We went on a tour of East Jerusalem the other day and this is the view from an overlook on the Mt. of Olives. We have been talking about the temple mount a bunch in New Testament lately, so I thought I would show the folks at home. The stairs on the left outside of the wall are the steps from Herod's temple. The Dome of the Rock is centered on the temple mount now.

A little room mate shot in our fancy clothes for the Seder meal. From left to right it is Lindy, Camber, me, and Heather. We were shocked that Camber showed up because oh wait, she spent the entire day in the hospital! I told the photographer to capture these beautiful floral arrangements on either side because they are so lovely!

This is my friend David with his beautiful floral arrangement! It looks a little sloppy in this shot since he is tilting it, but his major is landscape design so he can create beautiful things.

The distant shot of the Passover meal. For those wanting to correct us here, we know that the Passover is in the spring but I will be home by then so we had to do it sooner. You might be able to see my professor on the main table by the window in the back. He teaches us Modern Near East from the Jewish perspective. He is one of the best teachers I have ever had. Today we clapped and stood up after his last lecture and I was so near tears- that is how great he is. So in honor of his awesomeness I went all around East Jerusalem today to get a group gift for him. We had a pocket watch engraved, a BYU T-shirt made, flowers for his wife, and then my handy-dandy watercolor set (thanks Miss) helped me create a card. We are so sad to be done with his class. Anyway, I went to Bethlehem yesterday and it was incredible! I was so nervous and so giddy with anticpation that I planned my outfit out in advance. I knew I had to wear blue because I always picture Mary in blue and then I found a blouse that could almost pass as a maternity shirt and it was blue! So I borrowed it from Lindy and yep I wore it to Bethlehem- so get excited for some pictures.
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A day at the races! This was at the Roman hippodrome in the ancient city of Jerash. Jerash has more Roman ruins outside of Italy than anywhere else in the world. So this is the area where they would watch jousting and whatever other athletics. Our tour guides decided it would be fun to have a race between the two buses. They did a boy race and then a girl race. I won the girl race and we were all cheering and everything, chanting "Huffle puff... Huffle puff" because my teacher's last name is Huff. I was pretty shocked that I won because the other girls ran track and stuff that when against me, so that was definetley a little added bonus to the day. But then this group of Jordanian girls on a field trip wanted to challenge us. So here we are at the starting line. I am so hard core- pulling up my sleeves and everything.

This is an action shot, just because.

This is Tim and I with our little victory pose in front of the columns. Behind each column is where they would hold horses for jousting as they waited their turn. How cool!

This is the view from a citadel in downtown Amman. If you look to the left you can see an ancient Roman arena. It is huge! Super cool. Although Jordan was awesome, I was excited to be home. It felt so good to come back to my bed and food that I was comfortable with and I knew exactly what I was eating. Which made me home-sick because I thought wow if I am excited for this stuff at the center, think of how wonderful it will be to be at home with a kitchen and a huge bed and warm clothes and a rice bag, ah. Ok I will stop now. I miss you all!
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olive picking

These are actually Sarah's pictures. I am getting a little tired of picture taking, so luckily we can all share pictures with our thumb drives. This is Sarah Jane and I in front of the center pretending to be doing something important, but really we just wanted a picture with the olives. But in my defense, I picked every one of the olives in the bag coming up.

This is on the street to the center and we discovered this darling little bench... when everyone else was picking olives... oops. It was hard because most of the trees are so big that you have to use a ladder or be really tall- both of which I did not have access to, so we took a little rest on the bench. You may notice that both Justin and Steven are leaning towards my side even though there is plenty of room on this bench, yeah... I so love it here!

This is my happy olive face. I picked all these olives all by myself. People kept saying, "Oh Becca let me take that bag for you and I will go dump them in the big bucket." I opted out because I liked the pride of carrying every single one and especially depositing it myself.

I didn't pick all of these, but aren't they beautiful?! My friend Melissa took this picture I think. There is a lot of picture trading going down, which I am so ok with.

