Friday, December 18, 2009

One Week Before Christmas :)

Hello! Jon Here...

So there is one more week till Kasey and mine? Mines? My? I? Anyway, one more week till OUR first christmas together :) I've finished my 2nd week of break and it's been going well. I have organized A LOT of photos and hope to be done by the middle of next week. Then I will start on other things. I've also been watching a lot of Star Gate SG-1... very fun TV show.

Kasey has had the last 2 days off and is enjoying them to the fullest :P We both stayed up till about 3 am both nights! As a result Kasey slept for about 13 hours today :P Well earned rest though. Yesterday we had a web cam date with Jamie :D Really fun talking to her and seeing her. She stayed up till about 2:30 am in order to talk to us so I guess we owe her something, but then again seeing our faces was probably good enough :P

Now that Polly is ring worm free we have now opened our bedroom door for her to wander in and out. Although she usually stays in. Last night she slept near Kasey's head, but sprawled out on my pillow. I woke up and I was literally on the edge of the bed and my pillow and Polly was stretched out on it. So I showed her who was boss and pushed her over and used her as a pillow.

Kasey has to go back to work for one day tomorrow where the students will just be taking exams. And then she goes back for Monday and Tuesday for exams and THEN she gets 2.5 weeks off. Right now we are watching the movie Elf. We have decided that Elf will be a "classic" christmas movie later in life.

As you have probably guessed I have run out of things to say to you so I am just blabbing on now...

Thank you for your prayers and please continue for God's provision and our relationship to Him to grow.

Saturday, December 5, 2009


Jon Here...

Wow... do we suck at this blogging stuff or what?! I guess a lot of stuff has happened since we last posted. Polly died (the ring worm took all her fur off, and then her skin started falling off... very sad and disturbing, but we dealt with it). All the volunteers except Kasey and like two others were kicked out of the country. And part of the wall that we live near was bombed and there have been HUGE fights and guns and the army and I'm just kidding. None of that stuff is real... tee hee.

Life has been pretty good here :) Kasey and I finally got settled (after a good 1.5-2 months), our new apartment is very nice and safe. We are actually going to get to go to IKEA when Kasey's break starts! So we will get more stuff and make it more "our style". The people that live in here after us are going to be very happy with the way it looks and all the stuff they are going to have :) But don't worry, we don't plan on giving all our stuff away for free :P

Polly loves Kasey and uses me for my heat. She is a little heater herself so it's nice to have her lay on you. She has gotten very accustom to putting herself inside our hoody's and fall asleep there while we do work or watch TV. It's very cute.

Since my last and final Field Study I haven't been able to post any pictures on facebook because the connection has been SO slow since I got back from Jordan. If you look on a map of Israel and look to the east side of the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea and go to the right of the Sea of Galilee and move your finger all the way down to Petra, then that's how much we saw (or traveled). It was a fun field trip, but if I had a choice to do it again I would not. It was a lot of money and out of about 11-12 sites only 3 of them were specifically related to the bible. So it was kind of shock to do all that stuff and have it not related to biblical history in a deep way. But it was really fun regardless and Petra is fantastic.

Since my last field study I have pretty much been studying for final exams. AND I actually just finished my last one yesterday! It was for Archaeology and it was worth 100% of my grade. SO every single student was extremely nervous about it, especially after hearing horror stories about the final. However, me and this other guy actually asked the teacher for a study guide and he said yes and gave us the essay questions for the first time in JUC history. So I'm pretty proud about that fact :P

Now that I have completed the first semester I now have two months off! So I bought my textbooks for next semester and am going to summarize a chapter a day out of my books in preparation for next semester. I am going to be redoing a bunch of my maps and organizing all my pictures I took (that will be a long but fulfilling process). And of course I will take up my role as "house wife" :P Because Kasey only gets about 2-3 weeks off during my two months. So she will be well taken care of during this time. And Polly and I will get to know each other much better.

Next semester will not be nearly as busy as it was this first one. Apparently the first semester of this degree is the hardest because they are trying to weed you out. So I will have weekends off next semester and will only go on 1 field trip at the most I believe.

This December Kasey and I have decided to stay home for the break as Kasey only has 2 weeks off. So instead of going to Egypt this month we want to go during the summer when it will be hot and we can spend our time swimming and eating :) We might do something with one of my friends from JUC and his wife. Don't know when, but we probably will during the christmas break sometime.

Food update! Kasey and I have started to make fresh Guacamole, and it SO good :) we are quite proud of ourselves :) And we found that "just add water" cake mix for only 10 shekels ($2.50 USD) so we have a good collection of cake mix in our cupboards to help our sweet tooth. AND we haven't had Macaroni for about 2 weeks now, which is kind of strange and I think it needs to be fixed soon.

Tonight our friends from Kasey's work have invited everyone over after church to make christmas decorations, have treats, and watch A Christmas Story and National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation! :D I have seen A Christmas Story way too many times so I'm not too excited about that one. But Christmas Vacation is good every time :) I actually "borrowed" Christmas Vacation and The Polar Express from JUC for my break... I guess I totally forgot that it was a two month break... oops :P

Kasey is doing Extremely well in her job :) All of her students say that she is one of their favorite teachers at that school. AND just to brag about my wife a bit, the students have not made another newspaper featuring "Teacher of the Month" since they did one about Kasey. At least I haven't heard about it or seen it. Soooo, my wife is awesome.

Thank you all for your prayers! Please continue, after we are done in Israel then you can stop :P Just kidding. Merry Christmas! We will post more on a regular basis now that things have settled down a bit :)

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Quick update

(Kasey here)

Recovering nicely from the bronchitis. Headed to the doctor in the morning for a follow-up.

In other news, I have 7 new mosquito bites from last night: 2 on my left thumb, 2 in my left elbow, 2 on my right... tricep? The back part of my upper arm.

It sucks.

But at least my bronchitis is going away?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Kasey's got the bronchitis.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Sunday night

Hello all,

Jon here...

Kasey is sleeping right now (sleeping away the sickness). So I thought I would make a post.

