Saturday, July 31, 2010

Petra and Jordan

Hello there everyone! Yes, it’s that time of the week again, time for me to flood your inboxes with my doings in Jerusalem. Here’s this week’s update.

Last Sunday, July 25, was another field trip day. We were able to go into the Old City and see Herodian Jerusalem, or the Jerusalem during the time of Christ’s life. Since that time, the city has built up numerous times so the actual streets that Christ walked on are feet below the streets today. But we went to a museum and an exhibit that had all of those things unearthed so that we really could walk on the streets that Christ walked on. We also got to take a tunnel underneath the City that got us from the very south end to the very north. It was much more convenient rather than trying to walk through thecrowded city streets. If only we could use that every day… :) I also got to see and be taught on the actual steps that led up to the temple that Jesus would have walked on. It’s just really cool to be so immersed in the Lord’s life and see everything He saw.

These are the stones of Herod's Temple that was destroyed in 70 AD.

After our field trip, a couple of my friends and I went to Hezekiah’s Tunnel again. If you don’t remember, this is a tunnel that provided water for the Jerusalem during the time of king Hezekiah. Basically it was just a really hot day and we wanted to cool off so we went into the tunnel and walked through the cold water. The activity definitely fulfilled its purpose. :) Haha.

That night there were so many fireworks lighting up the sky! The Arabs are always shooting off fireworks, usually to celebrate a wedding. I have a prime view of the sky from my balcony, so I get a fireworks show almost every night! It’s absolutely amazing. Random fact, but just in case you wanted to know. :)

Monday July 26 was the day we set off for the country of Jordan! We left pretty early which was good so that we could drive during the hottest part of the day. Right after we crossed the border into Jordan (it’s only about a 45 minute drive from Jerusalem to Jordan), we went to Mt. Nebo which is where Moses saw the promised land and where he was supposedly ‘buried’ (even though we know from Latter-Day revelation that he was actually transfigured). We then did a stop at a place called Madaba. The only thing significant about Madaba is that there is a church from the 300s or so that has a map of the entire Middle East on its floor in mosaics. It’s a super cool mosaic that gives a lot of detail to what the land looked like at that time.

The Madaba map is in the background, behind the creepy boy. :)

We then drove for about three hours to get to Shobak Castle which is basically a ruined castle that we could just explore and play around in.

That night we stayed in a hotel in Petra. I was going to get a Turkish bath, which is basically a massage and steam rooms and stuff, but unfortunately my group got screwed up so I couldn’t get one. It was good though because I was completely exhausted from the day that I just got to relax and get to bed early.

Tuesday July 27 was a very long and hot day, but totally worth it! We left at 5:45 am to get to the entrance of PETRA! For those of you who don’t know (and I didn’t know until I was actually there), Petra is basically a valley made of sandstone. Into the sides of the valley there are huge, humongous, enormous, magnificent tombs carved! There are a couple of huge ones like that, but most of them are just regular tombs. But the huge ones are amazing. They are probably the size of a six-story building or so. I mean, they’re huge. I was just so boggled as to how people all the way back then could make such magnificent buildings! Petra is known as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, and it’s in the top 10 cities that everyone should visit before they die. Anyways, we started our tour at 6:00 am because again, we wanted to stay out of the sun as long as possible. We were there for a total of about 9 hours, and in all that time we probably walked about 8-10 miles, depending on what each person did with their free time. By the end of the day I was exhausted again, but this time it was a satisfying exhaustion.

After we left Petra, we had to drive about 3 and a half hours to get to Amman which is the capital of Jordan. That night we just had free time, and I decided to go to a little food court mall place. They had some good American fast food restaurants, such as McDonald’s, and I bought a brownie sundae. I know, McDonald’s isn’t good fast food, but in a foreign country after three months, McDonald’s is amazing! Anyways, they also had a DVD store in this mall. In Jordan, pirating DVDs isn’t illegal, so of course we all bought pirated DVDs for very cheap. I bought six movies for $9! I mean, that’s $1.50 a piece which is as expensive as going to the dollar theaters, and I get to keep the movies! Seriously best deal ever. So let’s just say that that day was one of the best of the trip. :)

Wednesday July 28 we went to the remains of a Roman city called Jerash. This city is the best preserved Roman city outside of Rome itself. This place was almost up to par with Petra. I mean, they had a huge amphitheater, hippodrome (which is where they did chariot racing and gladiator fighting and stuff), a huge cardo (a main street lined by columns and side shops), two temples (one to Artemis and one to Zeus), and a ton of other stuff. I got to sing in the amphitheater again. This time I sang “Defying Gravity” from Wicked, and this performance went much better than the last one.

