Saturday, February 15, 2014

Valentine's Day and such

So yesterday was the infamous holiday of love. And you want to know something - it was actually a great day! It felt like I was back in elementary school... everyone had "boxes" and people were writing silly poems left and right, at the end of the day I had some fun little surprises. Mom you will be thrilled to find out, I even got a sweet little almost serious valentine.  But the real highlight of the day for me was finishing the book Far From the Madding Crowd. It was the perfect way to spend Valentine's, wrapped up in my happy little world filled with the agony of Bathsheba and the solid undying service and love of Gabriel Oaks. Finally seeing them happily married and their happily ever after beginning... mmmm...I thought of all the fictional men I've fallen completely in love with, (I promise this has a connection with Jerusalem.) the different worlds that I've been involved with whether that's Pemberly, Prince Edward Island, or Manderly, and started thinking about my different real worlds. This week all my different worlds seemed to collide.

My first world was my younger self... Sarah. When I was Sarah, I was painfully shy - especially around boys, very thoughtful and pensive, and I felt things very deeply - especially when it came to those I care about. My second world was my BYU self - motivated, in a constant hurry, and a small tightly knit group of friends. This week I've had lots of contact with my friends back in Provo and it's made me a wee bit homesick for a Sunday afternoon at the Dance's or a 2 am chat with the 22 girls. My third world was my Ragnar self. Through my years at Ragnar, I feel like I've grown from a nervous and unsure girl into a leader and confident business woman. Today at church, Mike Kamanski - one of my old friends from my time in the Ragnar office walked in and we had a fun time reconnecting. We laughed about the office and joked about the quirks of working SWAT and good times from the past.

 Finally, I've had to reconcile these different girls into my Jerusalem self. I'm still not sure what will be the defining quality of my time here in Jerusalem. I've been labeled by quite a few people here as the "adventurer" which is a title I'm happy to claim. At the same time I want to incorporate the imagination of Sarah, the friendship of Provo, and the confidence of Ragnar... Jerusalem has already molded me more into the person that I want to become and I hope that I come out of this experience being much more that person.

Ok, calendaring time. I'm going to take a cheater route and try and catch up these past 2 weeks through pictures. Excuse the explosion :)

We went to Jericho, the oldest city (remnants) on Earth.  The boys decided to reenact Joshua bringing down the walls. I love this picture as boys with the same priesthood that they had in ancient days circle around the walls that "came tumbling down!"

Jericho is also right by the Dead Sea... so lowest elevation on Earth. My ears were popping like CRAZY all day!

My friend Larson and I at the overlook to the St. George Monastery. The monastery doesn't have tons of significance to Mormons besides that its super cool cut into the side of a cliff. But the area around it is the Judean wilderness that is mentioned so often in scripture. It is so neat to imagine this area as a literal representation of trials in our life.  

Spring is upon us here. I've started to notice beautiful little dainty wildflowers popping up everywhere. These little poppies are my favorite!  

This picture is looking over to the valley where David slew Goliath. Phil was kind enough to reenact the Giant being slain for my picture :) From the top of this tel... I don't remember the name right now... we used a mirror to send a reflective signal to the other half of our class on a tel (Lachish) a few miles away. We were reenacting the part in the scriptures when someone in Lachish writes a letter saying that they know they are next to be taken because they can no longer see the signal fire from this city. Shoot I wish I could remember the name! But the whole day I felt like we had a Lord of the Rings theme. So this was the part when they light the massive fires to signal war!

This was an underground city, this particular cave was where they raised doves. Hundreds of literal pidgeon holes for the birds that were used for food and economy. Here I felt like I was walking the Mines of Moria... and a bit later when we went into the "basement" of one of the houses that turned out to be a giant cistern system. So incredible!!

The same underground city had a massive Olive Press. Olive presses have become one of my favorite symbols here.

So this is a really bad picture, but we met up with the other class here and sang hymns in the massive cisterns. Lydia my roommate has one of the most melodic voices I've ever heard. I'm so glad I get to have such incredible friends here!!!