Kasey's "ring worm" is dying down. We got some medication to put on them (only 3) and they are healing up fast. So thank God, but continue to pray. Polly seems to be getting more which is gross cause her hair is falling off in circular patterns where the "ring worms" are.

For those of you who don't know what Ring Worm is; it's not a "stomach worm" as I thought it was when Kasey first told me. It is a fungal infection, it has nothing to do with worms :P Pretty much Kasey just has to put this cream on them (they look like a bug bite, but with a distinct ring around them...very weird) and this cream pretty much just suffocates the spot and kills it. It seems to be working :)

My field trip went very well last week. I have posted several pictures on facebook which give you an idea of where I went and etc...but we stopped at Beth-Shemesh (near the spot of Samson's birth, then we went to the coast, then Lachish, then Beth-Sheba, then Arad, then En Gedi (where we swam in the Dead Sea) the to Qumran (where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found). This took 3 days. We stayed in two different hotel like hostels (very nice and they gave us breakfast). It was fun because we got to know each other as a group. The majority of us master students all live off campus so we don't really get to know the people in the school except for field study days.

Our next trip is this Saturday-Tuesday (October 24-27) and we are going up to Galilee. Traveling in Israel is not as long as one would think. The whole country is about the size of New to get from the Mediterranean Sea to the Dead sea it would take about 1.5 hours...maybe less depending on traffic. So when we go on these field studies we literally travel all over Israel. I don't know the specific spots we will be going on for this next trip, but I'm sure it will be fun.

The trips we make are so full of's ridiculous. My favorite parts of the trips are going to the location of a biblical spot and reading the story of what happened there. There is however a lot of other information about different excavated sites of really old cities, what it's history was, who built it, who excavated it, etc...these are nice, but to be perfectly honest they are cool at first but after seeing a bunch of them they all start looking the same "oh, a brick wall, oh a house, oh a pathway, etc, etc, etc...once you've seen one excavated site you have seen them all in my opinion. As you can guess I would not do well as an archaeologist :P

I only have 4 more weeks of this semester and then I'm on break. The semesters only run for 3 months...but o my gosh these months are jammed packed with stuff...sheesh. God willing I will make it past the first semester of studying, then I have 2 months off! What am I going to do in those months?! I figured I would study my books and prepare for the next semester AND possibly ask Kasey's school if there is a part time job I could take for those 2 months (fixing stuff or whatever), just something to keep me busy and make some money while Kasey is teaching.

Today I made a video of our apartment so those of you who have facebook will be able to see our new apartment and us as well :)

It's about 5pm right now and I'm getting hungry. I think I will make us Rice and chicken...or maybe Macaroni and hotdogs. I don't know which one sounds more appealing right now. But we have been downloading the 6th episode of the Office and coughAmericascoughnexttopcoughmodelcough which we will probably watch after I make dinner.

You are all waking up right now, or are already starting your Sunday. Have a good day, and please continue to pray for us :)


Saturday, October 17, 2009


(Kasey here)

The past couple of days have been AWFUL. Thursday night Jon came home from class early because I emailed him about the ringworm, and then we watched a movie and had something to eat. We didn't wind up getting to bed until after one, and we woke up the next day at about 5:30 to take showers.

We went to JUC and on the walk, my chest started seizing up and I wasn't able to take anything more than a couple of shallow breaths a minute. We sat down a while until my chest relaxed, and then we went slowly the rest of the way. After Jon went to class, it took almost a full 2 1/2 hours for my breathing to become normal again. I spent a bunch of the time with my arm resting on a styrofoam cup filled with ice -- I have a HUGE spider bite on the same arm where I have the ringworm; ice was the only thing keeping me from going insane. Because of our lack of sleep I was completely exhausted. I had an ugly headache and my eyes hurt from how much I'd cried the night before. When Jon was done with class he had planned to take me to the Wailing Wall, but it was SO hot and I already wasn't feeling well, so we wandered through the 'upper room' that symbolizes where the Last Supper was held, went past David's tomb, and then went home.
We got home a little after noon and called Mrs. Eula (an older volunteer lady who works at the school and who is our designated driver) and asked if she could take us to the pharmacy. She was just getting out of the shower and needed to do her hair, so we had to wait about an hour and a half. Jon got on the computer to check facebook and talk to his dad, and I fell asleep sitting on the couch next to him.

Mrs. Eula brought us to the pharmacy, and the women working there gave me a cream to apply to the ringworm and an antibacterial soap that's good for skin infections. When we got home I applied it, and Jon gave Polly a bath with the soap. Poor kitten was all traumatized again. I kept her wrapped in a towel on my lap, head covered and all, while Jon made dinner -- chicken and mashed potatoes. om nom nom.

We watched Zombieland and ate until we were WAY too full. We'd been invited to a movie night at the Robert's (volunteer) place with him and Julie (english teacher) and Jeff (her husband) and a few other people (all volunteers), so we headed over... Julie and Jeff brought us a full Shabbat dinner -- shepherd's pie, potato salad, hulas bread and grape juice for a communion, and butter cookies and m&m cookies. Jon and I were kind of disappointed that we didn't know there was going to be food. Why feed yourself when you're going to be fed for free?!

We all ate and hung out and it was nice to just be relaxing with everyone. Most people left before the movie started. We let Jeff and Julie pick, because they were the only ones who hadn't seen our collection before. Julie saw Bewitched in our folder and said was "So raunchy!" which... isn't true whatsoever. But she picked Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure, so that was acceptable.

I was coughing a lot during the movie. About a half hour from the end, all of a sudden the muscles in my chest and back, around my lungs, seized and I couldn't breathe at all. Every attempt was extremely painful. I asked Jon to rub my back and showed him where. After he'd been massaging the muscles for a couple of minutes, they relaxed, but my chest was still tight. I was glad that the movie was over -- we packed up, thanked Julie and Jeff for the food, and Robert for having us over, and left right away.

We were in bed by 10. Jon rubbed my back until I fell to sleep and then made sure I laid flat on my back most of the night. We figured that the combination of the ringworm and all the insect bites, my immune system had been weakened and I'd gotten a cold, so my body was just a big disaster and that's why I felt so awful.

