We made it! After about 18 hours in airplanes and airports I didn't think we would, but some how miraculously we pulled through the night on the plane and by the next afternoon I saw my first glimpse of the Holy Land.
** side note - I got made fun of because I couldn't tell if the little thing below us from the plane were boats or other planes... I have since decided they were other planes. And this is my first experience with jet lag... woof! That's all.
First of all, my group is amazing! I already can tell I'm going to make life long friends here. AND my roommates are amazing! Talk about a blessing!!! AND classes started today and I can't remember the last time I was so enthralled through lectures, but honestly they are incredible! I can't believe how darn lucky I am to be here!
Yesterday we got a tour of the city - old and new. There is sooooo much exploring I want to do! So many more things I want all of a sudden now that I know they exist! Rings and anklets, Jeanie pants and scarfs, statues and pottery...but most of all, experiences I want to have. One of the coolest things I've already experienced is the smells here. Anyone who knows me knows that smell is by far my strongest sense. That was the first thing I noticed when I got off the plane - how heavy the air smelled, and when I got to the Jerusalem center I noticed how dirty the air smelled, but in the Old City, it smells amazing! There is a line in A Little Princesses where Sara tries to describe how India smells - she says, " The air is full of spices!" That is exactly what the Old City smells like. So many exotic spices and incense... I couldn't recognize even half of them, but they don't clash! They complement each other and make an entrancing experience.
Another mesmerizing experience I've had and continue having is listening to the calls to prayer. My first night here, I was woken up at 4:45 am when the call went off. I just laid in bed and listened to the talented caller over the loud speakers. The first call was simple, almost Gregorian Chant like in sound, but the second call that went off an hour and a half later was almost harmonizing in sound. As I laid there it hit me. I'm in the Holy Land. Where Christ lived, walked, and performed miracles. I'm in a place revered by religions all across the world! I'm in a place that has seen so many cultures and peoples, (the Orient!!) and more tragedy than I can ever comprehend. And for 4 amazing months, I get to be a part of this!