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.)