This is a catch-up blog of lots of stuff that has happened in the past month. I definitely don't want to come home yet.

Will this pic work for my graduation announcement? I'll take sibling commentary on this too.



This is one of my favorite field trips. If you have a newer Bible you can see we are in the exact spot where it is certain that Christ walked. This is definitely rare in Jerusalem where many sites are supposed.

Our Old Testament teacher told us a story about Neil Armstrong, a devout Christian, came to this spot and said that it meant more to him to walk where Christ walked than on the moon.

This is a model from the Israel Museum. I went last week and it actually holds some of the Dead Sea Scrolls. The steps that we were at are located on the left hand wall.

This is a pinnacle of the temple mount where Christ could have been tempted by Satan.

So I can't break this one. I'm exhausted here and I don't know why because it's like a 24/7 party. I study so no worries there but still I'm tired all the time so naturally anytime we've got a short break I'm down on the ground and taking a little power nap. It doesn't help that the center peeps call me "Dirty Di." Anyway, the last pick is of me on the floor of the Holy Sepulcher. Yes, probably not the most reverent thing to do because we got asked to leave by the cops there. My friend John claims we got kicked out but I say we got relocated because they let us back in with a priest we had made friends with. Anyway, point being I'm learning lots of new things about myself all the time like the fact that apparently I hate standing.

This is a holiday that celebrates Esther. It's sort of like Halloween except that our Judaism teacher said it's kind of a commandment for the Jews to be so drunk they don't know the difference between Mordecai and Haman.

Of course I was Michael Jackson. My friend Jeff is dressed as Ryan Seacrest, my favorite outfit of the night.

Cross-dressing is totally normal.

The real "land of milk and honey." This is where the Israelites had to defend themselves from the Philistines, namely Goliath. They let us play with sling-shots for fun.

As David

As Goliath

Again as David and my roommate Elizabeth as the dead Goliath.

I don't know what it is but I get a kick out of Middle Eastern mannequins.

Roommate imitation

Marc Chagall (who I actually didn't know was Jewish) made these as a gift to Israel. Each one represents a different tribe of Israel.

This one is Joseph.

Dad always said one keep clean is worth a dozen clean-ups. I think a little mess gives character to a room. This is our state in post-sleepover mode.

Can you guess which side is mine?

Here's a close-up for

This is the wall that separates Jerusalem from Bethlehem. It is a Palestinian city so any people that live there that do not work in Jerusalem cannot leave. Those who are Palestinian that live in Jerusalem have to go through the security checkpoint everyday and have to carry identification cards or else they are not let through. Actually from the students that we spoke with at Bethlehem University, the Israeli soldiers are sometimes arbitrary and I find it interesting that on their ID cards the nationality is left blank. As you can see from the graffiti there are definitely bitter feelings. The lion is a symbol of Judah/Israel by the way.

The Church of the Nativity
This is where they claim the exact birth place of Christ was. Who knows this kind of stuff?? I did learn that this is one of the main spots that the Crusaders wanted to defend. Many would come here as a sort of pilgrimage.

View from the top of the University. There is a Jewish settlement in the distance. I asked our tour guide why Jews would ever want to live amongst the Palestinians and he said that they are given such good incentives that it's practically free to live there.


Amjad and the Dome of the Rock


So this actually happened on our first free day which was about two months ago but whatevs. So to get our bearings we walked Rampart's Walk which goes around the old city on the tops of the walls. Before we even started my group met a guy named Amjad. He was born Jordan but lives in Jersey. He speaks fluent Arabic and English which turned out to be a huge advantage with the vendors. His parents still live in Jordan and he was actually here to get an arranged marriage (well actually he is married now) and admittedly he convinced me it was a good idea. Again, be prepared for a future Israeli son-in-law:)

Anyway, he asked if he could hang out with us for the day because he didn't have anyone touring with him. It was great because we were clueless and he knew the area well. After the walk we saw the Dome of the Rock. It's the Muslim site that commerorates the almost sacrifice of Isaac on Mt. Moriah. Not only is it gorgeous but it's also supposedly on the exact spot where the Herodian temple was that was destroyed in 70 BC by the Romans, at least according to the Jews. Actually it's basically the same spot where the City of David was established, Solomon's palace/temple was built, and where Christ was crucified. Anyway, if you know anything about the last days you can see why this would be so controversial because the Jews want their temple but if they touched the Dome of the Rock we're told that it would be the start of WWIII. In fact, the other day we were on lock-down from East Jerusalem because after throwing rocks at people some Muslims locked themselves in the Dome and the the Israeli soldiers couldn't get them out because they aren't allowed to go inside. The conflict is soooo bizarre and I think the only way this conflict will end is with Christ. I honestly do not see any hope. This is of course after only two months. I'm sure my very limited knowledge, compared to experts on the subject, is meaningless but it's my opinion nonetheless.

I'm digressing. After the day was over Amjad invited us to his aunt's home to eat dinner. Again, this would only happen in a foreign country. He paid for our taxi there and back, provided one of the best meals I've had here, and opened his aunt's home to perfect strangers. It definitely made a good impression on the hospitality of the Arabs and helped us get to know the culture quickly. Enjoy the pics.


View of the markets


I feel like I don't put enough pictures with me and other people and I want to be sure that you know I'm really popular here. Basically people want to be around me all the time. I've had to make severe sacrifices with my alone time but I guess that's the consequences of being well liked:)

John BFF, Dan, and Dan

Saying goodbye outside their really nice house