Ok next day... we went exploring! We discovered some fun points around the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. This one was probably my favorite: a giant cistern, still full of water under the famous church! Here, pilgrims during the crusader era would  restock on water after visiting the sacred space. It's the first cistern I've seen still full of water. We also discovered an old cistern that is off the beaten path there - it looked like something straight out of Harry Potter, full of rubble and completely dark. Jon almost fell in while he was exploring. 

This is Dormition Abbey. This picture can not do it justice. There was also the tomb of David and a possible spot for the Last Supper here. This is by far my favorite church in Jerusalem so far. This is a traditional spot for Mary's burial. But this church is covered in the most magnificent mosaics.  My personal favorites were the ones depicting Christ and his lineage - it's the first time faces have looked lifelike in a mosaic to me. And then another one below...

In this regal room where Mary supposedly once lay, is a fantastic mosaic depicting the wonderful women of the Bible: Ruth, Esther, Eve, etc... Anyone who knows my admiration for strong women can see why I loved this mosaic soooooo much!

Free Sunday: we decided to visit the Tower of David Museum. mistake. I was not in a mood to stare at ancient artifacts behind glass that day. Apparently not many people were. Haley (red skirt) started making up stories for everything we saw and telling us them in a British accent. Honestly the coolest part of the museum was the view behind us in this picture. My personal highlight of the museum, was as we were looking at ancient Canaanite artifacts specifically a fertility goddess. A Jewish school group came in, and a teacher hurriedly rushed over and put a poster of a mosaic over the glass with a quick apology to us and motioned to the young boys. It was a sweet gesture and one that struck me as kind of funny. 

After the museum we walked back through the tomb of David and Last Supper area and made it to the grave of Oskar Schindler. I've don't know the story of Schindler, but Logan gave us what I felt was a decent summary. And Haley (what this picture is showing) whipped out a guide book (for real this time) and told us a bit about it. A few days earlier we'd been exploring this cemetery and  been kicked out by an official. But not before I'd noticed some cool looking tombs. We had a huge group come back with us this time, so Matt and I decided to try and sneak away to get a quick peak at them.  We had to climb down this overgrown staircase that was crumbling, and had actually just discovered a full skeleton of a goat maybe... when the others saw us. They watched from above as we picked our way over big holes. I got nervous because of all the bones and holes and stinging nettle so I made Matt go look in the well that we were trying to get to. He started FREAKING out "There skeletons down here! Tons of bones and lots of skulls!!!" Well that got all the boys attention and before you knew it they were down there exploring. I got uncomfortable because I felt like we were trespassing on some mass grave, especially when they started looking for a way into it. So I went and explored the rest of the cemetery. I discovered a couple other skeletons laying undisturbed in their catacombs.

We split off from the mass group just after that... and discovered my new favorite dessert. Lava cakes. I've already gone back for seconds! They are delicious!!! After the Lava cakes we walked along the colonnade under the old city that was at the level of Christ's city. While we were down there, some jokster  set off firecrackers. The initial explosion noise sounded like gunfire and everyone in the street ducked into cover. My heart was racing, but the boys with us assured us after a few seconds that it was only fireworks and thankfully they were right! 

This week we finally talked our way into seeing the Tomb of the Kings. It was a huge underground tomb system. It honestly could have held about 100 bodies. We spent an easy 2 hours climbing through the tunnels and exploring the little caves. 

This was one of the tunnels we crawled through. The longer I'm here and the more I discover, the more I love this city, the history it holds and the people who live here.

One thing that we did that I couldn't take a picture of was go to a Jewish synagogue. I love going to other faith's worship services, finding out what other's believe. This service was by far my favorite other faith that I've been to. The people were so open and friendly. The singing was beautiful and devout. Half way through the service I closed my eyes and imagined that I was back in the time of Moses with the children of Israel singing praises to Jehovah. It was so simple. I even made a friend there! I got her number and we're planning to have lunch this next week! I can't wait!!

