Sunday, November 21, 2010

Medicine

Jon here!

Story to tell that I thought should be shared.

Kasey has been sick literally her entire time off (not cool at all). BUT, yesterday our friends had some CHEERY flavored NyQuil for Kasey to use (apparently it is non-existant in this entire country).

Now just on an obvious note. We all know that Cherry flavor tastes like death just died in your mouth... nobody wants to come near the stuff let a lone drink it.

Anyway, she took it once in the morning (2 Tbl) and then 6 hours later at night WHERE (and this is my point) she filled the cap lid (I'm watching her the whole time) and started to drink it. You'd THINK she would just down the whole thing all at once to get it over with like a normal scared human being... but no.

She pours some into her mouth and swallows it, not once, not twice, BUT THREE TIMES!!! Taking breaths in between. While I was watching her, her face continued to shrivle up on every gulp, she was trying to plug her nose but by her facial expression it was not working. By the end she looked like she was going to throw it all up but she did not :)

I was seriously amazed! She took like 3 punches to the head of the Cherry flavor! I started laughing and said "YOU ARE TOUGH!!!" And told her to quickly drink water, but instead she went to the sink and washed out the cup with soap... and Didn't drink any water.

I may never forget this night of awesome.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Hello all :)

A couple of things have happened this past week:

1) Jon got a scholarship for his spring semester!! WOO HOO!!

2) Kasey got a week off!! WOO HOO!!

3) Jon got a couple of grades back that were decent!! WOO HOO!!

4) Kasey got a REALLY bad cold during her entire week off :( :( BOO HOO!!


Jon only has about two weeks left of his fall semester… o MY gosh! Then he gets a full 2 months off for his “Christmas break”. It’s ridiculous and nobody enjoys being off for that long of period in this school (M.A. Students).

During that time off, Jon will be studying Hebrew (and somewhat re-learning it as he has not had a Hebrew class in the past 7 months)… it really helped that they did that :P

Kasey goes back to work on the 23rd (Tuesday) BUT then it’s only a month until she gets her Christmas break, which will be well needed… especially after being SICK this past week.

Jon’s grandma is in Israel right about now. We are meeting up with her Monday night, because she wanted to see us while she is in Jerusalem. We are taking her out to a nice restaurant in west Jerusalem, because she wanted to take us out for a nice dinner :D It will be lots of fun!!

It’s crazy!! We only have 7 months left!! What the what!?


Prayer Requests:

-Financial Aid
-That Kasey would stop being sick
-That Jon would do great in his last 2 weeks of the fall semester (Final exams are coming up)


Praise Report:

-Jon has been doing very well in all his classes

Friday, November 5, 2010

November

(Kasey here)
Hola, all.

An update has been requested and so here I am.

There’s not a whole lot to tell at the moment. Jon is working hard at school. He’s writing about a paper a week, and on Nov. 12th, he’s taking his New Testament comprehensive exam. Before graduating from JUC, all M.A. students have to take comprehensive exams that cover all of the (1) Old Testament, (2) New Testament, (3) Historical Geography, and (4) Hebrew. They’re pretty daunting and a lot of people put them all off until the last second.

Jon got his Old Testament exam done last spring. He’ll take the New Testament one this month, and then the Historical Geography and Hebrew exams, he’ll take at the very end of the exam period in May. The professors who write the exams will ask questions like “What does 1 John 2:4 say?” and “Is from Psalms 2, 21, 53, or 97?” Studying for them is understandably a huge job, and hard to squeeze into all the other class work that’s assigned.

He’ll finish fall semester in the second week of December and the spring semester doesn’t start up until around the first week of February, so he’ll have a nice long break.

It’s pretty much same-old at JHS for me. November 14-21, we’re taking a vacation for Palestinian Independence Day and the Eid Adha, so everyone’s excited about that. Once we get back on the 22nd, we have less than five weeks until Christmas break. Since I’m having my students do projects right before their midterms, and because midterms are right before Christmas (and require reviewing of material), I’m only covering new material until the first week in December, and it’ll be fairly relaxed after that. Our Christmas break will last until about January 8th.

My boss was kind enough to adjust our rent to give us a little more cash, which we’re dutifully saving to try and pay as much as possible of Jon’s tuition. We’re also saving all the money from Kasey’s tutoring and editing job. It still won’t be enough, but we’re doing what we can.