Today I was supposed to go into school to supervise the PSAT, but I felt SO gross when I woke up that Jon called Shane and asked if I could stay home. I felt sick to my stomach and dizzy and had a headache. I kept alternating between being way too hot and shivering I was so cold. Jon said I felt the same as last night, when my skin had been burning up.

I feel a lot better now that I've gotten some sleep, but I still feel under the weather. A little while ago I lost my voice and I sound exactly like that guy on 30 Rock who's speaking to Jack Donaghy and says, "You have to leave GE."
"Visiting hours--were over--some time ago. You have to leave GE. Geriatric Extended Care."
"... what's wrong with your voice?"
"I was struck by lightning--as a child. They made a movie--about me. You have to leave GE."

Ugh. The older ringworms seem to be clearing up. The one on my hand seems to be drying out, which is how Marian said they have to go. And my spider bite isn't swollen anymore. By tomorrow I hope to be okay, and definitely completely fine by Monday. But I REALLY hope that breathing issue is gone forever. I don't know how asthma feels, but I'd guess it's something like that.

Tonight is church and there's going to be pizza afterward. Kind of sucks that I won't be up to eating much because I was REALLY looking forward to chowing down on pizza. At least at this point is looks like I'll be able to make it there.

Prayer requests:

  • My health -- that I'd feel all better soon and that the ringworm would go away with a reappearance.
  • Polly's ringworm -- it's a big deal for us to be able to get someone to drive us to the store, let alone the pet clinic on the other side of the Old City. Hopefully this soap we're bathing her in works. She had another bath today.
  • Jon's health -- hopefully he doesn't get any infection or anything from all of this.

Thursday, October 15, 2009


My neighbor, Marian, who has been in the mission field for a long time, says the weird bug bites on my left arm/hand are ringworm.

REALLY want to swear right now.

Boy won't Jon think that's awesome when he gets back from class late tonight :P

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Between JUC night classes and "volunteer church" which we are "required" to attend, we hardly get to see each other. This weekend is the last weekend Jon has off before all his field studies, which means we will somehow see each other LESS.


Also, Kasey accidentally stepped on Polly's paw coming in the door and now Polly is offended and pretending to be injured when she's perfectly fine.
Stupid can-see-in-the-dark cat.

Monday, October 12, 2009

the interwebs, we have them!


450 NIS ($115) for the duration of our stay.

THAT is a miracle.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

A Kasey update

(Kasey here)

School is going pretty well this week. I've had the 9th graders twice every day 3 days this week. They're awesome and I love them, but they require more constant supervision to be kept under control, and that wears you out fast. And the other day, I didn't have just half of them. I had them ALL. OMG.

Besides being tired at the end of the day, I'm keeping on top of my subjects and my classes are going well. I seem to be well-liked (as much as you can like a teacher). Next week I'm being featured in the first edition of the school paper. Guess why. They think I look like Angelina Jolie. ALL of them. So much so that when Kristen (my office mate, and their teacher) kindly tried to steer them toward something more interesting/relevant, they insisted on me. I tell you, it's my claim to fame here. Also, that I can bend my thumbs backwards. That put me a step up in the guys' books.

Polly is doing well. They other night she fell in the toilet and was just a general disaster, so Jon gave her a bath. For as fascinated as she is by water, baths are now in her book Not Okay. I was in the other room, but from the sounds of panic and the desperation with which she fought back, I'm pretty sure that she was honestly afraid for her life. When the Bath of Hell was over, Jon came out carrying a towel. He handed me the towel, and turns out it was a cat burrito.

The cat in the burrito had the biggest eyes I've ever seen and her ears were laid flat back on her head. She kept reaching out of the twoel with one paw to hold onto my shoulder sans claws.

I finally sat down on the floor with her and let her out of the towel... but she tried to climb back in. She was shaking really badly. I tried sitting her on the couch by herself, but she walked in quaky circles with her back curled like she was about to spit, and then she fell off the edge and came back to huddle in my lap. She wouldn't sit still unless she was curled up in the teeniest ball possible in my lap and I covered her with my hands. VERY traumatic evening that, by the next morning, she seemed to have forgotten. She acts a lot more like a cat, though (cleaning herself, minding her litter, mostly ignoring people food). I think we might have driven her back to her catty roots.

Jon's on a field study this weekend. He left this morning at 5:30 and won't be home till late Monday, so it's just me and Polly. He did, however, rent me Fiddler on the Roof before he left :D I've been dying to watch it since I got here.

I coached basketball this afternoon since I had nothing else to do. I know nothing about basketball, nor do I really want to, but it went pretty well. I'm about to head home (and drag a buttload of grading with me). I have a couple hours until I have to be back for volunteer!church.

Oh yeah, and they asked me if I'd like to sing sometimes for church.

AND we might have been given an internet miracle.

So my life is going bizarrely well on this side of the world.

Prayer requests

  • Please pray for Jon's safety and his peace of mind. He misses me a lot when he's gone, and even though this is an awesome experience, he'll have a hard time with it.
  • My safety. I'm on my own for a full 3 days.
  • Miracles! We did our budget last week and it was extremely discouraging.


  • The internet miracle, which we will tell you about if it works out.
  • Our apartment was finally finished and we are moved in except for a few things (we have yet to be able to make an IKEA run)
  • Yey school! No huge disasters yet, which is promising :)
  • We're healthy. Unless you count my left forearm which has 8 bug bites on it. From at least 4 different kinds of unseen critters. I am itchy.


Monday, October 5, 2009

Jon Here…

Hello all. This week was pretty awesome. Kasey and I went to Tel Aviv on Sunday with a group of friends and went to the beach. Extremely nice beach! The water was very warm; you could just walk in and be instantly used to the temperature. After we swam around a bit we headed out further to go onto some rocks where we chilled, looked out to sea, guessed where Greece was (I’m pretty sure we found it…but you cannot see it). I found a place to jump off so Kasey and I did dives off of our spot. It was fun. We swam back and by then it was getting around lunch and our bodies desired food, specifically burgers because we walked by a burger joint on our way down to the beach.

