Friday, July 5, 2013

Turkey 3

This was a BEAUTIFUL place that my camera just doesn't do justice. But this is taken from Assos with the Island of Lesbos in the background. We had a devotional on the top of this peak right next to a ruin temple.

The stadium at Pergamum which fit 24,000 people when it was in use back in New Testament times

Cool arch walkway in Pergamum

Temple of Zeus, also known as Satan's Seat from Revelations 2

Library from Ephesus

Open up your quad and look at the pictures and find Ephesus. That is this is the exact spot that was taken at. So I'm holding up my scriptures with that picture.

This is the only thing that has remained from the Temple of Artemis in Ephesus. It was a HUGE structure in the era it was standing that people would come from all around to see. It was like the Titanic of the time. People never imagined it would ever be destroyed and now all that's left is one lousy pillar.

Turkey again

In front of the Blue Mosque (the biggest mosque outside of Mecca)

Basilica Cistern (one of my favorite places we went to in Turkey)

View of the Bosphorus strait from the Topkapi Palace (SO COOL)

The boat ride on the Bosphorus (This was SOOOOO FUNNNNN!)

ANZAC, Gallipoli


Saturday, June 22, 2013

Turkey- Day1- Istanbul

In a park in Istanbul.
The arches thing in the background is part of the old aqueduct system.

The day we got to Turkey happened to be their National Holiday. So they had their flags hanging from pretty much every single building.

My first Turkish Delight :)

This was the street right outside our hotel. It was cool so I took a picture of it.


On one of the arches on the aqueduct system.

Outside the first hotel we stayed at. Apparently it was a sketchy part of town at night so we weren't allowed to go out at night. But it was super cool during the day. Lots of Mosques around and parks and just cool places to walk around and see.

Picture Post Number 2

The Western Wall. Yesterday by the way someone got shot and killed there because he was yelling out the conversion prayer for Muslims so they shot and killed him. They don't know why he was doing it because they shot him before they could ask him. But this was taken like a month and a half ago.

Golgatha next to the Garden Tomb. Notice the bus station that it has now become. Sad eh?

Garden Tomb. I keep forgetting to get a better picture. This was our first visit and I had to take a picture really fast before someone got in the picture.

My first experience at the dome of the rock. It's actually pretty cool.

The Auditorium. This is where we have church every Sabbath (Saturdays)

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Picture Post

Sorry I haven't updated this in a LONG time. These will obviously be super old pictures. But I'm going to put up a few at a time for the next few days of the last 50 days. And I'll just have to explain when we have our slide show when I come home the rest of them. Enjoy!

Outside Damascus Gate (to the Old City).
View of the Jerusalem Center from the Old City.

Apparently the Agusta Victoria Church thinks they have the Ark of the Covenant. Surprise!

Outside the Old City by West Jerusalem. I was excited to see Palm Trees.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Welcome To Jerusalem!

And I thought Florida was a great place to live...! It is true, this is my home for the next 3 and a half months. Like, really, I LIVE HERE! I still can't believe that. It's all so surreal to me still.

Taken from the balcony outside my room.
The Old City. Taken from the grassy knoll to the right of the balcony outside our room.
The first couple of days have been spectacular, as you would imagine. After 24 hours of traveling we arrived Wednesday (I think) at 6 p.m. (or 18:00). I was so tired from not sleeping for 24 hours that I was a bit delirious. But we made it here after all.

The Jerusalem Center is in East Jerusalem and sits on top of Mt. Scopus which is really actually part of the Mount of Olives. The JC is built out of Jerusalem Limestone and overlooks the Old City and Kindron Valley. For the next 3 and a half months we study the Old and New Testament, ancient and modern Near Eastern Studies, and either Arabic or Hebrew (I happen to be signed up for Arabic). We take 3 out of center field trips to Turkey for one week, Jordan for 4 days, and the Galilee for 10 days. Beside those 3 we take many day trips to other areas in Israel. The JC is run by Israeli, Palestinian, and LDS staff. Most of them speak english, some more than others. :)

The Dome of the Rock. Taken from the balcony outside our room.

So that's the background. We are allowed to go anywhere in the country except the Gaza strip and West Bank. Although we take one field trip to the West Bank as a group to see Bethlehem. Yesterday we took a walking tour of the Old City with one of the professors here. It was really interesting and really fun to ask whatever question we wanted and he had an answer to pretty much everything. It happens to be the orthodox holy week this week so there are a lot of celebrations and a lot of people here for that.

