Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Last bit of Turkey!!!

Day 7

Here we go... last bit of the glorious Turkey trip! We started the morning at the Grand Mosque of Bursa. Compared to the Hagia Sofia and the Blue was small potatoes. Beautiful but nothing like the other two. Still, this mosque had 20 domes and a beautiful fountain inside of it, and it was an old old one. Yasmin took us inside and we learned a bit about the Islamic faith and the history behind the mosque. We took a few pictures but we were all anxious to get just outside to the silk market waiting on the other side of the Mosque.
Some of the girls inside the Mosque
Once we headed to the silk market I was on a mission to find the silk Han where all the silk was made. I looped around the market a bit... found some gorgeous scarfs...but no silk worms. I ran into Garrett and he was down to find the silk worms. We found the Han but it just looked like a square full of shops and a little cafe. A beautiful scarf caught my eye and I asked the shop keeper, a young women in her 20s, about it. She brought us into her shop, and I asked about the silk worms, she lit up and pulled out a box full of the silkworm cocoons  and a photo album showing how she made the silk last fall. It was fascinating! We sat and chatted with her for a while, she taught us how to identify silk, and served us some more of that delicious apple tea! Before we left, both Garrett and I had purchased some real silk and she showered us with a few token cocoons.

After Bursa we drove a couple hours to Nicaea, ring a bell? Where the Nicaean Creed was established and the 7 ecumenical councils happened. It was really interesting to learn about what had happened there. I had never really thought about the Nicaean Creed before, I mean, I knew what it was, but had never thought about what it meant to me as a Mormon. I now have a whole new appreciation for the beliefs of Orthodox Christians. Not to mention the even bigger change the Joseph Smith brought through the first vision. It's incredible!
Outside the Church which is now a Mosque 
After the church, we went to the site of Constantine's palace. I sat on the beach for a solid hour contemplating and thinking about what had happened there. Honestly this place is perfect for having life revelations!

Finally it was time to head back to reality... and by that I mean Jerusalem... what a reality to head back to!!! We drove for a couple hours back to Istanbul singing and laughing. We stopped for dinner but I was a little bit car sick so I didn't eat much. Then it was on to the plane. By the time we boarded... I was not feeling well at all. I settled into my seat and had a instant panic attack, I was trapped in the middle of the plane, over the wing, window seat. If I needed to make a dash for the bathrooms I wouldn't make it. So I traded seats with a classmate and sat next to Kari, who after one look at me realized I was not well. She gave me some motion sickness pills and I tried to focus on breathing as we took off. It was rough and I realized that I was going to need a priesthood blessing if I was going to keep my lunch down throughout the flight. I asked Kari to get the attention of the nearest boy from our group. Turns out Jon was right in front of me, which turned out to be a blessing. He took charge, grabbed Jeff and gave me a blessing and throughout the remainder of the flight, every time I needed help he was there. And despite the blessing I faced one of my biggest fears of being sick on a plane. I don't remember much from the next 24 hours, but I was so grateful to have friends who took care of me and let me just sleep and get over the bug I'd got, and once we got back to the center, I slept for the next 22 hours. If I was going to get sick here... that was the day to do it!

But, the story doesn't end there. I realized when I finally regained consciousness on Monday, that I was signed up to run a half marathon on Friday. This had me super super worried, I was super weak and dehydrated still on Wednesday, even though I'd been able to get up and continue my normal life on Monday. I stressed until Friday morning and then decided, I was just going to run as far as I could. Race day excitement caught on and before I knew it, I was at the start line, Israeli music was blasting, people were cheering and then the gun went off and the mob moved forward pulling me with them. I started running with Matt, but before long he left me, and I was just fine with that, it was a beautiful morning, I was wearing shorts for the first time in months, and I had a great playlist. I was surprised how well I was doing, I ran around the Kinesset, through Beniyuda street and across the Old City before it hit me. A massive shooting pain in my stomach...not my stomach on top of my stomach, 8 km into the race. I panicked! I was running with Tanner Potter and Nate Monson at the time. Both of them stopped and tried to help me, but I waved them on. Either I was going to drop out, or work through this on my own. After about 5 mins, the pain turned into an ache and I kept going. Every time I went down hill it returned, but not nearly the intensity that it had been before. After I passed half way I knew I could finish. And guess what... I did! My time wasn't wonderful, but for not training, having the flu, and some weird stomach pain... I was so proud of myself!

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