Kasey and I, and a couple more people, came with us. We took orders for others as well so that they could sit and watch our stuff. Kasey and I went to this Jewish fast food place (the symbol was a bull…whatever that means). It took a while for them to understand us and for us to understand them and then to get our food. BUT once we did, it tasted glorious. I have to admit (even in the states) my favorite meal to eat on the beach is a burger, fries and coke. Something about life just seems more simple and alive when you have this combination :P I guess for me it’s cow and water…

After lunch we had a couple more hours to chill on the Med. It was a Jewish holiday and they literally shut everything down, even the beach! So we swam a bit more, went to the rocks again, jumped off and then took off. It was a VERY good Sunday and I plan on doing it again when we can. To be honest it probably won’t happen till after Christmas, because I don’t have that many weekends off anymore.

Monday I had off, so I dropped Kasey off at work and then me and Keith (maintenance guy) fixed up our new apartment. When he was doing something else I was cleaning a bit of the place. But after Kasey got home we chillaxed because it was my day off.

Tuesday we officially moved into our new apartment. It was still really dusty, even after sweeping and cleaning it. We moved all our stuff over there that night and pretty much just crashed. However! I have a story about our first meal in the apartment!

We really wanted Hot dogs! So I got a big bag full of hotdogs out of the freezer and started opening the top. This bag was full of hot dogs and air as well, so when I started opening it up the bottom burst open and all the hotdogs went all over the floor. Kasey started laughing, but when we looked down Polly was running all over the floor trying to get one! I picked them all up but she was already all over this one hotdog and was not acting normal over this thing. It was like cat nip times 10. She was chowing down on this hotdog to the extreme so we left it for her. We washed off the hotdogs, cooked some and had a really good meal.

The aftermath of Polly was that the next day her butt was exploding. Mass cat pooping. She had such a terrible time the next day when we were away that she started eating her cat food on a regular basis. The hotdog changed her into a somewhat normal kitten. So we were happy about that. The bad part was that she tracked poop all over our sheets and they had to be washed.

Wednesday and Thursday we continued to unpack and cleaning up. But on Friday Kasey and I went to JUC together (Kasey watched a movie…the one with the girl from Transformers and she is the devil…I know, I Know…you can judge away :P). But we went to the New City, went to a coffee place called “The Coffee Bean”. This was SUCH a good place! They had about 10 differnet fraps from you to choose from and even more coffee. It was glorious. We then got some cat litter (stuff that didn’t smell). Walked around, found a place to sit and made our budget for every month…this was not good, haha. After that we had lunch together at this really nice place, with the most amazing, biggest tuna salad we have ever had. AND it was only $8. So we were happy about that. All the pics of Friday can be sene on Facebook. Then we went home and watched LOTR’s (we are doing a marathon very slowly).

Saturday Kasey went to work, and I did homework at my new desk at our new apartment. I got a lot done. We went to church that evening and after church a nice couple holds a time of fellowship for everyone which includes food! They are always fun, and the food is even better :P I actually had my first boiled egg at this thing…it wasn’t too bad. Except that it was only a half a boiled egg with no yoke in it. They used the yoke to make a mix and then they put it on half the egg. I only had one, and went for seconds but they were all eaten. Sad day. O well.

Sunday was our IKEA day! And we both volunteered for a soccer/basketball game near Tel Aviv. We did this because on the e-mail that was sent out to Kasey the school said that they would go to IKEA and a big mall for everyone to do some shopping and eating! So it was a free ride and we asked around and the head people said they had no problem if Kasey and I took off to IKEA to get our stuff for our new apartment. But when we got there, we had no ride because anyone who could drive a standard was not “insured” with the school and those that were “insured” did not know how to drive a standard or they were the coaches and couldn’t get away, the IKEA was like an hour or more walk away.

So Kasey and I were stuck watching high school kids all day. At the end of the day we tried going to a mall, but they went to a different mall that was WAY away from IKEA (a different one that they said) and it was an expensive outlet store that only had a burger King and chip store. We did however drive by IKEA and waved at it. So our Sunday was, in our eyes, a complete waste of day of our day off together (we do not get another one for a couple weeks). We may go to IKEA on Tuesday to get the stuff we needed. We left home around 8am, and got back around 7:30pm. We had Macaroni and Chicken and watch 30 Rock to end our day.

All of you might be seeing stuff on the news about riots and stuff taking place here. Dr. Wright told us today that this weekend and this week are kind of celebration of Israel/independence or something around those lines (I was getting ready when he said this…sorry, hahaha), so this causes A LOT of groups and A LOT of Soldiers and police and still A LOT of Tourists. With big groups come riots…just a fact here. Dr. Wright said that Israel hasn’t had some excitement for some time now, and was smiling when he said it. Honestly I did not know what was going on in the news until I was told because Kasey and I are not around it at all. Dr. Wright also said that the safest thing to do is that if you see a crowd to just not go into it or near it. We are perfectly safe. It will hopefully die out soon. But again, big groups of both cultures bring riots and the news. We are fine.

Prayer Requests:

-Our budget is EXTREMELY low, please pray that we use our money wisely and that God continues to provide. And that we will grow in faith through being here

-Coninuous prayer for our protection in all things

-Kasey the teacher

-Jon the student. He has a 3 day field trip this weekend.


-We LOVE our new apartment

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


Jon here...

Hello again! This is kind of early for an update but it needs to be said.

Last night I got home from school and had to take a shower. I went into the bathroom and Polly just jumps right into the shower. So I turned on the water and Polly just played with the water and drank some and just stood there enjoying it. I was like "ok Polly, I'm getting in and taking a shower now" so I got in and started getting all soaked up while water was splashing everywhere. Polly just played with the water and kept jumping on top of the tub and back in. She eventually got out of the tub but just sat on the toilet waiting for me to finish. I'll tell ya, it's kinda of strange taking a shower and then looking behind you to see your cat staring at you and your naked body. BUTT (ha...ha...ha) it was funny. Our cat loves the water. Lets hope she continues to love it as she gets older. Then Kasey and I watched the movie Superbad and Polly just sat on the couch on her blanket and watched to! She literally didn't take her eyes off the movie and when someone walked in front of her she would just look at them and then look back at the TV. It was So funny.

