Saturday, January 24, 2009


Yep, it's true. I'll be back in 9 days with some BOMB pictures. Don't miss me too much.

Friday, January 23, 2009

no communication disorders here, no way

Here's an excerpt from an article about unusual service performed by LDS missionaries serving in Taichung, Taiwan.

Once a less-than-accurate English sign is noted, the missionaries report its location to President Hoer. He then forwards the information to the mayor’s office, along with a suggestion for a more understandable translation.

One recent example: English warning signs at a baseball field declared “Game that attention to flying out-of-bounds.” The missionaries translated the English to read “Pay attention to foul balls.”

Another: On the grounds of a Confucian temple a sign read “Please keep orderliness solemnly silent.” The modification turned in by the missionaries is “Please be silent and respectful.”

(Go here for the full story.)

Sometimes I want to throttle the necks of those Tower of Babel-ites, but you have to admit the language barrier--and attempts to break it--are pretty dang funny sometimes. My family still teases me about the "I love you Susy!" Guatemalan boy and we still joke about Janel's advanced communication of "One momo" with her 2nd grade hispanic friend. Kim and I realized again how little we know - and how naive we are! - when we were traveling over to Jerusalem and we didn't even know what language they were speaking on the plane - and were too embarrassed to ask the guy next to us what language he was speaking! How embrssing. Apparently we're not the only ones though. "Good morning Obama" was the greeting we got from a few shopkeepers the other day as we walked through Jerusalem. Ha!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

a picture's worth a thousand words. and easier, too.

A couple of you kind readers out there have inflated my ego about my photography abilities. Hence, more pictures. I doubt I'll ever write creatively (or, for that matter, anything more than captions) on this blog again, because defaulting to pictures is so much easier and ... let's be honest, it's more fun to look at pictures than to read a bunch of words. Go picture books.

Random, yes I know. In fact, I don't even know if these are radishes or turnips. Makes for a cool picture though

A shepherdess. It amazes me that people still do this for a living

Out on the town with friends

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

classes at the jc

A few of my friends have asked about my classes here at the JC. (Jerusalem Center for all you uncultured ones who are confused.) Here we go:

Three of my classes are with all the other students here - so 77 other students (two students dropped out from the 80 originally accepted to the program). Religion is split evenly between the two professors (I'm partial toward one but that's to be expected I suppose) with classes of 40 each. And, Hebrew is only 20 students because there are two sections of Hebrew and two others of Arabic.

Ancient Near Eastern Studies 336 - 3 credits
Professor: Andrew Skinner
This class is basically the history and geography of the Middle East. Or Near East, as the title proclaims. It's interesting, as are all of my classes here, and I like it so far. We've only had it once, though, so that could change...

Modern Near East 347 - 2 credits
Professor: Adnan Musallam
This class is the history and current situation of the region taught from the Palestinian perspective. Adnan, a professor at the Bethlehem University, has a fairly thick accent and is kind of hard to understand, especially when he's throwing out names of pre-Islamic deities and you're not paying close attention. He throws jokes in here and there, though, so if you're listening he rewards you. :) We get off on tangents, but luckily he only tests on material he covered in class. Today we learned about Hamas and its origins. Who knew that Hamas is actually an acronymn meaning "zeal."

Modern Near East 349 - 2 credits
Professor: Ophir Yarden
This class is the history and current situation of the region taught from the Jewish perspective. Ophir is great. He grew up in the US and immigrated here, so his English is excellent. He is bald and on the first day one of the students asked him how he kept his kippa from falling off his head. The answer: double-sided sticky tape. Ha! There is a boatload of reading for this class and I'm already playing catch-up (lovely). It'll be good though. I need to brush up on my speed-reading skills anyway. I've also learned some new words that I can use around people to sound smart. Such as eschatology.

Hebrew 1 - 1 credit (pass/fail)
Professor: Judy Goldman
I love this class and I've only been once. I already know five words in Hebrew, can sing a song in Hebrew, and know how to write the first two letters of the alphabet along with a whole word. I'm practically fluent! She, along with Ophir, grew up in the U.S. and also teaches English at the Hebrew University.

Old Testament 303 - 3 credits
Professor: Roy Huff
I'll just say this: I'm grateful that when we switch halfway through the semester I'll be able to have Dad as my New Testament teacher, but I surely wish I could take his class for both halves of the Bible. Oh well, JC policy. Maybe when I get back to Provo. :)

Plus, we also have a field trip course which is worth 1 credit, pass/fail. Who would have thought I'd get actual college credit for going to see the pyramids in Egypt!