After our tour and free time we went to a show in the hippodrome. We got to see how Roman soldiers of the day dressed, what weapons they used, and how they fought. We also got to see how gladiators fought. The best part of the show was when one of the members of our group came out as a gladiator! He is huge, just huge, and they pulled him aside and asked him if he wanted to be in a part of the show! Oh man it was so funny. After the gladiators we got to see some real chariot racing. Overall the show was kinda cheesy, but way fun and exciting. We even got to take some of our pictures with the ‘actors’ afterwards.

This is me with our own JC gladiator! :) No worries, we're just friends.

That afternoon we had a meeting with the Amman District and Branch presidents. They basically just gave a fireside on the growth of the church in Jordan. About 1/3 of the branch members are local Jordanians which is so great! Unfortunately we aren’t allowed to openly proselyte, but the leaders think that it could happen any day now. That night was again a free night. I had heard that there was a bowling alley close by our hotel in Amman somewhere, so a group of us just started walking and looking for a bowling alley. Well, we walked for about two hours and we never found it, but instead we found an Arab circus! Haha. We didn’t actually go to the show because they were charging about $12 for a back row seat, but it would have been fun. It was just so random because we’re in the middle of this huge city of Amman and there is a circus in some random field. Haha. After we got back to our hotel we had a girls night and watched “The Last Song.” Now, for any of you who have already seen it, don’t judge me, but I loved it! And for those who haven’t seen it yet, it’s a great chick flick if you’re at all interested. Anyways, that’s my randomness that day.

Thursday July 29 was our last day in Jordan. That morning we went to the Abdullah Mosque. We’ve been to other mosques before, but this one was different because all of the women had to put on black ‘death eater’ robes in order to be modest in their eyes. Haha. We got some good awkward pictures in our awesome robes. And man, we looked hot!

After the mosque we went to the old archeological site of Amman where they have some of the Dead Sea Scrolls. So yes, I saw the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Copper Scroll to be exact! Check off the list of things I must see. After we toured those two sites we started our drive back to the Israeli border. Before we reached the border we stopped at Bethabara which is the site where Christ was baptized. It’s on the east side of the Jordan River which is in Jordan’s territory, so that’s their claim to fame in the Christian world. We were allowed to actually get in the water and wade which was SO refreshing because it was probably 110*F if not hotter.

Anyways, after that sweaty adventure we drove to Israel, went through the border, headed back to the JC, and I even had time to work out and shower before dinner. Of course I also called my mom as soon as I could that night. That’s a no brainer. :)

Friday July 30 was a ‘recuperating’ day. We had breakfast and class an hour later than normal which was nice (even though I got up at the same time because I went running). However, we did have almost four hours of class which was very long. We had a free afternoon, but Jane and I decided to just stay in and relax because we were so tired. We actually watched “Eclipse” (the Twilight movie that’s still in theaters) on my laptop. Yes, we both bought it at the pirated DVD place. Oh man the quality was horrible, but I still got out of it what I wanted for about $6 cheaper than it would cost in a theater. Totally worth it. That evening we got to go to the Western Wall again for their Shabbat services. We got to do this about the second week we came to the Holy Land, but we just got to do it again. It was completely packed with Jews worshipping, dancing, and enjoying themselves.

When we got back I watched some of the boys play basketball. I usually watch them every time they play. I think I told you all that they have a team that competes against a semi-pro Palestinian team. Anyways, they are always playing in the gym, and as their team mom, I watch them ‘practice’ all the time. Well, I decided that I wanted to play with them instead of just watch last night. I was completely terrified because there are some guys that are like 6’6” and just mean when they play! Luckily I was given the easiest person to guard and I didn’t even go near the big guys. I even made a couple of baskets! I mean, I missed way more than that (my percentage was probably around 20%), but still, I did contribute to the team. Oh man it was so fun, and I will definitely be playing a lot more over the next couple of weeks.