Another thing happened this morning. The house didn't really smell good cause of the cat food, so I started to spray some Fa-breeze around the house. I get to the living room and spray up high, when the entire lid pops off and the bottle full of liquid Fa-breeze falls onto the couch and then onto the floor. It starts pouring out on the couch and the floor! About 1/3 of the bottle emptied out. I quickly got a towel and soaked up as much as I could. It started to reek, so I told Kasey what happened and said "I'm sorry if you get sick and/or get a head ache today :p". That was my morning....

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Last two weeks...

Jon Here…

Hello everybody, very sorry for the late post. It’s been a pretty busy two weeks for Kasey and I.

Where do I start…Last week I had two field studies on Saturday and Sunday. We went to Herodian (Herod the Greats Fortress/tomb), Bethlehem, Tel-Aviv, Shiloh (Where the tabernacle was), Geba (Saul’s army against the Philistines) and Michmash (where the Philistine camp was and where Jonathan and his armor bearer slaughtered them). They were very very exciting, but by the time you get home after one of these your mind and body are exhausted. Body because in order to see a good view of the land we usually end up walking up a mountain/large hill and all over the place, and it’s about 80-110 degrees when we do it…so you are extremely sweaty. Mind because after the hikes or even during the teacher is talking non stop where you have to process everything and take down notes. So it drains you very fast, but it’s SO FUN! During the day you don’t really feel it cause you are in the zone, but as soon as you get home you pretty much crash (Kasey can vouch for me :P). OH! And usually after our Physical Settings field studies you have a paper or two that you have to write about the day and your thoughts, AND a test on the next day. So yes, very fun, and they are trying to “weed” us out to see who can and who can’t…let’s hope I can :P But trust me, it’s SO fun and I love every second of it…except Hebrew.

Friday Kasey came with me to JUC and chilled on campus doing whatever for 3 hours while I was in class (I don’t know which one was more boring :P). But after my class was done we went to a coffee place in the new city called “Aroma”. I got a typical frap, and Kasey got a HOT drink that she loved very much. We walked through a new outdoor mall, and into a cool part of the city were there is a big open area for people to sit/walk/eat/etc…very fun place. We were looking for a pet store because we wanted to get a cat. MOST pet stores (all the ones we went to) only have fish and birds for household pets. If you want a dog or cat you have to get them off the street or at a shelter. So we found some flyers and found a really good shelter where we could have our pick of kittens (2-3 months old) and only have to pay for neutering and shots (which have been done already). OH MAN! I just realized that we were going to get McDonalds while we were there, but we didn’t cause we had to book it to the shelter…dangit. Another day, another day…and next time we will take pictures so that you can see where the cool area is.

The whole process of getting a kitten took from about 1pm-7pm (getting home, waiting for the truck, and then find the place, picking out a cat, signing the papers and going home). When we got home with “Polly” Kasey realized that it was infested with flees…it was gross, and it’s making me itch right now. Anyway, we isolated Polly in the Spider bathroom…

Side note:

Kasey has gone into that bathroom a view times and has never seen the brown spider. I have been the only one to see it. So when we put the kitty in there we figured it was dead or it disappeared to somewhere else.

…and went straight to a pet store down the road to get some “Frontline” flea stuff. Kasey was very brave, yes MUCH braver than me, and took care of the cat and put the medicine on the cat and looked for fleas and grossness.

While Kasey was doing that I shut the door to the bathroom so that the cat couldn’t jump out. As soon as I shut the door the BROWN SPIDER darts out and starts running toward me at a tremendous spider speed! I as usual start freaking out and hit the lights to the hallway (they were off) but accidently turned the lights off in the bathroom where Kasey was holding the cat with fleas everywhere. She goes “JON! LIGHTS! I CAN’T SEE!!” I go, while jumping and backing up trying to find the stupid light switch to the bathroom and the hallway say “SPIDER!! THE BROWN SPIDER IS COMING TOWARD ME! I TOLD YOU IT WAS STILL HERE!” So I turn on all the lights, run back into the living room, grab my flip-flop and throw it on top of the demon spider. I don’t trust anything right now so I grab my other flip-flop and hit the other one repeatedly, scared that it got away with it’s lightning speed right before I tried to crush it. I had to start acting like a man so I stopped what I was doing and lifted up the shoe to find that nothing was there! IT got away and was above me ready to bite me!....I’m just kidding, I killed it. It is dead and there is not a soul who saw any of this…not cool.

We had to keep the cat in there from Friday night to about Saturday night (24 hours). On Saturday after church, Kasey went into the spider bathroom and checked for the remaining flees…she only found two! So we were happy and decided to take them off of Polly in the tub. We filled the bath up to a couple of inches thinking that this was going to be a bad experience with the Kitten, BUT to our amazement Polly just jumped in on her own and started walking around and licking the water! We were so happy that we had a cat that enjoys the water. We cleaned her off with shampoo and found out that there were way more fleas than just two left on her…maybe 10 or more. The worst part was when one jumped on Kasey’s thumb and she goes “AAHHH!!” and starts tossing her hand around trying to get it off…right in front of my body/face. So now that the flea is not on her hand and she is ok I am freaking out that it is on my body. I checked and I didn’t find anything. This bathing took about 1 hour to do. After we cleaned everything in the bathroom, and dry off Polly, she runs from the living room and back into the tub where she demands more water to play with. We gave it to her.

We made some Mac’n cheese because we didn’t really eat anything this whole time. Here we find out that Mac’n cheese is like cat nip for Polly…she goes right up to your bowl and will crawl all over your body just to get a hit of the cheese. We were also happy about this, now all that’s left is pizza (she didn’t eat chocolate ice cream or chocolate icing, which was kind of disappointing, but whatever).

Sunday I went all around Benjamin, from Jericho to Gezer (all the way east and west) learning about the land and the importance of it. I just got done writing the test about yesterdays field study. This week for me is really busy. I have a midterm paper to write and a field study on Friday. BUT Kasey and I are hoping to go to the beach in Tel-Aviv on Sunday and swim in the Mediterranean, which will be a fun day if we can manage it.