Alright, I think I'm pretty much caught up. Tomorrow we are headed to the Holocaust Memorial. Pray I have the strength for that!! 

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Jordan Part 2

I'll try and consolidate this post to highlights only. Jordan was just such an incredible experience!!!

First of all, I've had a lot of questions about my last post. My friend passed away a few hours after I posted that. Ashleigh was an incredible example to me of what true charity, patience, and love is. We had planned to be roommates this summer after I got back and before we both started our careers. I can not possibly imagine what her family is going through. I know that this experience has taken a toll on me and I am so far removed from it here and surrounded by constant reminders of Christ and his atonement. I consider myself so blessed as I deal with the sadness of losing a good friend, removed from the support group that has formed in Provo, to know that Christ came and willing laid down his life so that we can have not only an existence after this mortal journey, but a life surrounded by loved ones. I know that our Father wouldn't have called her home so suddenly if she hadn't completed her mission here. I had the opportunity to visit the pool of Siloam right after I found out. Christ healed the blind man here, and it was so poignant to me as I sat there how in control Christ and our Father are. Ashleigh could have been healed, I'm sure of it. But I'm also sure that it wasn't the Lord's will and I'm going to trust in that knowledge.

Ok Petra = mind blowing. Camels = wicked cool! Ellie = exhausted!

The day after Petra found us in Amman, the capital of Jordan. We got an incredibly early start to go see the sights around town. First stop - the citadel of Amman, basically the old city. When we got there, I honestly had no idea what I was looking at: a couple cool ruins, some big signs in Arabic, some touristy walkways. We meandered through with Eeah pointing out highlights. Finally we turned a corner and I was looking at a real Roman temple... well what was left of it. There was nothing that could have prepared me for the magnitude of the temple. I'm such a sucker for ancient beauty. The Temple of Hercules. I couldn't get enough... but believe it or not, that was only small potatoes compared to what was to come the rest of the day!

I think the next place we went was the Jordanian Museum. Honestly, so much has happened since the trip, it's a bit blurry. At the museum we were greeted by the curator and set free to explore. It was very similar to the Israel museum, on a much smaller scale. And lots of pottery... it makes me sad that ancient pottery is literally becoming an everyday phenomenon to me. But it's true... one of my professors said the sights literally bleed pottery and he couldn't be more right!

Next up - Jerash - the oldest, best preserved Roman city. Words can not describe the feelings I got there! At first it seemed like every other Tel, plus a cool gate. Our guides decided to pit the two buses against one another, and I was elected (despite my aggressive protesting that I have no speed, just distance in my short lil' legs) to run a race against the other bus. Thankfully, there were 2 of us representing and the other girl pulled through for our bus! After the racing we went to the amphitheater. Wow. That's all I can say! There were bagpipers playing the tune of Praise to the Man as we walked in, and pretty soon our group had taken over the stage. Heather sang, and then a couple groups sang, and then the bag pipes started again... and soon we were dancing all around the stage! I danced and sang in a Roman Amphitheater!!  I'm pretty sure that life does not get more surreal than that!  The rest of exploring Jerash was incredible... I don't have time or attention span to get it all in. But just imagine a city the size of 2 BYU campuses probably, covered in columns, elaborate carvings, and the ghosts of the people who inhabited the streets lurking around the corners.

This was in the colonnade circle... just like in Hercules! 
Finally we went to the Automobile museum documenting the lives of the royalty of Jordan. It was fine. I don't really get old cars... I felt like I was looking at models of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang for the first half. But I did get this picture for Dad.

You probably can't tell what I'm pointing to... it's an Indian Motorcycle... exactly like the one in the World's Fastest Indian. I appreciated it in your behalf! 

Next day real quick. We went to a mosque... I can't remember which one, but they had made special arrangements for us to take a tour. Eeah was so wonderful at explaining what happens and the Muslim view of different things, I think my entire group was in reverence of the thoughts of mosques. Plus, we got/had to dress like Muslims out of respect. That was quite the experience! I'm never complaining about Mormon modesty again!!!