Anyway now for a real update. I have been here about a month and a half now and I have only gotten homesick a few times and I really think I am receiving lots of help from heaven in that department. The only times I get a little teary is when I see my adoorrable niece, so that is ok because if I were home I wouldn't get to see her anyway. Although it may seem like I only have fun all the day- I am taking 15 credits. We are almost done with my Old Testament class which has been really great. My teacher is pretty tough, but we are memorizing names and meanings and places and valleys and Phillistine fortresses and it is great. It is so great to go to these sites and know the geography of everywhere surrounding and the stories that happened there.Also, we have an ancient near east studies class taught by a BYU professor- so we have been going in order of Old Testament chronology so that we can put the patriarchs in context with their actual surroundings at the time. For example, we discussed why it was so important for Abraham to be taught in Ur because he came right after the Sumerian renaissance when they would have learned writing in their temples and about how important it is to have priesthood- even though there's was corrupt. We all love love love the ancient near east class because we are learning so much new information, but gaining more knowledge about why the Old Testament is true.The other classes are called Modern Near East studies. We take it from 2 different professors, a Palestinian Christian from Bethlehem University and then an Orthodox Jewish man who teachers at a Conservative Jewish school. This class is really interesting because so far we have learned a detailed history of Judaism, and now we are starting to discuss the Jewish perspective of the conflict. Our Palestinian teacher has talked more about Palestine and covers Muslim background a little bit, but most of the things we learn about Muslim culture comes from my Arabic teacher.Ayman- my Arabic teacher could quite possibly be my favorite teacher here. He is hillarious and we all look forward to this class so much because we just ask him questions and have a blast. He told us the best restaurants to go to for falfel and kinea so I think we are going to check that out this week. Well, Arabic starts in 10 min so I better say Khatrek!
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This shot is dedicated to the "brethren." I was so so close to buying this do-rag for my dad, but it was such bad quality, so I hope a picture will suffice. And we are trying to do a "J" with our hands, we are not calling you all losers, I promise.

This was our first night in Jordan. This is the famous Sarah Jane. By some miraculous intervention we got to be room mates. There were 3 of us, so Sarah and I got to share a bed. How sweet, the blanket looks cute but trust me there were hairs (that we did not own) all over it.

This is me at the monastery at Petra. No it isn't the infamous treasury but I liked this more and there were less tourists.

I just got back from Jordan... wow yeah I know. It is amazing how much you learn about a country by only spending 4 days there. We went to Mt.Nebo and saw the brazen serpent memorializing his life, Petra to see the massive Nabatean ruins carved out of rock (intense pictures sure to follow). Petra was way cool! I made a little video humming the Indiana song as I walked through the pathway that Indiana Jones takes before he gets to the treasury. A lot of the rocks and pathways reminded me of southern Utah, but then some parts have these deep dark purple splotches. It is so crazy how many colors there were- so I took a lot of pictures for my friend Alex because she is a geology major and she can explain it all to me. Then we took a donkey rides up the mountain to a big monastery and oh my lands, I think it is even prettier than Indiana's treasury. It is just as big and it is way more effort to get up there so you feel like some explorer discovering this huge building carved into the rock.

Now that we are back, everyone is sick again. It was really cold and rainy in Jordan so we all caught colds again. It is pretty rough to have a Jordanian virus because my body is so not used to it, but I am getting better. It helped that we had our Halloween party last night and boy was it a hit. Who knew that 80 kids could be so creative with the few clothes we brought from home? In my room alone we came up with DJ Tanner, a telestial teal crayon, a rose bud, and I was a sumo wrestler. We helped our friends next door transition into a dove and a tree. My favorite costumes were from room 408. They were "bad girls of the Old Testament." One was Delilah and she was carrying around a hair cutting kit (she cut Samson's hair), then there was Jael with a hammer because she nailed this guy's head to the ground, then Potiphar's wife and she had a pair of boxers hanging on her necklace (Joseph's) and last but not least, Bath-sheba-my friend Sarah wore nude colored clothing with a towel, wet hair, and a pitcher of water like she was taking a bath. We have all noticed that our humor has become much more Biblical. All of our jokes use phrases from the Bible, and in all of our conversations we will be talking about somethng and then it always relates to the Bible and we say, "hey that is like when Absalom did this..." Oh goodness, only in Jerusalem. Expect Halloween pictures in the near future!
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