Friday, January 25, 2008

It's a bird, it's a plane, no it's a persimmon!

When we were in I/P, the places we stayed fed us very well. The last place we stayed was a Lutheran Hostel in old city Jerusalem. They fed us breakfast and dinner. Breakfast was buffet style with the same things on it every day. But at dinner, we got different food every night. It always included soup, salads of some sort, sides, the main dish, and a dessert. Sometimes the dessert was jello or chocolate pudding with fruit in it, or cake of some sort. But often, our dessert was fruit, which was wonderful. One time in particular, we had this fruit that looked a lot like an unripened tomato. But, it was NOT a tomato. The flesh was kind of hard, but it was very edible, and the inside was very sweet and juicy. I had NO idea what kind of fruit this was, so I just Googled it. It's called a Sharon Fruit because it is grown in the Sharon Valley. It is also known as a persimmon. Here is the picture. If you ever see one, I recommend trying it.

The last post title didn't make much sense!

Last night, as I started writing my post, I was interrupted. Some pals came up after they got done playing volleyball at a sports place here in SeminaryTown. So, we were talking for a while and I quit writing. So, when I came back to it, I had lost my train of thought (although I'd rather talk to friends than keep my train of thought most times).

Anyway, the last post is so named because I already have a "Bucket List." I don't think I've ever posted it here on my blog, but I do have it on my Myspace page. Sometime I will post it on over here, just in case you are curious. :) ha.

So, I'm going home this weekend to be with my family because we are going to Ma's facility to celebrate her birthday with her. She turned 68 on the 21st, but the fam decided to push back the celebration date because they figured I'd be really jet lagged from my trip to Israel and Palestine. Good thing. I'm fairly excited to go because I get to see ALL 3 OF MY NEPHEWS! I love those children. They're special little people. And before I start gusing, I'm going to sign off for now. Have a marvelous day.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

I already have one, so I'm not a poser.

Tonight, "J" and I went to dinner and to see "The Bucket List." It was an all around good time.

We ate at Perkins, because we both have an appreciation for places such as those. After dinner, we went to the movie theater and bought the tickets and went in. There were lots of older folks in there. It got us both to thinking... But, the movie: Good premise, originality, funniness, seriousness, and thought-provokingness all rolled into one. I laughed because I told J my hunch about the special coffee in the movie, and it turned out that I was RIGHT! Ha! My stupid random knowledge helps me look smart sometimes!

So, anyway, that was my night, and now I'm dreadfully tired. Goodnight.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

A non-Israel Story

Tonight was pretty darn cool.

Some of the people in the dorm got together and made dinner for whoever wanted to come. They made rolls/biscuits, spaghetti and sauce, cookies, and brownies. Another person brought crackers and some really awesome cheese. I contributed salt and pepper, and I dried a bunch of dishes. Plus, I'm funny; who doesn't want me around? ha.

After dinner and dishes, I went with "J" to keep him company as he worked on some stuff around campus. It was cool. I got to see parts of the seminary I don't get to see, and it was good company.

I had to be back at my room at 8:00 though, because another friend wanted to take some of my pictures that she didn't get when we were in Israel and Palestine. So, she came and copied some while I sorted through all my souvenirs from the Holy Land and tried to remember what was for whom. I think I'm pretty much set for who is getting what. Now, I just gotta give it to them. :)

After a while, another friend came up, and we were being goofy and she was looking at what kind of food I have in my room, just for kicks and giggles. She asked why I have eggs in two places in my fridge and I told her that the three in the door are REALLY old. So, she dared me to break one open into the toilet. I couldn't resist, so I took it into the bathroom, cracked it, and waited for the yolk and white stuff to come out. But... It didn't! They're THAT old! Hehe. So, I accidentally dropped half of the egg into the toilet. We were laughing, and I was thinking, "I AM NOT putting my hand in there to get that out!" So, I flushed it. Then, my pal came and we wanted to see if a whole egg would flush. It will. So then, she took my last Old Rotten Egg, and threw it down into the bowl that was not full of water. It cracked a bunch, and then we flushed it, too.

Well... Toilets aren't really made for flushing whole eggs, so my poor commode was having some difficulties. It wasn't overflowing, but it was just acting weird. So, I went and got the friend, who by this time had gone back to do something else. I needed moral support. We got the community plunger (GROSS) and I plunged my toilet. It went back to normal within 30 seconds. I learned my lesson. Don't flush raw eggs. Or any eggs, for that matter. Weird. I know. Haha.

I just thought I would share this story because I was laughing so hard I was SCREAMING! Seriously. So, that's the story on that. Peace out.

The view

Here is a picture of the view from our first room. You can still see the buildings a little on each side, but I zoomed so they wouldn't be taking up much of the photo. Also, I included the view from the Christmas Lutheran Church, because it is right by the "hostel" part of the ICB.

Our first accomodations

First, these are my shoes that looked SO suspicious to the security at O'Hare. :) ha. I'm just giving them crap. They're keeping us safe.