BYU students are very well known here and known as "the Mormon kids".  We have a reputation here as students of Brigham Young University and they don't want us to ruin it. There are 3 main rules here:
1. When you leave the center, you always have to be in a group of 3 or more. At night, one of those three must be a male.
2. Always dress and behave modestly. Respect things that other people consider sacred.
3. Don't do anything stupid.

Rule 3 is usually the one that is the most violated. Last semester some kid decided to do a back flip off of a canoe into 2 feet of water in the Red Sea. That is an example of a rule 3 violation. So we have had rule 3 in particular drilled into our heads since the day we arrived. It's kind of cool because when we walked down the street yesterday some people that spoke a little bit of English would stop us and smile and say, you must be the Mormon kids. One guy in one of the shops in the Old City shouted at us, "GO COUGARS!" with a huge grin on his face. So they really like us and watch out for us. Last November I guess there was a missile threat and the students that were not in the center were really taken care of by the people on the street because they knew who they were. It's funny that they can just tell by the way we dress and act who we are. There are a lot of foolish american tourists here and it's kind of nice that they can differentiate us from them. Then again we can be pretty dumb college students too sometimes. We'll do just about anything for a picture so they keep drilling into us that if a demonstration or something violent breaks out, don't run at it and take a picture first, but call the security office at the JC and get away fast. Don't worry mom, nothing like that has happened yet!

Today we met this Palestinian guy (I won't try to spell his name), that lives just down the hill from the JC and he was really cool and telling us about how he has been good friends with a lot of the students that have lived here. It's been really fun to get to know people here. They are SUPER DUPER nice! I'm confident that if this part of the world was open to missionary work (which it's NOT at ALL), I would totally serve here. I have fallen in love with the people here. They are SO cool! And SO nice! It's really nice to see for a change a group of people that really live their religion. The call to prayer is one of my favorite things about living here. I love to hear it! It's so refreshing to see people who actually respect the sabbath for a change. The Sabbath is on Saturday here. Everything pretty much shuts down starting Friday evening. Can  you imagine what the world would be like if all of us respected the Sabbath and kept it holy like they do? Another great thing about the people here is their manner of dress. They are very modest. You don't see the locals wearing sleeveless or tight clothes or even shorts! You can tell who is a local verses a tourist just by the way they dress. Again, think of what the world would be like today if everyone were to dress more modestly. I'm not saying these people are perfect, because no one is. But there is a lot of great things about them that we can learn from them and that we would do well to follow. I've only been here for 2 and a half days so I don't know a lot and I have a TON to still learn, but from what I have seen thus far, I have been very impressed and have learned a lot from simply living among them.

I really haven't experienced anything that I haven't liked so far. The Jerusalem Center is gorgeous! The city is gorgeous! The classes are really fun and interesting. The food is yummy and fun to try. The people are great. The staff is great. It kind of feels like a weird MTC experience because you have everything right here. The professors live here with their families on the level above us. They eat with us, the take us on field trips. We interact with them a lot and have already become good friends. Your meals are always ready for you and it's always a surprise as to what you'll get! (Just like the MTC! And, ice cream is like the most exciting thing in the world, just like at the MTC). I think I find it so similar because I LOVED my MTC experience and I have LOVED this experience thus far. I love to just go out my back door and stand on my porch and look out over the city. The weather has been PERFECT! Today it reminded me of a spring day in Florida. Blue skys, a gentle breeze, and temperatures in the 70s. It was absolutely perfect. The Oasis, which is the cafeteria where we eat) has indoor and outdoor tables. We pretty much eat every meal outside because the weather is still so nice. I wish you could just spend one day doing what I'm doing because it's just so hard to describe exactly what it's like to you if you haven't been here and experienced it yourself. It's not at all what I imagined it would be. But it's like 10,000 times better! I feel super blessed to be here and I'm glad I could sacrifice what I had to be here. Sacrifice is what makes the experience mean even more. But Heavenly Father always blesses us for our righteous sacrifice. And in different ways other than monetarily. He already has, in so many ways, blessed me. And this is just a cherry on top.

The Old City. I took this picture tonight about 10 minutes ago. 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013