It's going to be a great semester, but it will be a lot of work as well. It's a little overwhelming to realize how much time I will be spending with my nose in a textbook this semester, but I know my studies will pay off. It's just going to be hard to force myself to study because, hey - I LIVE in Jerusalem.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

more pictures, whether you care or not :)

This is the Jewish market (called the sukk or something). On Fridays at 2 pm, it is a madhouse! (We learned by experience. :) This street was the Jewish equivalent of Macey's at 11 pm on a Saturday night - except much much much more intense and exciting. It was such a fun experience to be in the middle of that - merchants calling and shouting, people shoving and pushing, money exchanging hands, purchases stuffed in bags, everyone trying to finish their last-minute shopping before the sabbath starts at sundown. Definitely a fun experience. Mostly, that is. See the next picture for further explanations.

Heather spotted a fish in one of these flats that was still alive and moving!! Somehow ... we ended up with the fish thrown at us. For the full story (excellently chronicled by Heather), read more here.

Fun little shops

Heath, Adam, and Kim

Kim, Mom, and Heather outside Ein Kerem, the place where John the Baptist was born
(learn more)

Friday, January 09, 2009

the holy land

Photo courtesy of Suzy Wilson
The hills of Jerusalem. (Notice the Dome of the Rock.)

Photo courtesy of Suzy Wilson

I already know it's going to be hard to leave this place.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009


The other students are finally here! Let the games begin.

Actually, to be completely realistic, that means let the boring orientation meetings and homework assignments begin. But I'm in the Holy Land and I love it, so I'll sit through meetings and I'll gladly do my Old Testament readings! Hooray!

When we went and picked up the students at the airport today, Kim and Suzie Skinner and I felt ... not exactly like students - we didn't have the bleary eyes or the rumpled, day-old clothes - but not exactly like faculty either - we had no clue what was going on and just ended up saying, "BYU" and pointing toward the buses with a smile. No worries, though, I think we'll fit in just fine soon enough.

Tonight we ate in the Oasis, the fancy name for the cafeteria here in the Jerusalem Center. They had some interesting food. I said "beef and fish" clearly to the guy serving the meat and then I ended up with beef and weinerschnitzel or something on my plate. Uh, okay. I was trying to be exotic and go with the fish, but weinerschnitzel...? (I don't even know if that's how you spell it.) Not exactly my idea of exotic...more revolting than exotic. Anyway, a guy at my table, Stephen, told me it actually tasted pretty good. How can anything with a name like that taste good? Eying the "pretty good" excitement on my plate, the suspicious patty brought visions of a regurgitated sausage combined with other unknown, Middle Eastern meats into my mind.

What the heck. Finally I stuffed a bite in and --

-- it tasted like chicken?

Not only did it taste like chicken, it was chicken. What the? I thought weinerschnitzel was ... well, not chicken. But that stuff was. And, Stephen was right. It was pretty good. I suppose I should have more faith in Israeli delicacies. Or at least give them a fighting chance.


This semester is going to be very __________ for me
This will be a ___________ semester.

(Please fill in the blank by leaving a comment. I'm very curious to see your answers/suggestions/predictions!)

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

our galilee trip

here are a few pictures from our galilee trip.

the mediterranean sea as seen from ceasarea

collecting shells :)

the massive aquaducts herod built

dad's too cute with the grandkids

flowers in the galilee area

we went on a boat ride on the sea of galilee!
the guys

the girls
(much better looking if I do say so myself)

taken from the mount of transfiguration/mt. tabor
if you have the new scriptures, check out Photo 21 "Jezreel Valley" in the picture section in the back. (or just click here)
look familiar?!?

sunset over the beautiful galilee

Sunday, January 04, 2009


I was just bumping along, minding my business (maybe that was part of the problem), and suddenly the Lord gave me a kick in the pants and said, "Suz, get your act together."


O wretched man that I am! Yea my heart sorroweth because of my flesh; my soul grieveth because of mine iniquites

I am encompassed about, because of the temptations and the sins which do so easily beset me.

And when I desire to rejoice, my heart groaneth because of my sins...

Why should my heart weep and my soul linger in the valley of sorrow ... and my strength slacken, because of my afflictions?



O Lord, wilt thou redeem my soul?

Wilt thou make me that I may shake at the very apperance of sin?

O Lord, wilt thou encircle me in the robe of thy righteousness!

I will trust in thee forever.

I will lift up my voice unto thee;

yea, I will cry unto thee, my God, the rock of my righteousness.

Behold, my voice shall forever ascend up unto thee, my rock and mine everlasting God.


2 Nephi 4

a little eyeliner can go a long way

I don't know if I've ever seen a more authentic-looking wisewoman.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

a sorry waste of time

Let's just say, don't ever waste 160 precious minutes of your life watching this. Not worth it.