Then we went to the River Jordan where Christ was baptized. I won't spend a ton of time describing it, it was an incredibly spiritual experience for me! But as we were reading the account in the scriptures, just as we were talking about the Holy Ghost, sitting on the banks of the river, a flock of doves flew overhead. What a neat experience. I'm sure they are kept there for the tourists... but it was a wonderful effect and one I will never forget! 
I took a bit of a dip in the River :)

Ok, there are the very briefest of highlights from the Jordan Trip. It was an incredible experience and I am honestly in love with that country!! I'm beginning to think I would not mind spending a few years in this region on a work assignment. I might have to work towards that!

This picture should have been in my last post... but I was on a public computer. These are my adorable roommates - Lydia and Kimberly! I've only known them a month and they have become some of my closest friends here!!

Sunday, February 9, 2014


Today has been rough.

I woke up to the news that one of my best friends back at home had been in a serious accident and was in the trauma care unit.

I had no way to reach anyone and find out how serious.

As I waited for updates all day I was shocked at the peace I felt. It's been a while since I've dealt with a situation like this, and never from a distance where I am so completely helpless.

I visited lots and lots and lots of graves today. I couldn't help but think: What a blessing that I know about the plan of salvation. What a blessing to have the faith that we will live again. What a blessing to know that this life is not the end and families can be together forever.

Ashleigh is an amazing example of faith and a righteous woman. I have faith that whatever happens will be the Lord's will and be alright in the end. I'm so thankful that I can be here, where the atonment happened and know that we will live again!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014


I'm taking a minor detour from writting down my activities to just write out what's been on my mind lately. Specifically Fathers. Specifically mine.

While here in the Holy Land I've been focusing on strengthening my relationship with my Heavenly Father. It's been a challenging experience to say the least. It is easy for me to relate to Christ here as I see where he walked, taught, lived, and died. Heavenly Father is much more ambigous and almost totally dependant on me to form the relationship. That's alright, something that you work for is much more rewarding than something that is given to you.

However, as I've pondered qualities of Heavenly Father and the role of fathers, I'm more and more grateful for the father I've been given in this life. My dad is my hero. I've yet to meet a man who is harder worker than my dad (which has made dating incredibly difficult because no one quite measures up!). My dad is a big prankster and tease which has helped me not take myself to seriously. My dad is supportive of not only my dreams and goals, but of all his children and his wife. I treasure the memories of I have of long evenings of pitching and batting cages, bike rides, jump over, and apple fights. I can never thank my dad enough for coaching me not only in softball, but in tough life lessons. 

Dad, I want you to know I love you and miss you. I'm so grateful for all you do for me! Thank you for giving me an example of qualities that our Heavenly Father has. You are the best!

Monday, February 3, 2014


Cue ridiculously long blog post round duos!

This last week we had our first overnight field trip. Where you may ask? Jordan. Don’t worry… I wasn’t overly thrilled about going either. I mean…cool, another Middle Eastern country, slightly different culture, probably some cool piles of rocks. But do we really need to spend 4 days doing just that? I could not have been more wrong!!

First of all, we left ridiculously early, on our giant tour bus to make it to the border before anyone else did. When they said border crossing, I’m thinking something similar to the U.S. –Canada border. In set up I wasn’t that far off, they look very similar, except this border has mines in the no man’s land and they actually take the passport checking very seriously complete with scanning of our luggage and mirrors under the bus. We waited at the border for about 3.5 hours. I’m not gonna lie… I got a wee bit cranky. Finally the ordeal was done, we were all cleared and we were on our way to an adventure!

First stop: Mount Nebo, where Moses looked and saw the promise land and then was translated. I wish I would have realized that we were going there so I could have studied about it a bit more. Unfortunanetly, I was so cold and hungry that I don’t think I really got the full experience (plus it was super hazy so I couldn’t really see anything off the top of the mountain). But still, I got the same kind of feeling that I get when I go to the Manti Temple. A prophet of old stood here! Walked here! Spoke to God here! Plus, my mental picture of the Bible is coming together a lot smoother now. When I read about places on my own now I can actually visualize them and picture what’s going on. Awesome!

