really strong bonds with everyone. I love it!
The classes we're taking are really interesting too. Right now we have Old Testament (that will switch to New Testament during the second half of the semester), Judaism (taught by a local Israeli man named Ophir), Islam (taught by a Palestinian man named Adnan), Ancient Near Eastern Studies (taught by a BYU professor who knows SO much about EVERYTHING!), and Hebrew (which is a blast! We're learning the alphabet and have so far learned a new song in Hebrew each class). My professors are all so different in their teaching styles and material, but each have something so special to offer. I love the diversity that we get. We also get to have lectures by the faculty as well as guest lectures really often (usually a few times a week). There's a LOT of reading, but the classes are really interesting.
The food. There's a lot of it. And its usually really good! The cafeteria serves us three meals a day, and they're big meals. It's all really good, the only thing is that it all seems to have the same flavor. They have a spice here, I think its called Zatar...? Something like that. Anyways, they put it on almost everything they cook. But its alright, because its good stuff. I'm in love with a fruit here I'd never heard of called a persimmon (sp?). I'm determined to find them in the states when I come back! We also eat pitas like nobody's business. I swear we go through hundreds in a day! Pitas with everything! Pitas with hummus, pitas with peanut butter, pitas with pasta, pitas with sandwich meat, pitas with honey, pitas with everything! They're so good!
Let's see, what else....our schedule is pretty different every day. It seems like we usually tend to have class in the morning and then after lunch we'll usually have a few hours of free time when we get to go to the city (as long as its safe) and have adventures! Then after dinner we tend to have lectures, activities, or informative movies showing. Then its off to bed! But they mix it all up every day. Sometimes we'll have the same class for three days in a row and then it'll be a week before we have that class again. I've discovered that it really is a lot easier to go to bed early here because we wake up SO early! Most days we need to be up and ready by about 6:30/6:45am!
The Jerusalem Center is such a beautiful building. It's eight stories high on a mountainside (Mount Scopus, just across Kidron Valley from the Mount of Olives), so every level you stand on has a balcony with a beautiful view of the city. This picture doesn't do it justice at ALL but I took it myself so I'm putting it on here anyway. It can at least give you an idea of what the center's like. I love this place!
Oh wow, there is SO MUCH MORE to tell you! But I think I'll need to save that for another day, perhaps tomorrow. I'll begin to tell you about all the adventures we have that shake things up. But for now, I better get to bed. 6:30 comes very early. Good night!!