Today, Saturday July 31 has been a great Sabbath. I went to the Garden of Gethsemane this morning before our church meetings to study my scriptures and some other stuff. It was actually really ironic because I was reading my New Testament for my classes this week, and the block of reading was about the atonement. How random and very cool. I just sat there reading it and thought, this is where the most pivotal event in the history of the eternities happened! Not a big deal really. ;)

The Garden of Gethsemane

Anyways, we also had great church services today. I want to share with you all this great quote that I heard today about sacrificing: “ Tonight we have a fireside and then I’m sure we’ll watch some epic movie.

Overall I am doing so well! I want to let you all know that my health is improving. I took a break from running for a week to get my body back to normal, and even though it’s not all the way there, I am seeing some improvement. However, one of my best friends here isn’t as fortunate. Cameron has had really bad intestinal problems since the first week of being here. They have really been trying to figure out what’s wrong with him for the past week, and they haven’t made any progress. He went to the ER and then was admitted to the hospital last night. We had a special fast for him today even though our fast Sabbath isn’t until next week. He was supposed to go home tomorrow, but now that he’s admitted he won’t be able to. Anyways, I just ask that you guys keep him in your prayers if you remember at all. On another note, I come home in 12 DAYS! CRAZY! I only have 3 more class periods, two more free days, three finals, one more Sabbath, and then I’m basically home. I hope you’re all excited to see me because I am very excited to see you all! Have a great week, and I’ll see you all soon!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Bells, Archeology, and the Nativity

Family and Friends-

Hello again from the Holy Land! I am grateful to be writing you again this week. It’s been another exceptional week here, and I would love to share my wonderful experiences with you. And yes, I am currently sitting in the Garden Tomb, where a few believe Christ was crucified, buried, and resurrected, as I write this.

Sunday July 18 was a free day in the City. I was able to go to the local YMCA and play the carillon bells with the organist from the center. I played the hymn “Sweet Hour of Prayer” just because it is one of the easier hymns to play. We are not allowed to proselyte here in Israel, but this doesn’t ‘count’ as proselytizing because no one knows the hymn tunes, and if they did they are probably already members. Most people just think that it is a nice melody being played by someone. A large handful of us were able to play at least one song, so our hour up in the tower was used quite well.
And don't you love my shirt?

After we were finished being musical geniuses my group just came back to the JC to prepare for our New Testament midterms that we had on Tuesday. That night I also went to the Jerusalem Center Concert Series. This concert was again, like so many of the others, completely amazing! It was a string quartet of two violinists, a violist, and a cellist. They played a Mozart piece and a Schubert piece. I seriously felt like I was living back in the 1800s like in ‘Pride and Prejudice’. It was such a great concert experience. I seriously love music!

Monday July 19 was an optional field trip day. That morning we went to an archeological dig at Gath. The biggest reason why people know Gath is because that is where Goliath was from. The cool thing about this dig was that you could see about 3500 years of history being uncovered right in front of our eyes! We saw a civilization from before Abraham, about 2500BC, and there was also the remains of a Crusader fortress built in about 1000 AD. I never thought that something like that could really interest me, but surprisingly I was quite surprised and intrigued by what I was learning at that site. Maybe I’ll change my major to archeology. Haha. Not likely, but it’s a good thought right? That afternoon I came back to the center and just took a nap for like two hours! I studied more for my test that night and that was pretty much my day.

Tuesday July 20 was the big day for our test! I did pretty well on it, after the curve! Before our teacher curved the test, the average was 72%! No one would have gotten an A if it wasn’t for the curve. Oh man, we didn’t do very well. After the curve I did get an A however which was very nice. After our test and another two hours of class we had a blood drive. I tried to give blood, but I wasn’t able to because my hemoglobin levels were too low, drastically low. That afternoon I went out and did some shopping with some of my friends. I decided that I am now an official shopping addict! I would honestly much rather go out into the city and shop rather than site see. That is so horrible, but it’s so fun! Hopefully this addiction won’t follow me back home to the states because I don’t have the money to be spending! Haha. That night I took a break and watched a movie after my long day of tests, class, and shopping.