Prayer Requests:

-Jon has a very busy week this week with school

-Continue praying for Kasey as she teaches and for her students that they will be a blessing to her

-Continue to pray that God provides for us

-Pray for Polly, our new Kitty

Praise Items:

-We are moving into our new apartment on Thursday and will finally get to unpack everything and make it our own!

-We have a pretty awesome kitty

Friday, September 4, 2009

Jon's week

Jon here…

I have just finished my first week of school and so far I love it, except for Hebrew…I’m going to need prayer on that one. The worst part is that it’s a requirement for every semester. I’m taking Physical Settings of the bible (we go out on the field almost every weekend). In October we will start going on long trips (4-5 days). My second class is History of Ancient Israel. This one is very interesting, we are starting our study before the time of Abraham (around the time of the Sumerians). My third course is Archaeology, which I just finished today. It’s a 3 hour, once every week course. There are no tests or papers for the whole semester, until the final which is 100% of our mark. I KNOW! Crazy. My fourth, and least favorite, class is Hebrew…lots of memorization.

A typical day for me is, I get up in the morning, walk Kasey to her work, take a bus from Beit Haninah all the way to the bus station which is about a 2 min walk from Damascus Gate that let’s you into the Old City. I then walk through part of the Old City (mainly the Arab territory) and make my way to Jaffa Gate which comes out on the West side of the Old City which then takes you to the New City if you choose to go that way. Then I walk on the outside of the Old City to JUC campus.

The campus is completely made out of stone, and is ridiculously small, they have 2 classrooms where all the classes take place. There are about 100 people on campus this year, probably less. The classes are very spread out so I have lots of time (about 5-8 hours a day) to do my homework. I am studying hard. I get there at around 8:30am and if I am not in class I am in the Library doing my reading homework until around 4pm where I then make my way home. Monday and Thursday I have a night class so I don’t get home till about 10:30pm. I’m doing everything I can to learn and do well.

Last Sunday we had our first field outing, and went on a tour around the Old City. This Sunday we are going all around Jerusalem for 10 hours. We are going to be very sweaty.

The days that I have my night class I catch a ride with my professor where he drops me off on the street we have to go down in order to get home. From there I walk/take a bus to get home (around 10pm)., it’s about a 45-minute walk if I don’t catch a bus.

Last night after my night class we go to his car and make our way up this driveway were we stop, because it’s blocked by a truck and the owners weren’t there. There was also a festival going on in the city because of Ramadan so the street was full of cars. This one truck blocked us and about 3 other Arabs in their cars. So we get out and start talking to one of the men that is trapped and can’t move because of this truck. I suggest getting a bunch of guys from the school and picking up the truck (about a medium sized truck) and moving it over to the side. (I didn’t notice at the time but someone had kicked the door of the truck because it was blocking them leaving a very big dent). The professor and Arab man talk a little bit more and then he turns to me (my Jewish professor) and say “ya, lets give it a shot…we’ll move it and then most likely the guys will come back, get angry and we’ll have to fight them off and then we can all go our separate ways” (he was totally serious, which I thought was hilarious).

So I went to go get some guys, but when I found one of the second year students and asked him to come help me find some guys so we can pick up a truck and move it over to the ditch, the president of JUC was in a room next to him. So I was like “oh, no…it just figures that this would happen to me”. So the president comes out and says what’s going on? So I tell him what was happening and he says “well lets go take a look and see what we can do”. We walk and chat all the way up the driveway and when he get there and sees the chaos that is taking place, we notice the owners of the truck are back and arguing with all the guys there. So what does the president do? He walks right up to them and joins all the other people telling them off “you know you can’t park here, we’ve called the cops, etc, etc..” I was laughing. It was awesome to see my professor and President doing this. Everything was worked out and we drove away so that he could drop me off on my street. I’m really hoping that a bus comes or else I have to walk a long way.

I’m not going to lie it’s kind of creepy at first cause I’m literally the only white guy walking on this street. And I stand out like a sore thumb. While I was walking down the street last night, I noticed a group of soldiers (not Israeli) blowing a trumpet and having fun and drinking (don’t know if it was alcohol or apple juice…could be both, who knows) holding very big guns. After I saw them I was like “hmmm…a single white American walking down the road with a backpack on looking like a tourist (I didn’t have my camera though) at 10pm…I wonder what’s going to happen when they see me”. Nothing happened, plus I didn’t make eye contact. It seemed like they were just enjoying themselves. I eventually caught a bus going down the street and made it home nice and safe around 10:45pm.

On another note, about 2 weeks ago, I had to go to the bathroom. Sorry for the explanation, but while I was “sitting” there I saw a brown looking, small spider in the bottom corner of the bathroom.

Side note: when Kasey and I got picked up by Shane at the airport he told us a story. He said that if we ever saw a brown spider, leave in the heck alone because they are very poisonous. His brother was here one time and got bit by one and his entire forearm swelled up. And Shane is a big guy. (Kasey: he’s talking about a brown recluse, which can easily kill you if it bites you)

So while I was looking at this spider all I heard in my head was “leave it alone… it’s small and brown.” So naturally I blew on it to see if it was alive; it twitched. After I was done “sitting” I got on top of the toilet seat, grabbed the closest thing next to me (which was a squeegee thing) and proceeded to move it closer to the brown spider which I was specifically told not to bother. Before I even touched it, the spider jumped/vanished literally in the blink of an eye. I had no idea where it went. I, like a normal 6’4”, 235 lb guy, continued to cower on top of the toilet seat trying to keep it cool while I searched top and bottom for this small brown spider. After a while of searching the room and my own body I spotted a dark spot deep in the spiders next. I decided that was the missing spider. So I got out of the bathroom, shut the door… aaaaand that’s that… no more spider near me.

(Kasey: it’s important to note that to this day, all of us avoid that bathroom, A) because the scary spider is somewhere in there, and B) it smells funny.)

Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Money Situation

(Kasey here)

The money situation here is, to say the least, stupid. We started off with $100, which was 404 NIS (shekels). That was gone after we bought some basic groceries and went to the Old City and whatnot.

