Yesterday was my first full day in Jerusalem. It’s been great! So last night, all my roomies, Stella, Elissa, Becca, and I all got unpacked, showered and went to bed. We were exhausted! At about 3 though, I woke up freezing my butt off! Our room was icy cold! Anyways, I basically jumped out of bed when my alarm went off! As for today, first thing, we went on a walk through old Jerusalem and West Jerusalem. There was so much to see! As we walked through the city, one thing I’ve really noticed is how religious and dedicated the people are to their beliefs. I have so much respect for them and their devotion. It makes me want to be more dedicated personally in my own religious beliefs. One stop we made was at the Austria Hospice. As we climbed up the million flights of stairs, or as it felt, we had an amazing view of old Jerusalem from the top. It was cool to see all the many buildings and winding roads. Then when we got back down to the bottom, we went into the chapel of the hospice. Brother Allen talked to us about how what was so great about the hospice is that it provides everything a person needs when they are making a pilgrimage. It provides housing, food, a doctor, and a place to worship. He then told us that as we are here in Jerusalem, we shouldn’t think of ourselves as tourists, but as people making pilgrimages as well. He told us that we should try and focus on the spiritual things we can learn and grow from as we are here and treat our visit here as those that make pilgrimages. As he said this, I felt a strong desire to do as he said. I am not just a student here, but someone making a pilgrimage to the holy land. I want to make the most of these next four months and try and learn as much as I can about my Savior and try and experience all that Jerusalem has to offer.
First day of classes = today! And… they were surprisingly not too bad! I can tell I am really going to love my New Testament class. As for my Near Eastern Studies class, it will take a lil more patience!
So we were all split up into committees AND I’m on the Birthday committee!!!! Yay!!!! It is going to be soooo good!
We went out into the city today for the first time without the security guards. At first I felt like the biggest American tourist ever! We were all together and so loud and I kept on thinking, can we be any more American?!! Luckily we then split up into groups of 4 when we got into old Jerusalem. Much better! As we walked through the city I just absorbed everything. I really enjoyed just walking around and see how all these people live but I will say going into the city sure makes me feel overwhelmed of everything I have to learn about the people here and the history of Jerusalem. I just feel so ignorant sometimes… I most definitely want to try and take advantage of these next four months to learn everything I can! After roaming around for a couple hours, we came back to the center. Man were we tired! Then for our first Friday we watched some Oceans 13, played some Dalmuti, did some yoga, worked out, and played a lil Mafia. Tomorrow is the Sabbath, I know a lil weird! It will take some getting used to on Saturday! I really do look forward to seeing what church is like here!