After Mt. Nebo, we went to see the Madaba Map. I was pretty excited for this one! Not a day goes by here that I don’t think about what an excellent teacher Mr. Oram was and I’m so grateful for his passion for art and being able to transfer it to me. I can’t imagine what this trip would be like without it. Soooo…. Mr. Oram had talked with us quite a bit about this map, in reality, it was not as vivid as I expected. But that could not diminish how fascinating wit was, how mind blowing the details, and the fact that thousands of footsteps of old had brought pilgrims to that exact spot on their route to Jerusalem. That same church also had the Madonna with the Blue Hand. I can’t remember exactly why that icon was so important…but I remember learning about it and so naturally I was excited to see it! After a quick stop at a local restaurant, we drove down to Petra.

Side note, on the drive, Tanner Potter sat next to me. I haven’t really talked to him at all that much, but that ride we got to know each other pretty well. I found a kindred soul in regards to books!!! And fun fact: he is a Davis Dart and part of the original Da Boys group… pre cursor to The Stoop…. Hmmmmmmmm….

Ok, we get to Petra and the welcoming committee is literally in the drive waiting for us, in full uniform playing the bagpipes, drums, and singing/chanting with swords drawn. What the heck!! I felt like royalty! After they ushered us through the gauntlet there was mango juice and bread with oil and thyme for us to snack on while we enjoyed the music. I’m pretty sure that will never ever happen for me again! I just soaked it all up and couldn’t get over the fact that it was happening to me!! After were checked in(and had an incredible Bedouin dinner), most of our group headed down to Petra to do a candlelight tour. There is something so incredibly magical about red rock at night! The whole time we were there, I kept thinking about working down in Zion and the nights when we’d all go rappelling Jolly’s by moonlight. That summer was the best decision I’ve ever made… maybe that’s what I’ll do again this summer… hmmmmm…

Anyways, we walked through the canyon following a little trail of tea lights. The stars were breathtaking! I’ve missed seeing stars regularly here. There is so much light pollution that only a few show up, but out in small town Petra down in the canyon, they were almost as bright as at the ranch! And I saw all of Orion for the first time, instead of just his belt! Wahoo! Walking through the canyon with Brooke and Larson, (the guy who reminds me of Landon), I honestly felt like I was right back in Southern Utah, except every once and a while the trail changed into an ancient Roman road lit by hundreds of little candles. We kept chatting and laughing, when all of a sudden we turned a corner and we’re staring at the Treasury of Petra, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. And do you know what, it’s even more awe-inspiring than I ever imagined! I think all 3 of us stopped mid-sentence and just stared in amazement as we approached this magnificent tomb. As the mouth of the canyon opened up, there were hundreds of candles lighting up the Treasury. We sat down to just appreciate the majesty infront of us, and some local men started playing the flute and some Middle Eastern guitar/cello thing. It was… eerie, and magical, and time-transcendent (is that even a word?). Even with the freezing cold wind chilling my fingers one by one, I couldn’t get enough! Finally, I dragged myself away…with the promise I could come back the next day.

We stared bright and early the next morning. Our tour guide, Eeah, walked us through Petra by daylight. It was fascinating! He described the aqueducts that they had carved out of the sandstone, pointed out the camels carved into the walls, and explained the hundreds of caves/tombs that we would be seeing that day. Finally, we rounded the corner and I knew we would be seeing the incredible treasury tomb in a matter of seconds by daylight. Eeah told us to make lines, hold hands, and keep our eyes down. When I finally looked up again, the Treasury was in front of me, regal and imposing. After a few minutes there, they cut us loose to go explore. Petra is huge! I could have spent days and days there…probably even weeks! Everything was so ancient, and some places we climbed into, I felt like I was the first person to be there in centuries! Ok, I know that that’s ridiculous…  but it was so easy to imagine!

