Hello holy land!

All through the night my first night here, I kept tip toeing to the window to make sure it wasnt a dream. I couldnt wait for the sun to rise and also I was very jet lagged and couldnt sleep past 3:30 for the first few days. When we first got here all the elderly couples were saying, "Welcome home!" I feel so blessed to have this be my home for the next little while. Walking through the Old city for the first time was so wild. Everyones rushing around and at the same time my head felt flooded with all this new information about culture and customs, for the first little while it was hard to grasp I was here. President Brown who is the President of our school here, said that its like, "trying to drink water from a fire hose". It all comes so fast but at the same time it all tastes wonderful! I thought these little girls were so cute talking to eachother through the window.

This is Esau we met him and his friends at the Orison Hyde Garden. They were so sweet and gave me a tree branch. The kids here are all so darling, I feel so silly I cant communicate that well, but I kind of want to be a teacher again!

I love my roommate Kathleen so much. She is such an angel. We have so much fun together. Tonight at dinner she told me about the power of positivity and how some people just don’t give up, they just keep trying and they don’t make excuses for themselves, but perhaps make excuses for circumstances.

She told me about this study done to rats. They train the rats to press a button that dispenses food. Then after awhile they only let the food come out after pressing for a few times. The positive rat presses the button every day, just says, "I will continue pressing this, it must have a short circuit somewhere0," but the pessimistic rat would says, "there is something wrong with me, food will never come" and they give up.

We have this Pomegranate tree on our Balcony and my roomate Kathleen and I are always binging on them as a late night snack. Somehow the ripest ones are always just out of our reach so we have to climb. Tonight there was such a pleasant surprise. I mounted the tree and as soon as I did fireworks started happening and I had a birds eye view of it all. It was awesome! After class last week I went out with a few kids to visit the Dome of the Rock. The Dome is one of the most magnificent buildings Ive ever seen. To get there you have to go through 3 security checks. This girl Kate who seems to know everything said that there has been lots of assasinations there before. We went in and it was just like a dimond in the rough, like just so much white limestone and then BOOM you turn the corner and see a ruby!

Women go in the dome of the rock to pray and then men pray in a seperate area in another mosque. You can only go in if you are muslim though. Its so interesteing that the Jews and the Muslims worship so close to eachother and yet they are so different, the jews cannot enter the Temple Mount and the Muslims dont pray to the Western Wall.

I met a Rabbi on the way to the Temple Mount who was 106 years old. I dont know why but I gave him money. I guess because he was so old, and I have never met anyone so old. But he kept saying "give me money" which was kind of weird.

I did it and then kind of regreted it. I know they say you will never regret any good things you do, but there is always tons of women with babies begging for money on the street and I am always very tempted to give them something, so this was the first time I gave someone something here and I kind of wish it would have been to one of women. I was thinking about him later and that he was wearing fancy clothes so maybe someone else could have done something else with it. Oh well, I just hope he uses it for good. It was kind of strange he blessed everyone that had blonde hair in my group and then passed over me. A boy in my group Nathan said it was because I am brunett.

One of my favorite things we have done so far is go to the Garden Tomb. People come from all around to walk around the grounds where they think our savior Jesus christ was risen.

The most peaceful feeling came over me when we were singing hymns in the garden. I know that Jesus is the Christ and I am so humbled to know that he died for me. I felt his spirit there very strongly, but it was surprising that it wasnt this huge feeling that happened when stepping into the tomb. As I was sitting there waiting for other people to go into the tomb a yellow leaf floated delicately down onto my hand. After I got up and went into the tomb I sat down with my class who was now singing. But this time just like the graceful leaf, a spirit of peace fluttered down and rested gently with us.

We walked around the garden and at the end you can look out and see what scholars think is Calvary, where Christ was crusified. They say it was just above "skull hill" which looks just like a face in the side of a mountain.

Also on our way out we saw these Figian people singing How Great Thou Art. It reminded me of Hawaii and even though we couldnt understand I know love knows no language or bounds. I was a first hand witness of this today. People all around want the same two things to love and to be loved.

I remember hearing that all men need something to do, something to love, and something to hope for. I know this is true.


Matt said...

MARNI! I had no clue this is where you were. I had an epic case of goosebumps reading about your adventure so far. It brought back some incredible memories about my little trip over there. I loved every second of it and wished so bad that I wouldn't done the Jerusalem center semester. You're so lucky!! I can't wait until you head to Jordan and visit Petra. You're just gonna absolutely die, it's so incredible and overwhelming. I'm so happy to hear about you again. Have fun and keep up with the blogging.

Momi and Seth Hannemann said...

hi marni!
I havent forgot about you, i am so sorry i am taking so long to email you back, life is so crazy now..moving in and school and feeling sick. but i will email you tomorrow, promise. love the blog and you!

lark, c said...

irasshaimasse. its monica and clark. we just got done with church and are tending solemon. loving the blog. you look absolutely flawless. so happy for you. we've already said everything else via e-mail. missing you. we're getting jobs at kahuku grille. bye. sol says hi. be safe. don't let oats get lost anymore.

Dan Kettle said...

Marni that looks like such a cool and fun adventure. That seems right up your alley. Im so glad your living it up there and having tons of cool experiences. Your such a positive person. I had no idea you were over there. Soak it in. Hope your well. PS i listened to your song the other day you sent me. take me the way i am. Keep it up

Erin Jane said...

OH Marni! What an awesome experience you must be having! I can't wait to see you again someday and hear all about it! Love you!