Thursday, April 29, 2010

I'm Finally Here!

Greetings from the Holy Land! I finally arrived here yesterday at about 3:00 pm Jerusalem time which is 9 hours ahead of Utah. I was completely exhausted when I got here, but the staff made us stay up until at least 9:00 so that we could overcome our jet lag. Let's just say that I slept really well. :)

The flights were good.... I had 4 stops - Denver, Washington DC, Vienna, and Tel Aviv. After over 25 hours of travel and 18 hours of flying time I got here. Let's just say that the Jerusalem Center is AMAZING! I already feel at home here. The administration, faculty, staff, and service couples are all so welcoming and nice. I have like 3 grandmas here that make sure I am happy and healthy. And my fellow students are so so so awesome! I was really worried about making friends and finding my place here, but I know that these people will be lifelong friends already. We all get along so well, everyone is so nice, and things have gone great so far. And yes, there are some very very cute boys, but I am staying away from that game. :)

Today, April 29, was my first full day in Jerusalem. We took a tour of the Old City which is about a 15 minute walk from the JC (Jerusalem Center). It is very crowded, small, and full of merchants that would love to sell you things. They didn't allow us to do any shopping today, but I know that that won't last for long. We also had a great "get to know you" activity tonight which made me feel even more at home.

The classes will definitely be pretty intense. My mindset coming here was, "Oh, this is just a 3 month tour. And ya, I'll have classes, but it won't be that big of a deal." Well I was definitely wrong! My classes are already pretty intense, and it will require a lot of time on my part. But I will learn a ton and really grow from what I learn here.

The food is great! We eat in a cafeteria for every meal, so I definitely have to be careful on my portions while I am here if I want to keep off the 25 pounds I've lost. They do have a gym, but it doesn't have any treadmills. We are starting a running group in the morning so that we can learn routes outside which will be so so helpful. My dad blessed me that I would be able to keep up with my eating habits and be able to maintain while I am here, so I just need to give my full effort and hopefully that will come true.

So thus far, I have been very, very excited and happy to be here. Although I have so much to do, this experience is well worth it! I miss you all at home, but I trust that things haven't changed much since I left two days ago. :) If you want to e-mail me, my e-mail is Much love!

P.S. The JC has a really small internet capacity, so I won't be able to post any pictures on here unless I go to an internet cafe. Also, they have blocked facebook so I won't be updating anything on there. Just fyi!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

It Never Hurts To Ask

This is just a great story that I had to share with everyone. And it completely describes my life and how many little breaks I get.

Okay, so last Saturday I was taking a final over the internet for my Political Science class. This class has really pushed me to the limit, requiring me to write 8 page essays (which I thought was entirely impossible before I actually did them)! But I love, love, LOVE this class because it pushed me and made me think outside of my BYU bubble. I've tried really hard all semester to do well, and it has paid off. Anyways, so I was taking the multiple choice part of my final for this class. I was really nervous to do it at first, but once I got going it was a piece of cake! It was only 20 questions, and I finished within like 5 minutes. I got my results back, and I only got 12/20!!! What the...?! So I went through my fill-in-the-blanks, and I realized that two of the 2 I missed were actually correct but I just misspelled them and that would be fixed by my teacher. But the other 6... I had missed! Marx theorizes about 3 types of alienation and 3 causes of alienation. Well, being dumb, stupid, stressed out me, I switched the types with the causes and the causes with the types! I was so distressed and angry at myself for not paying more attention to those small details!!! Well this teacher is like super-duper lenient. We have "deadlines", but they don't have to be followed and are always extended. And I already wrote him an e-mail telling him how much I loved his class and how it has changed my life in many ways. So I thought to myself, "My mom always tells me that it never hurts to ask. We'll see if this works out for me." Yes, I e-mailed my teacher, begging him to give me those points because "I really knew what I was talking about! Promise!!!" I waited a couple of hours, checked my e-mail, and lo and behold, he had written me back, on a Saturday. And he had given me full credit for my wrong answers! His exact reply was, "I'll give you credit for them - obviously you know them and that's all I care about." BEST DAY EVER! So instead of getting 14/20, I got a 20/20. Yes, I totally weaseled my way into getting an A on that part of the final.

As I told this story to my family later that night over dinner, my brother and sister were astounded and surprised that I had been given those points. And I told them that I never hurts to ask. My professor totally could have said no, and I would have dealt with the consequences. But luckily he was merciful and willing to work with me. It never hurts to ask.

This little story just illustrates how many times and ways that I get my way in so many things. Some of the time I work my magic and do things on my own part, but most of the time Heavenly Father truly blesses me with so many tender mercies for which I can take no recognition. To name just a few: my success in school, never getting pulled over (yet), my jobs that have always come because of someone else I knew, and oh so many more. I am truly blessed, and I am so grateful to a Heavenly Father who loves me so much to bless me with so many small and seemingly insignificant things that add up to huge blessings!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


That's it. Only 17 weeks. I only have 17 weeks until I return from Jerusalem. But as of now, I'm ready for that 17 weeks to be here. I am ready to come home. I want to be home.

You may ask why I am wanting to be home before I've even left. Well, as of right now I don't want to go. I'm not ready to go. I'm not ready to leave my family, my friends, Provo, my job, and everything else for 15 weeks. So many drastic changes will occur in my family and in my life back home that I won't be here for. My sister is moving home before she starts grad school, and this might be the last chance I could have to live with her. My brother and sister-in-law are moving into my parents home as well which means that we're finishing the basement and making it an apartment. My entire home will be completely different when I return. I don't know if it will really be mine anymore. My best friend is coming home for being gone for two years, and I'm gonna miss it. Everything special about that time with that person I will miss. I get a pit in my stomach just thinking about that one. My roommate is getting married. I was supposed to be her maid of honor! When I come back, she'll be a married woman with real life responsibilities and no time for my single life drama. My parents. What can I even say about that?! I don't want to leave my parents. That's probably the hardest one right now. I go home every single weekend just to see them. And I usually see them in the middle of the week somehow as well. I call my mom probably three times a day at a minimum. Yes that's a little extreme, but that's how I rollThey are my best friends. I don't want to go....

That's it. Two weeks. Two weeks until I start the greatest and most amazing adventure of my life up to this point. I can't wait to go! Get me out of here!!! After 19 weeks of anticipating and waiting, I can taste the sweet freedom of Jerusalem. Finals will be over, I'll be done with my job, my apartmentw will be vacant, and life will be sweet. I need a new adventure, new friends, and a new outlook and perspective on life. I need to get away from Utah, my friends, my old life that I need to leave behind. I need a new start with new people who know nothing about me and who I was before. This is a chance to be who I want to be, become anyone I want to become, define myself as a person significant and apart from anyone else. I can't wait to leave. And I know that once August 13 comes, I will be dreading the plane ride home back to reality.

I know that I seem bipolar right now, but I really do feel all of these emotions at once. How that happens, I have no idea. But, I am truly ready to leave. Even though I will be missing some huge changes in my life and things will be very different once I get home, it's all apart of my Jerusalem adventure.

Jerusalem... Here I Come!