Wednesday July 21was our ‘Christian Jerusalem’ field trip. Within the Old City, there are different quarters for the different religions in the Holy Land. There is a Christian quarter, Jewish quarter, Muslim quarter, and Armenian quarter. We went to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer, and St. Mark’s Church. The Lutheran Church of the Redeemer was simply amazing! It was a huge vaulted ceiling, white-walled, simple church. I loved it mostly because it was so simple and didn’t distract me from worshipping. Even though I have been to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher a couple times before, it was really cool to actually know what I’ve been looking at for the past three months. One thing that is so funny about the Church of the Holy Sepulcher is that there was an edict made in the late 1800s by the Ottomans that said that nothing could ever be changed in the Church from that point forward. So the Church has remained in the exact condition that it was in when that edict was made – the same lamps, layout, everything! Even with its abnormalities, this Church is the most holy site in the Christian world because it is where most believe Christ was crucified, taken off the cross, and buried in the tomb. A little overwhelming? Only slightly. I asked my teacher if it was where he thought it all happened (compared to the Garden Tomb), and he said archeologically yes. However, he feels the spirit and can worship at the Garden Tomb. So we don’t really know where it all happened, but the Garden Tomb is definitely much more conducive to the spirit and just has a greater feeling of peace. St. Mark’s church is one of the contending sites for the Upper Room where the Last Supper was held and where Christ appeared to Thomas after His resurrection. I don’t know how much I believe that that was the site, but it was cool to think about. After the field trip I just came back to the Center again because my knee has been bothering me and I didn’t want to aggravate it any more than needs be.
These are some of the skirts that we had to wear in a church in order to be 'modest' enough. Awesome.

That evening I went to a basketball game! Haha. A few of the boys here formed a basketball team that plays against one of the semi-pro teams in East Jerusalem. We were lucky enough this time to be able to go and watch them play. We even have official shirts. :) Unfortunately we lost the game, but it was a fun experience to see our boys play against some ‘real’ players.

Thursday July 22 was a great day! That morning I had to go to the doctor’s to get my blood tested for my hemoglobin and hematocrit levels. It was a quick and painless blood draw, and I was back before breakfast was even over. I found out later that day that my hemoglobin and hematocrit levels in my blood are very, very low. Basically that means that I’m not getting enough iron (which is what carries the oxygen in the blood), and therefore my blood cell level is extremely low as well. As a result, I have been really tired and haven’t had as much energy as normal which I didn’t really realize until I found out I had the issue. But I’ve gotten some iron pills to get me back into the normal range, and I’ll pursue the problem after I get home. So no worries, I am on top of everything and am doing just fine. Anyways, that morning we had our Jordan orientation! I get to go to Jordan on Monday for four days and three nights. We get to see Petra and Amman which will be great! I don’t know much about Petra, but I’ve just heard amazing things about it, mainly from people’s watching of Indiana Jones apparently. Haha. Anyways, that afternoon we had another field trip! We have been packing them in because we only have 2 and a half weeks left! Anyways, we went to one of Herod the Great’s fortresses, and then to Shepherd’s field.

Pics from Herod's Fortress

This place is a field overlooking Bethlehem. Each group goes there every semester and reenacts the nativity scene. We had Mary, Joseph, the shepherds and sheep, three wise men, and an angel chorus. I sang the song ‘O Holy Night’ in a quartet. This whole experience was probably one of the most spiritual that I have had thus far in the Holy Land. For some reason the Spirit just spoke to me so strongly that everything I know concerning the gospel is true! I know that Christ lived, died, and lives again! I just wanted to shout from the rooftops that Jesus is the Christ, the Savior of the World! I think if I would have done that I could have gotten in quite a bit of trouble because that would break my non-proselytizing agreement with the government of Israel. :) Haha. But seriously, one of the best experiences that I’ve had so far while studying here.
View overlooking Shepherd's Field
Jane and I being angelic :)

Friday July 23was a typical Friday: four hours of class in the morning, lunch, humanitarian service activity (our last time! We made 11,000 kits this semester!), then out into the city in the afternoon. I went to get some pizza from the Old City and to interview the pizza place owner for an assignment for our New Testament class. I didn’t get any pizza, but I got some for my friend who couldn’t come out into the city with us that day instead. My friends told me it was spectacular however. Then last night was the informal talent show, and oh my goodness it was amazing! I’ve never seen so much preparation and effort go into a fun talent show like this. We had skits, funny songs, jump roping, a time lapse video, and a ‘creeper slideshow’ which had creepy pictures of all of us taken at random times. The best part of the slideshow was just the fact that it poked fun at a lot of inside jokes and events that have happened this past semester. I know that I say this practically every email, but I love these people so much! I can’t believe that in 19 days it’s going to all be over! Don’t get me wrong, I am excited to be coming home to see you all, but this has been such a wonderful experience. I have never felt so close to the spirit and had so few distractions from doing righteously. This is probably the closest anyone could ever get to living in heaven because everyone is trying to grow closer to their Savior, there are very few distractions, and we basically live in a temple. I definitely don’t want to leave the feeling of holiness that I have with me basically all the time, but life must go on I suppose.