We took off with a small quick group to try and move quickly to see as much as possible with our short time. Hannah led the way followed by Brooke and I, then Larson, Andrew, and Mike tagging along. We booked it up the tallest mountain to get to the High Place first. Over 800 stairs. Ouch! We climbed them all in about 15 mins, and made it to the high place to enjoy the view for a while. What I wasn’t expecting though, was at the top there was a full on alter. Eeah had told us that they believe that Moses stayed some time there and there is a tomb for Aaron, Moses’s brother at the top of a mountain a few mountains away. Anyways, the high place alter was the first alter I’d seen complete. And it was huge! Even if none of the Old Testament prophets used it, I loved the visualization I got from that mountain top. We could see everything around us for miles and were so close to the sky, it wasn’t easy to get there, but worth the hike, and I could see perfectly how it would be laid out… I could almost see the smoke rising from the alter.
I'm pretty sure I'm bringing the fanny pack back ;)
 Heading down, we saw a cool lookout and of course had to check it out…. And discovered a back way down. A few other groups saw us head down that way and followed us, but our pace was a bit to quick for them. The way down was littered with tombs and caves. And about half way down there was a Bedouin woman playing a haunting tune on a flute. She pulled us to the edge of the cliff and pointed out sacred sights. Kinda cool! We crawled into graves and explored the nooks and cranny’s of pitch black caves(thanks for making me take a flashlight Dad!) and got to know a French couple that was playing leapfrog with us down the trail. Once we got to the bottom, there was a herd of donkey’s just chilling there, so we chased them around a bit and all I could think of was that stupid mule Elmer that I learned to barrel race on and how similar these dumb donkeys were too him. Right after the donkeys, we stumbled across some adorable children who were racing their homemade toys (a wheel from a stroller cut off and stuck onto a stick). They were running back and forth with bare feet over sharp little rocks. It broke my heart! When they saw us, they started yelling “Hello Mis-ter! Hello Mis-te-er!” They tried to become our guides through the caves. We’d been told not to indulge them because they should be in school, but we played with them a little bit, they couldn’t have been more than 6 or 7! Andrew even got them to race back and forth with him a few times.  And after we left, they followed us for about 15 mins chattering in broken English. They were so adorable, I wish I could have taken every one of them with me!

When we came to the road to the Monastery, we parted ways with the little kids and as we came around the corner, we spotted Nate Monson, Freddy and Nicholette. And from yards away we heard Nate yell “Stop the Donkey!!! Stop the Donkey!!!” we could not stop laughing! We had specifically been told no donkey rides… so to hear him freak out over the donkey moving a few steps was priceless!

We booked it up to the Monastery, about halfway up the steep stairs I’m thinking… “There is no way that this is worth it! My legs are killing me!” But guess what?! It was so worth it! We caught up to a couple other groups on the way up, and by the time we all reached the top (a wicked 800ish stairs later), out of breath and sweaty, the view was unreal! A massive tomb carved right out of the rock. Now, we’d been seeing quite a few of these all day, but this one was the most imposing one I’d seen so far. We had 45 mins to kill up there before lunch, so quite a few pictures were taken. About 30 of us climbed inside of the tomb and before you knew it, Prince of Egypt was being sung and we were dancing and forming circles… the little local boys were sitting on the death bed laughing at us. They must have thought we were completely crazy! We hiked around a little bit more, a few of the guys disappeared and pretty soon they were yelling at us from the top of the tomb. They had found a back way up and clambered up to it. Larson, Brooke, and I started to follow in their footsteps but before we could go very far a ranger chased us down and shooed us out. Turns out there is a no climbing sign that was facing the complete wrong way so obviously we didn’t see it…

On the way down from the monastery, starving as we were… I had to stop and look at jewelry. All morning long the necklaces had been catching my eye. They weren’t the generic (I can’t believe I’m using that term to describe anything here, but it’s the only word that is coming to mind right now) one’s that I’ve been seeing in the old city. Some of them were genuinely unique and somewhat specific to the area. About half way down, I spotted one I hadn’t seen yet, picked it up, and well had to have it. I’m so proud of my bartering skills lately. I paid exactly what I wanted for it, and I love it!