These are pictures taken in my first room in Israel/Palestine. It's modest, but in all reality, all we did was sleep in there. I was more than happy.

Monday, January 21, 2008


I slept way too much this afternoon, and thus, I am still awake at 6:30 a.m. My bad. Ah well. I reckon I'd better start regaling you with the stories of our trip, and hopefully later, I will post some pictures.

We flew out of Chicago-O'hare on Thursday to catch a connecting flight to Frankfurt, Germany. At O'hare, we went through security; having our bags and shoes x-rayed and what not. They asked me, "are these your shoes?" When I said yes, the security folks said, "We're going to look them over." I said, "ok." They took my shoes to a table and took these tongs with something like tissue paper and wanded them. Obviously they were clean, and so they gave them back to me. The day-glo orange shoelaces probably looked suspicious. :) When we got to Germany, we got on a plane to go to Tel Aviv; THE most secure airport in the world. It was daylight there, in part due to the fact they are 8 hours ahead of midwest time. Our guide met us in the airport and we walked out to our bus. These two people would move us around and give us boatloads of information the next couple of weeks.

We were all pretty tired from the flying and what not, so most of us slept some on the bus from Tel Aviv to Bethlehem. Naim talked over the microphone in the bus some, but I think he knew we were all just exhausted, and so for the most part, he let us sleep. When we arrived to Bethlehem, we had to go through an Israeli checkpoint at an opening in the separation barrier to get into the actual city. By then, it was getting dark, so our driver said something in Arabic and Naim told us that Atah (the driver) said, "We have 20 Americans on board." and they let us in, no questions asked. Only about two minutes after the checkpoint, we had to get off the bus and walk the rest of the way to our accomodations because Old City Bethlehem has WAY TOO narrow of streets for a huge honkin' tour bus to navigate. The walk is only about three or four minutes, so it's not bad. Plus, weather over there right now is around 50 degrees or so, so we were doing okay. We got to the International Center of Bethlehem, which has accomodations for tourists, a media center, a college, a church of the ELCA, and a few other things involved with it. We had chosen roommates beforehand, and when our luggage came to the ICB, we took it, along with our room keys and pretty much, we went to bed as soon as dinner was over.

Food in Israel/Palestine(I/P from here on out) is interesting. I couldn't even tell you what we had that first night. I remember there being pita bread, soup, some kind of salad, a main dish, and dessert. I wasn't that hungry because we ate multiple times on our flight, and I was more tired than anything.

My roommate, "A" and I went to our room, got ready for bed, and went to sleep around 8:00 P.M. and slept until about 7:00 A.M. It was a good thing we got to rest up because the next day, we were slated for much activity.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

I have lots to tell

But right now, I am dreadfully tired. It's 2 pm. here, but my body is still on Jerusalem time (10:00 pm).

A few quick notes:

I checked my sitemeter thing, and I have received a HUGE number of hits because people are searching for the hymn, "Thy Holy Wings" this past few weeks. I'm amazed, and I wonder what is increasing that number...

I'm anxious to check my snail mail box because I've been away so long. I'm not sure if I can get over there today, or if it's locked. I'll have to check the website.

Israel and Palestine was an incredibly interesting trip. I took hundreds of photos, met with all sorts of people, and had my eyes opened to more of what the situation is for those people. The prayers for peace for that land are truly needed, and so is an understanding that we are only shown one side of the news for that region.

I am so tired that I am dizzy. That's what I get for being a good little girl and getting up for church despite the approximate 48 hours I went without lying down to sleep in a real bed, and only catching an hour here and there on buses and planes. I'm going to go before I fall off the chair! Check back, and thanks for not giving up on me in my absence!

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

T-minus 23 hours, 50 minutes and counting!

Okay, we're really leaving the seminary at 9:30 a.m., but we don't take off in the plane til about 3:30. But, the time is getting here! This will probably be the last time I blog for about 18 days or so. :) Pray for us on our trip! Please and thank you.

With that said, I need to work on packing my stuff and whatnot. I've been doing laundry like a madwoman today, and my last load is down in the dryer. Now I'm trying to make sure I'm not going to be the dork with the hugest amount of luggage. I want to be like everyone else in that regard.

Anyway, we're going to be going all over Israel (except the Gaza Strip, so I'm told) and I'm very excited. We're going to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the Via deLarosa, the Church of the Mount of Olives, Jericho, Nazareth, and all over the place. I'm going to take a gazillion pictures with my NEW camera, and hopefully post some of them on here. I also am going to make a presentation to show my home church because what good is taking pictures if you can't be obnoxious and show them to everyone? :) Ha.

There are many trips this J-term, and I hope everyone has a safe and great time. Some of the trips are domestic, while some others are international. I am so grateful for this opportunity, and I just hope and pray we are held safely, and that we learn a lot in the coming 17 days. Blessings to you all. Peace out.