Can’t Decide if I Like Kosher or Non-Kosher

We have our dorm leaders, and I am proud to announce that Caitlin is the leader for Dorm 2!!! =D I’m so proud of her!

On Tuesday afternoon, we bundled up in the cold weather and headed to Jerusalem (if you’re not catching on yet, we go there a lot) for an overnight trip. We stayed at the Gloria Hotel, which had very nice accommodations. Rachel Israel, the IBEX volunteer (She’s awesome!), Karen Rader, and I all shared a room. As soon as we got to the hotel, the three of us ran outside, and for 5 shekels, bought bagel-ay (lol..that’s how it’s pronounced – no clue how it’s spelled). These long, oval-shaped bagels were sooo good and included with it was some yatar, a green spice that was both salty and unlike anything I’ve ever tasted. You just dip your bagel-ay in the spice and wow…sooo good!
We didn’t see too much on Tuesday night. We did go to the Western Wall and through the Western Wall tunnel, but it was getting colder and colder. We returned to the hotel around 8ish where we had dinner and enjoyed some of our own entertainment: at dinner Whit, Jared, John, and yes, I, attempted (and some of us succeeded – not me) to put our whole mouths over the mouths of the glasses. It was hilarious, and I did upload pictures. After dinner we went to this cave-like lounge in the hotel and some of us enjoyed cards while a bunch of the rest of us took a walk to Zion Square or discussed “how a guy can get to know a girl without her thinking he likes her” – a question that had been brought up earlier that day at lunch – and played and an ice-breaker game.
Early the next morning, we found out that for the first time in about 7 yrs, it had snowed in Jerusalem!!!! We all enjoyed a non-kosher breakfast, left our bags at the hotel, then headed out into a winter wonderland! Right away I found that this snow was nothing like NY. It was snow – yes – but it was more slush and TONS of water! In about 5 minutes, most of our feet were soaked and this only worsened as time went on.
We went directly to the Temple Mount, but unfortunately, “because of the weather” it was closed, so we proceeded to go visit St. Anne’s church, the Antonian Fortress (which was closed), some various other landmarks, and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Unfortunately, because we all were so cold, none of us remember too many details to relate. All we could think about was how cold we were. Honestly, for a lot of the trip I couldn’t feel parts of my feet and the parts I could feel were all very painful. After about 2 ½ hrs of trudging around in the water – once it was pouring down the street like a waterfall but on we went right through it – Randy decided we’d head back to the hotel, grab out stuff, and get lunch on the way back to the moshav. By this time, pretty much all of my layers were wet, and I looked like a wet dog – we all did. =D
While we hung out in the hotel lobby waiting for the bus, a gentleman from the states – PA, actually – came and told us he and his group were flying out, so he offered us clean and dry (Yay!) socks and t-shirts. We were very thankful! Unfortunately, most people put the stuff on right then before heading out to the bus, so they were all wet again by the time we were driving back to the moshav. I held off and put them on in the bus, which was all fine and dandy until we had to get out at McDonald’s. Then, I was forced to put on my soaked sneakers – I could push water out of them just by wiggling my toes – and there went my dry socks.
We actually go to eat non-kosher burgers and fries!!! Mmmm! Israeli McDonald’s serve WAY bigger burgers than the US. Seriously, the burger was double the size of an American burger. Unfortunately, they forgot to put cheese and hot sauce on mine, but that’s ok. I lived. To be honest, I did love the burger and fries, but it wasn’t as good as I was thinking it was going to be. I don’t know if it’s because it’s McDonald’s and I’ve not ever really been a fan or if it’s because I like the cleaner taste of Israeli food. Hmm…
Wet, cold, and exhausted, we arrived back at the moshav, where we all got comfy in any bit of dry clothes we had and settled down in the library (with the heat blasting – thank you, Phyllis!) to work on homework. The rain/snow continued to come, and yesterday morning when I woke up, there was snow all around the moshav! It was beautiful!

Classes continue to go well, life is a learning experience, and friendships continue to grow stronger. God is soo good to put us here in this situation, and I only pray I may utilize this opportunity to its full potential.

It’s midnight here – on the dot – and I have an 8am Land and Bible class, complete with our first quiz (*gulp*), then Regional Explorations at 10:30. Then, homework, a nap?, and then Shabbat. =D

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