When we were pestering Ross about when Heather was showing up, we also pestered him about getting paid. His response was “Sure, sure, we can work out whatever you want…” and then he walked away. Literally when we were mid-sentence trying to actually GET the money from him.

We ran out of food roughly last Sunday and I started trying to hunt Ross down. I didn’t find him until Thursday, first thing. I ran up to him and asked about getting paid. He mumbled half-sentences about how we would work things out, and then promised there would be money for me sometime that day, and then… he ran away.

I tried to find him at every available opportunity. If I had a couple minutes off, I would run downstairs to remind him. He either couldn’t be found or saw me waiting to talk to him and walked the other way. Whether he means to do this or not is yet to be seen.

At the end of the day, we had that giant meeting that I mentioned way down there. I found him before the meeting and he went “Ah! I’ll work that out.” But then the meeting started. So I stayed glued to him until the meeting ended and then I asked for the money again. He said to go see if Ms. Maha was still around. I did so quickly so that he didn’t have a chance to escape. Ms. Maha was no longer there. So I hurried back and found Ross about to close the door for another meeting.

I walked right up to him while the meeting was about to start, and said, “Ross, Ms. Maha went home. How can I get my money right now?”

So he pulls roughly 7000 NIS out of his pocket and hands me 1000, which is about $250. I’m supposed to get $800, but… I figure half of that is rent and the rest… apparently I cannot have it?

Now’s a time for me to not be passive.

So that evening we went grocery shopping. When I say we had no food for those 4 days, we literally were eating peanut butter and hummus and crackers. Every day. For every meal. And we were almost out of peanut butter. One night all three of us were craving anything different so badly that we brought out the tictacs and the gum. Not even exaggerating. It was like we'd found some delicacies.

I can't tell you how cool it is to have more than peanut butter in the house.

The Jerusalem Schools

(Kasey here)


School at JHS started on Monday for the 7-9th graders, and Tuesday for the 10th-12th graders. All they had to do on those days was show up at 9am to pick up their books, see their classrooms, and attend an assembly where Shane gave them all a talk about the rules of the school.

They were enthusiastic and happy, and the 10th-12th graders were just plain noisy.

One of the other volunteers, Nick, and I are ‘sponsoring’ the 9th graders. It basically means that we’re their buds and stick up for them, and help them out with their school-wide competitions. Unfortunately, so far, the 9th graders are the grade that I’ve found the most annoying. Lol. We’ll see how well-behaved they can be this year… apparently they were a wee bit hellish last year too.

Our class schedule was all worked out, and it looked pretty cool, with the one exception that I would be teaching life science instead of earth science. That sucked, because I had been looking forward to being enthusiastic about the earth. I was going to be teaching life science to the 7th graders, physical science to the 9th graders, biology to the 10th graders, and chemistry to the 11th graders.

However. A couple of days before school started, our lovely principal found out something very unfortunate. The seniors are required by the government to take an extra Arabic class this year, which means that the entire schedule had to be completely reworked from scratch. YOU try and fit a whole extra class in the same amount of time in a school day.

It finally got worked out, but our classes got shifted around. The good news was that I got earth science. The bad news was that I went from teaching 4 classes to 5, one of them being Life of Christ, which is a 9th grade class. Imagine my joy when I realized that I’d gone from one class with the 9th graders plus being their sponsor… to having 2 classes with them PLUS being their sponsor.

The way that the high school is working this year is a bit different. They had enough problems with the kids last year that they are no longer allowed to rotate to their classes. They are self-contained, meaning they are in one class, all day, all year. Even better, they’ll have assigned seats so we can tell who burned a hole in their desk this year. I bet you can guess just how happy they all were to find out about that. Better: the teachers are now the ones who have the 5 minutes between class to talk to the students after class ends, run to their office, grab stuff for the next class, and then be in that class before the bell rings. Not so much fun.

Still, it’ll be easier to keep people from, say, pooping in the garbage (as the 8th graders informed me had happened last year) because we’ll know where everyone is at all times.

Since they are self-contained, and some of the grades are fairly large, each grade is split into two classes, and we have two teachers teaching the same subject: one in each class. I share earth science and life of Christ with Nick, and physical science, biology, and chemistry with Mustafa. I do the lesson plans for earth science and chemistry, and Nick and Mustafa cover life of Christ, physical science, and biology. At least, that’s how Mustafa and I covered it this week. We’ll see about next time. Nick and I will always stick with the same classes.

The schedule during Ramadan is different, because the kids are out of school by 1:30. That gives them time to get home, because most of them are helping with dinner by 4. These people don’t eat less during Ramadan. In fact, they probably eat more. But they do it in 2 great chunks (before sun-up, and after sun-down). They prepare feasts every day.

So my schedule this month goes like this:

7:30 – be at school, prepping for classes (and waiting for Jon to get off the computer and leave so I can do my work :P)

8am – school starts. Any student who is out of their seat when the bell rings is written up as tardy. This is when I have biology with the 10th graders.

8:40 – 2nd period starts. I have earth science with the 8th graders.

9:15 – 2nd period ends. 9:20-9:30 they all have homeroom (which is official attendance-of-the-day time). I have 3rd period (9:35-10:10) off.

10:15 – 4th period. On Mondays and Wednesdays I have physical science with the 9th graders.

10:50 – the bell rings and they have break until 11:25 or so. Normally during Ramadan, anyone observing Ramadan would be outside so they don’t have to be around the people who are eating in the canteen. Unfortunately apparently no one was around this summer to make sure things got done, and they’re still doing construction on an awning outside, so every student is stuck in the canteen. VERY unfair.

All teachers are required to be on break duty, which means we’re patrolling the canteen making sure things don’t get out of control.

11:35 – 5th period. I have chemistry with the 11th graders.

12:15 – 6th period. I have physical science with the 9th graders.

12:50 – this is when 7th period begins, but I have it off, so I retreat to my office and relax the day off.

Once Ramadan is over, things will be rescheduled and each class will extend by at least 5 minutes. 35 minutes for a class is almost no time at all. It sucks.

AND, in case you didn’t know, school here is weird. Friday is an Arab holy day, so we have school Monday-Thursday, and Saturday. Bizarre.