After lunch we decided to go try and find the museum that held the Elephant capitals from the amphitheater columns. We got pointed to a structure at the top of a mountain. Up we went… even more stairs… honestly, the south stairs at BYU seem like a breeze after this trip! Turns out we were given wrong directions, but there was a small trail around the back that we took, and after we turned the corner, there was a sign telling us we were on our way to see the crusader fortress. Awesome! We found it pretty easily, and for the first time since early that morning we weren’t surrounded by tons of shopkeepers and tourists… just us and a little man with a coffee shop. These tombs had some wicked graves in them, that looked like people were actually buried there instead of excavated. Obviously lots of pictures were taken, and then we realized we were running out of time. We raced back down to see the Roman Amphitheater and Palace Tombs. The amphitheater was cool, very similar to other one’s we’d seen. But, possibly the funniest moment of the trip happened here.

There was a little boy trying to sell us postcards, and he would not leave us(and by us I mean mostly Elizabeth) alone. Every time we got rid of him, he came back about 30 seconds later. Finally, Elizabeth ran out of excuses so she told the little boy to try Mike, because he had all the money. The boy ran over to Mike and started pestering him (what we didn’t know at the time, was that Mike had been telling the little boy the exact same lie about Elizabeth.) Mike tries to joke about us with the little boy, but he got right in his face, so Mike started backing up. Right into a big hole that led to the cisterns. I watched as Mike teetered on the edge of this hole, windmill arms and everything, then fell (I swear the whole thing was in slow motion) right into this hole, completely disappearing. My first thought was “Mike may have just died!” Elizabeth and I ran over, followed closely by Larson and Brooke from another direction. Mike was trying to stand up at the bottom of about an 8 foot drop with 2 good size ledges sticking out of the sides. We were really worried at first when he said he wasn’t ok. But he climbed out of the hole just fine and clarified that he had hit his tailbone pretty hard. 
He started walking around trying to walk it off and another group came up and asked what had happened. As I started to describe it, it hit me just how hilarious the situation was… honestly it was like something straight out of a movie, and the fact that Mike genuinely was alright. I started giggling… I swear I tried to hold it in. But then Mike said something about how it was karma cuz he’d been sending little kids at us all day, and the whole situation was comical… and I lost it. I laughed so hard I thought I was going to throw up! I had to leave and pull myself together. Even today, a week later, I can’t think about it without a smile. Mike is okay, he even started running with us again a few days ago, and he thinks the best part of the story now is how hard I was laughing.

After Mike’s dive, we really had to hustle to get to the Palace. We hiked up, poked our heads in stood in amazement, and I may have recounted the falling story to Matt and Mckay who we ran into there. We split up pretty fast though, Mike, Elizabeth, Brooke and I wanted to ride camels and the others wanted to explore a bit more. We hadn’t even made it down the hill, before a man offered us a camel ride. I put my bargaining skills to work again and got us a ride back to the Treasury for 5 dinars each. (I’m actually ridiculously proud of that one!) Brooke and I had to double up, but I didn’t even mind! It was a truly unique experience, and terrifying when the camel stood up and sat back down. Surprisingly we got a lot of comments as we were riding back (“Oh, camels make the ladies sexy!” “Hey you two in the middle there, you sexy!” “Middle two lesbians?”) Yikes!! I didn’t realize camels were an attraction factor.
 Mike thought it was hysterical and I can’t really blame him for anything after my reaction to his fall. We made it back to the treasury where a lot of our group were hiring camels for pictures. (Can I just add, they paid more to take a picture on the camel, then we paid to ride and take a picture… booyah!) A couple of the guys decided to put 4 on a camel… it ended almost in disaster with Larson making a full 360 around the camel’s neck and the camel nipping at him and snorting like crazy. It was a perfect way to end our day in Petra!

Alrighty… this post is already way to long. Kudos to you if you made it all the way through! Promise, the rest of this trip won’t be so lengthy (hopefully!)