Saturday, January 24, 2009

The Holiest of Places

Hello! So... I'm leaving for Egypt in T minus 8 hours... and if you know me, you know I haven't packed yet... however, I feel the need to post pictures from the two most incredible places in Jerusalem. The pictures of the Garden of Gethsemane are from January 17 Shabbat and the ones of the Garden Tomb were taken today.

Garden of Gethsemane:

Eight olive trees held by tradition to be the silent witnesses of
Jesus' prayer and suffering before His crucifixion

Golgotha (the place of the Skull):

At the Garden Tomb:

In both Gethsemane and at the Garden Tomb it is the person that matters much, much more than the place. It is what we can learn from the event and how it affects us. Most importantly, it is how we allow it to change our lives that is significant. The Garden of Gethsemane is a holy site as it is a representation of Christ's Atonement. He suffered for all men. It was not exclusively for those who belong to His Church or who are believers in Him as the Savior. He loves us all. While it was not easy, He had a complete understanding of its necessity. He truly is our Exemplar. Additionally, what happened in Gethsemane would have meant little if there was not the brightening of a new day. His Resurrection signifies so much for us. It testifies of new birth and renewal... the very repentance made able through the power of the Atonement. The Garden Tomb is where He overcame physical death and I rejoice that He lives. I rejoice that His suffering was not in vain. I rejoice that I know these things for certain. This is the gospel --this is the good news! Nothing could be more glorious and nothing can bring as much happiness as the gospel of Jesus Christ. These are the places where the events transpired. The very events that make our salvation possible. What happened in these places so deeply affects all of mankind-- past, present, future-- you and me. Let the things that happened here reach the depths of your soul, internalize them, and let Him change you for the better.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

What's on the Menu?

Let's talk about food. The food here has actually been good. Almost too good. We get a surprising variety each day and pitas and humous are offered every meal. Fresh pitas are always readily available and so delicious. Bell peppers are a big thing here and I love it! Especially since red and yellow peppers are expensive in the States, it is nice to be offered fresh peppers with every meal. They also just busted out the pita toaster, which makes every pita that more amazing. They usually serve us four different types of hot dishes (ranging from stuffed peppers to beef steak) and lots of fresh, colorful, fruits and vegetables. If anyone is interested.... here are the typical foods served at each meal:


Fried french toast with chocolate sauce (some people love it, I'm not a huge fan)


Eggs (for some reason I feel like there's something sketchy about eggs being cooked in such large quantities, I haven't tried them here, but I think I strongly associate with Girl's Camp eggs...)

Cereal with 3% milk (things are a little different here)

Warm Cheesecake (okay, this stuff is delicious and is just pure fat and sugar... not too healthy)

Greek Yogurt (tastes kind of like sour cream... you can get it at Trader Joe's in the States)

Regular yogurt (but a little thinner consistency than American, pineapple, peach, strawberry)

Pink and White grapefruits sliced

Pudding (yah.. for breakfast, like those "Snack Packs")

Sliced tomatoes with fresh mozzarella and pesto (definitely a favorite, but kinda weird for breakfast)


Pizza (very different than American, it's a wheat based crust with a tomato paste, a different type of cheese, and olives and corn)

Cheese pastries

Falafel (very, very popular here)


Mixed Vegetables

Spaghetti (overcooked usually...)

Fresh bowl of fruit (persimmons [which a majority of the JC has never had before], kiwis, little apples, pears, mandarins, oranges, bananas, etc...)

and of course pitas that you can stuff w/tuna salad, veggies, humous, peanut butter, jam.... or whatever else sounds appetizing


Chicken Meatballs

Roasted Potatoes

Shepherd's Pie

Beef Steak or Stew (the beef here is SO tender! I love it!)

Hamburgers and French Fries (very different from American style)

Cooked Vegetables (cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, onions)

All different types of pasta dishes

Ben Gurion Rice (love this stuff)


Creme Brulee

PIstachio Ice cream

Banana Ice Cream (It tastes like yellow Laffy Taffy)



Sesame cake (it's actually delicious)

Different types of creams and custards... kiwi and lemon have been my favorites

Carrot Cake

Fruit bowls

(is your mouth watering yet?)

While everything here has been pretty decent, here are a few of my favorites:

Toasted pita with butter & peach jam  OR with peanut butter, honey, & sliced banana

French Vanilla Milk (it comes out of this cool hot chocolate maker)


Fish kabob

Red Peppers

Caprese Salad

Haha... okay, so this might be a really funny/lame post... I promise that more monumental posts are in the works. This one was just quick and easy :) Enjoy!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Journey to the Holy Land

Hey everyone! So, I'm really new at this whole blogging thing, but I think I'm finally ready to get started. I'm a terrible writer, so I'm gonna include a lot of pictures... just look at those. I've been in the Holy Land for about a week and a half now and it's been incredible. Every day is a new experience. I'll start from the beginning...

The plane ride was a LONG experience! I've never flown internationally and it was a real adventure. We started off in Salt Lake City and actually ended up taxing around for about an hour and a half. I was super exhausted (I'd been up all night with Kristen & Sister Staib [Thanks again SO SO much!] preparing for Jerusalem. Therefore, I was out within the first five minutes of the plane ride and super confused when I would half wake up... look around... and see that we were still on the ground. At that rate I didn't think we'd ever make it to Tel Aviv. Anyway, our first layover was in Chicago, then D.C. (ahh... I miss it SO much!), and finally Vienna. I was super excited to arrive in Vienna (I know, Dad, not a big deal, right?) I just liked walking off the plane and seeing everything written in a different language. Here's a few pics from the Vienna airport:

The food on Austrian air was pretty good...

Personally, I found this escalator to be hilarious... it went "on and on and on and on..."

I slept the entire way from Vienna to Tel Aviv and unfortunately woke up with a VERY sore throat and the skin was falling off my hands, quite literally. I must share a few pics of the arrival:

(this sign made me feel pretty welcome)

This is a picture I took on the bus from Tel Aviv to the Jerusalem Center
My first Jeru sunset! :)

That night we had an orientation and spent time getting to know each other. My roommates are Kara Van Wagenen, Sharon Campbell, and Stephanie Roddick. They are all great girls and I like them a lot. I'll fast forward to the next most exciting experience... a walking tour of the Old City and East Jerusalem! Unfortunately we weren't allowed to bring our cameras the first day, but I have since been able to take pictures. The Old City is beautiful and kind of what I expected. The streets are lined with merchants selling the most awesome things. I'm excited to get some sweet Jerusalem things. 

The Friday after arriving we were no longer allowed in the Old City or East because of security reasons. Friday is Islam's Holy Day and as such, it seems that there are big demonstrations each Friday.

Below the big white thing in the sky is supposedly where the demonstration was taking place

Here's my first pretty picture of the city from the Center's balcony
(I can't wait to go see the Dome of the Rock up close!)

Okay, well obviously a lot more has happened since then... but there's a little something for everyone to look at for awhile. More to come ASAP!