Sort-of real school started on Wednesday. That was the day that all the students in grades 1-12 were required to show up. And, as I now know to fully expect, absolutely nothing was ready. We were handed our lesson plans and a list of the rules 2 seconds before class started. We were lucky that we had that much.

Wednesday was the most boring day for the poor students, because every single teacher that they had all day was required to repeat the rules to them over and over and over, and grill them on it until not one of them could say they’d never heard the rules before. They are also posted in their rooms, so they can’t say they’ve never seen them. These are the precautions that we have to take with these kids, because apparently, given the chance, they will decimate the entire school.


Thursday, we told them about what we expected of them in each class. I spent the day explaining what a science journal was and why I wanted them to keep one over and over. It was a bit monotonous, but I enjoyed the fact that I only had 4 classes instead of 5. I have a feeling that Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday will be my favorite days.

On Thursday morning, we all got an email from Shane that said we had a quick meeting at the end of school. We all assumed that it was a “Yey, we survived our first week!” meeting, because on either Monday or Tuesday, Ross had decided that we teachers deserved a break after working so hard the week before, and we got Saturday off.

That’s sort of what it was. Shane was running the meeting, and it was fun. There’s this one dude that speaks up at every opportunity whether we need to hear from him or not, and he did so on this occasion, but we figured whatever, we’d be going home soon anyway. And then Shane let Ross talk. And Ross’s talks aren’t short. So we finally finish the meeting half an hour after I told Jon to pick me up, and I start to head out of the room. Right before I get away, I hear someone say “religion classes” and “with Ross.” I vaguely remember that Ross wanted to talk to the religion teachers. And unfortunately, with the new schedule, that includes me.

So not only do I have to sit in a meeting for a class I don’t want, but I have to sit in a meeting that contains Ross and GuyWhoSpeaksUpAtEveryOpportunity. The rest of us understand that we want to get out of here ASAP, and unless we have specific questions about how to do our classes, it’s an unspoken agreement that we should just shut up and let the meeting end. The two aforementioned people don’t seem to get this, and we sit in that room for an hour listening to repetition and rambling. Nick asked Ross what book we should use for our class. Ross goes on a 10-minute ramble about books, and doesn’t answer the question, so Nick asks the question again. Ross goes on a 10-minute ramble about… books, and still isn’t very clear on his answer. Nick tries to ask if we can copy an entire book (say, Matthew, where we THINK Ross said to start) for them to read IN CLASS (because in the last 20 minutes, most of what we heard was that we could not send things home). Ross starts rambling again about not sending stuff home, so Nick interrupts him to amend his question with “Can we give them little sections, like verses, to use to study?” Ross goes on a 10-minute rant about translations, and is never clear on what he wants us to use.

As you can tell, most teachers/volunteers are becoming increasingly more unimpressed with Ross. We understand that he’s a busy guy, but he seems a bit to scattered and as if he never quite knows what’s going on.

So I FINALLY get out of this meeting, and the rule is that our lesson plans MUST be turned in by the end of the day, or we can’t leave. It is now 3:30 and hardly anyone has gotten more than one plan done. So we all go grumbling up the stairs. Jon has been waiting in my office for an hour and half, playing on the computer, but I make him stay there longer because I wanted to give Nick detailed notes on what to teach in earth science, because he honestly has no clue, and admitted that he’s no science teacher (but then, neither am I, but I at least like earth science, so it’s easier for me to show enthusiasm and share it than for him to scrounge some up and start from scratch – besides, he has the awesome task of creating curriculum for our Life of Christ class from absolutely nothing).

Shane doesn’t want to stick around waiting for the plans, however, so he yells at us from downstairs that we don’t have to turn them in until Friday night. We yell back down that none of us has internet at our apartments, and he responds that he’ll open the school on Saturday morning for us to use the internet and email our stuff in. This rather short conversation took forever because GuyWhoSpeaksUpAtEveryOpportunity keeps running around going “WHAT? WE CAN’T UNDERSTAND YOU! WHAT?” while we kept telling him to shut up so we could hear the rest of what Shane was saying.

I polish off the rest of my notes and a quiz in about 5 seconds, email everything out, and then pack up and Jon and I leave the school. We live down Shane’s way so we walked with him and had a nice chat. Apparently winter here gets painfully cold… and since there’s no central heating in the apartments, inside is often colder than outside. I asked “Cold enough that I should write my mother and ask her to sent my wool coat?” He said yes.


11th graders

They think they’re slick. They’re not. They’re already trying to get away with speaking Arabic in the class, which is against the rules. They do that Monday, they’re busted.

10th graders

I get the poor people at 8am, which means they’re still half asleep. They seem pretty cool… but you don’t get to really figure that out at 8am. This requires further study.

9th graders

The first day, I got them after they’d heard the rules 3 times already, and boy did I get an earful about what they thought was unfair. So I made them go over it again, told them that I couldn’t do anything about it but that they were welcome to discuss the rules with the office.

The second time I got them that day, we played hangman and I learned their names and favorite movies.

Thursday some of them had quieted down and were ready to be friends. Some of them were hell-on-wheels and I flat out told them that if they didn’t shut up (didn’t use those words, but it came across clearly) when I told them to, I had no problem with giving every person whose mouth was open a detention.

We’ll see if I need to follow through with that on Monday.

They’re enthusiastic, though, and I think that if I can crack down on the misbehavior early and become friends with some of the leaders in the class, we’ll do all right. They’d already started using their 5 minutes in-between classes to decorate their room, and they had extensive plans for it. There’s a lot in there. Just need to get them to behave.

8th graders

I LOVE MY 8TH GRADERS OMG. They’re enthusiastic about earth science when you tell them to be, they’re at the point where they automatically still think you’re cool and want to please you, and they’re just generally well-behaved. Their 5 minutes between class are spent leaning out their door to try and get my attention when I’m walking by so that they can talk to me for a few minutes. Very cute.


The first week was a general success. A lot of “I have no idea what’s going on” going around, but oh well.

I was flipping through the chemistry book the other day and was harshly reminded of how much I never GOT chemistry. This year could be very, very bad.

Earth science, though, I’m very excited about :D