Saturday July 24 has also been a typical Sabbath. We had church meetings this morning which focused on keeping the commandments and being the Lord’s Hands here on the earth. That’s one thing that I’ve been trying to work on the past week or so is looking at what I can do to be God’s Hands and bless others’ lives through me. I didn’t feel like I had really done anything that merited me being God’s hands, but as I sit here and think about it I did have a few experiences that I didn’t even notice. First off I was able to do the humanitarian project which provides better hygiene for thousands of people in Israel. Second I brought some food back from the city for some people who couldn’t get it themselves. It wasn’t even a burden to me, but I was able to help them out I guess. I love how little acts of service can seem so insignificant to those doing them, but to the receivers they are worth so much. Anyways, and now I’m just sitting her e in the Garden Tomb contemplating Christ’s glorious resurrection at a possible site of where it actually happened. Overwhelming? Completely.

I hope that you are all doing well and enjoying your lives back at home. Keep me updated with what’s been going on in your lives! I’ll see you in a few weeks!

Much love, Chelsea

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Coming to Know the Savior in Galilee

Hey ya'll! This past week has been so amazing! The rest of Galilee was a blast, and I really came to learn more of my Savior. Here's the details.

Last Saturday's Sabbath was absolutely amazing! It seems like I am always getting some sort of revelation here. I love it! Before we went to our sacrament meeting, we stopped by the Jordan River at a site where hundreds of pilgrims every day come to be baptized or rebaptized to show that they are recommitting themselves to their faith. It's kinda weird their thinking, but I guess they have good intentions.
On the way to our sacrament services we sang primary songs like "A Child's Prayer", "Army of Helaman", "Book of Mormon Stories" and others. It really struck me that even though these are 'little kid songs', they are the basics and teh most important things. It was just a cool experience to share with 80 of my best friends. Also, as I told you last week, I was having a hard time with some personal trials that I was going through. A talk given in sacrament meeting was about the atonement and the enabling power of it. What really struck me were two certain steps to help us expend our best efforts in using the atonement. The first was to pray, but specifically to pray to change yourself to be strong to bear the burden rather than the situation or trial that you are going through. This was a really good concept for me to learn because I had been praying earlier for the situation to change rather than for me to be strengthened. But now, I have been praying for that and it's been so much better! The next step was to set goals. I have always been a goal setter, but I haven't been working on this as much lately. This week, however, I made some goals and prayed every day for me to keep to them and remember them. Let's just say that this week has been much better now that I had that insight and inspiration. Oh how I love the gospel!!!
This was Sabbath morning on the Sea of Galilee

Sunday July 11 was another class day. We had class that morning and had all afternoon to swim and sit in the Sea of Galilee. I really made some much stronger friendships that day. I think that is one of the best things that I got from Galilee. Everyone grew so close. We really are best friends now. I consider them my family, and I would do anything for any of these people. I love them all so much! It was a great day to just relax and continue my 'summer vacation' on the beach.

Monday July 12 was one of the best field trip days thus far. That morning we went to an old Roman city that had so many different things. The best part of the day was that I got to sing in an old Roman amphitheater for my class! Oh man it was so embarrassing! My teacher asked me about two minutes before I he wanted me to sing to do it. So I had to go get an ipod and then sing 'Popular' from the musical Wicked. I mean, it wasn't horrible, but I didn't feel like it showcased my talents very well. But at least I can say that I sung in a Roman amphitheater right? Kinda cool.
We then got to go swimming in some natural springs! They were so gorgeous and so refreshing after being in the sun for long, hot field trip days. After that we went to Mount Tabor which is the traditional site of the Mount of Transfiguration.
This was a gorgeous mountain with a beautiful church on top. After we got done having our class time, Ricki (the boy who I sang in the talent show with) and I took the time to go to a side chapel and sing hymns acappella. It was such a sweet experience to sing such gorgeous hymns in a place with great acoustics with a voice that completely blends with mine. We were trying to be quiet so as not to disturb other people, but apparently it didn't work because afterwards everyone ran up to us and told us how gorgeous it sounded and how it totally added to their personal scripture study time. I feel so blessed to have a talent that I can use to bless other people's lives.

Tuesday July 13 was sweet. That morning we went to a few archeological sites. The coolest one was the tel of Dan because it was so fertile and green. In Israel there isn't much greenery, especially in Jerusalem. So it was really nice to have this 'tropical forest' type place where we walked through and just did a little hike. Later that day we also went to a waterfall.
Our next stop was Caesarea Philippi which is where Peter proclaimed "Thou art the Christ." We had a great talk about our own testimonies of Christ and how they ahve grown since we have been in Galilee. It was a great time to reflect and think about my relationship with the Savior.
Next was at a place called Nimrod's Fortress. It was a fortress built by the crusaders on top of a hill to defend themselves against the Muslim invaders. We just go to explore this huge fortress for an hour which was fun.
That night we had a class bonfire with scones, popcorn, and smores. Delicious.

Wednesday July 14 we went to the city of Akko. I honestly don't remember much about what it was or the significance of it. I know that it was a crusader city and that at one point it was the richest city in the world. Other than that I zoned out. I do know, however, that they had some great shopping because I bought two purses and two pairs of earrings. Haha. That afternoon we were able to have the time to just sit at the beach again since it was our last night in Galilee. As always, so fun and awesome. That night we had another bonfire but with everyone this time. We basically just had a testimony meeting which was great. It was really cool to hear my peers and best friends testify of how they have grown to know our Savior and the experiences that they have had this past week. That night I got to my room early so that I could pack to leave the next day.
The sunset my last night on the Sea.

Thursday July 15 we went to a city called Zippori which is where one of my teachers (who is the foremost authority on the Gospel of Luke in the church) believes that Joseph worked and taught Christ to work. It was basically another archeological site but it was cool to think that Joseph and Jesus worked to build that city. After that we went to Megiddo where the final battle of Armageddon is supposed to begin.
Overlooking the valley of Megiddo
It was so weird to think about. Umm, other than that we just basically went back to the Jerusalem Center for dinner and the evening.

Friday July 16 was a free day to recover from our long trip and do laundry. I did the humanitarian project again, and then I went out into the city to do some shopping. I bought a ring with my name in Hebrew on it, and I bought another purse. So yes I am up to six purses. Haha. I never knew that I was a purse person until this trip. I also studied for my New Testament midterm which is Tuesday.

Saturday July 17, today, has been good. I slept in, went to my church meetings, had enrichment about journaling, and then read for New Testament this week. Now I'm writing you guys.

So overall, my week and a half in Galilee was absolutely AMAZING! I learned so many things. First, I learned that the atonement is for so much more than sins. I grew to understand my Savior and His atonement so much better than I thought it would. I also learned that the Holy Ghost really does work! This trip really showed me that the Holy Ghost can prompt me, comfort me, bring me peace, and tell me what I need to do to be happy and so on. I also learned about forgiveness. I learned that forgiving others asap is the best possible thing to do. I had to forgive some of my friends for losing some things of mine that really meant a lot to me. But I realized that their friendship is so so so much more important to me than any material thing. Material things can be replaced, and they are definitely not worth losing a friendship over. I also learned that we are never really satisfied with what we have. The food at the kibbutz we stayed at wasn't the best. While it made me so much more grateful for the food we have here at the JC, I'm still not satisfied with the food. I guess I'm just getting used to it and want more variety in my life. Haha. That's random I know. I also learned that I am not good about taking pictures anymore. After going to five archeological sites that all look the same, I just don't care and am too lazy to take more pictures. Next, I also learned that the heat SUCKS, but it's all about your attitude on whether the day becomes miserable or not due to it. It was super hot on the field trips because we were right by the sea which makes it humid, and we were also out in the blazing sun all day long. Even though we all got nice tans, we were hot. But it wasn't that bad because no one really complained about it. We couldn't change it so why complain? I also learned that once you know people it doesn't matter what you look like because they see you at your worst and your best. We all treated this trip pretty much like girls camp because none of us really did our hair, our makeup, or looked nice. The best thing was that we didn't care. We were all comfortable enough with each other already which was great. I love not having to feel like I have to look nice all the time. Haha. Next lesson: don't judge people. I really got to know some amazing people on this trip that I didn't take the time to know before because I thought they weren't my 'type' of friend. Oh man was I wrong! I learned that I can get along with most everyone as long as I get to know them. I seriously love everyone here so much more now! I am so excited that we all grew so close. I loved this trip!