We were recently introduced to Modern Family, which we LOVE and highly recommend. It’s hilarious and full of genuine family warm-fuzzies. We watch and rewatch the episodes all the time.

OH! And we also hosted a Halloween party that was fabulous. We introduced a bunch of our guests to Doctor Who, which for me was like a dream come true, especially when the neighbor family with little girls declared themselves hooked and the girls started running around yelling about “PRISONER ZERO ESCAPING!” for the next couple of weeks. They’re also building them their very own TARDIS out of their heater box ☺ SUCCESS!! (Jon's costume below)



Prayer Requests
  • We still need to come up with the rest of Jon's tuition for this semester, all of it for next semester, and enough for plane tickets home. While we and others are working on it, we still need prayer.
  • We've been pretty tired lately, especially because the sun now sets before dinner time.
Praise Reports
  • We're looking at a couple hundred $$ extra a month because of our adjusted rent.
  • Someone (who requested anonymity but does a lot for us) handed me some gift cards to Aroma, the coffee shop, and told me to go on a date with my husband. :)
  • We've pretty successfully adjusted to living here. We're definitely looking forward to going home in June, but we've established a good routine and life :)
  • We have people working hard to help us through our time here, and blessings keep popping up left and right. WOOT!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Twelve Weeks of Jon's First Semester!

Since there has been word of me listening to Christmas music before American Thanksgiving, I came up with this new song that works perfectly for all to hear! Sing along with me if you want to enjoy the upcoming Christmas Holiday!!!

(Personally I can’t believed my luck worked out so well in relation to this song… you’ll understand when you finish the song) :P

*It goes in the tune for the 12 Days of Christmas, except that it’s NOW called the “12 Weeks of Jon’ First Semester” :D


On the first week of JUC, my professor gave to meeeeee… 1 paper due for Intertestamental Literature!

On the second week of JUC, my professor gave to meeeeee… 1 midterm paper due for Prophetic Landscape, and a paper due for Intertestamental Literature!

On the third week of JUC, my professor gave to meeeeee… 1 paper due for History of the Jews, a midterm paper due for Prophetic Landscape, and a paper due for Intertestamental Literature!

On the fourth week of JUC, my professor gave to meeeeee… 1 paper due for Rabbinical Thought, a paper due for History of the Jews, a midterm paper due for Prophetic Landscape, and a paper due for Intertestamental Literature!

On the fifth week of JUC, my professor gave to meeeeee… OOOOOOONNNNNNNEEEEEEEE IN-CLAAAAAAAASSSSS MIDTERM FOR RABBINICAL THOOOOOUUUUUGGGGHHHHTTTTTT, a paper due for Rabbinical Thought, a paper due for History of the Jews, a midterm paper due for Prophetic Landscape, and a paper due for Intertestamental Literature!

On the sixth week of JUC, my professor gave to meeeeee… another paper due for Intertestamental Literature, OOOOOOONNNNNNNEEEEEEEE IN-CLAAAAAAAASSSSS MIDTERM FOR RABBINICAL THOOOOOUUUUUGGGGHHHHTTTTTT, a paper due for Rabbinical Thought, a paper due for History of the Jews, a midterm paper due for Prophetic Landscape, and a paper due for Intertestamental Literature!

On the seventh week of JUC, my professor gave to meeeeee… 1 New Testament Exam due for one of the end of the year exams, another paper due for Intertestamental Literature, OOOOOOONNNNNNNEEEEEEEE IN-CLAAAAAAAASSSSS MIDTERM FOR RABBINICAL THOOOOOUUUUUGGGGHHHHTTTTTT, a paper due for Rabbinical Thought, a paper due for History of the Jews, a midterm paper due for Prophetic Landscape, and a paper due for Intertestamental Literature!

On the eighth week of JUC, my professor gave to meeeeee… 1 final paper due for Prophetic Landscape, a New Testament Exam due for one of the end of the year exams, another paper due for Intertestamental Literature, OOOOOOONNNNNNNEEEEEEEE IN-CLAAAAAAAASSSSS MIDTERM FOR RABBINICAL THOOOOOUUUUUGGGGHHHHTTTTTT, a paper due for Rabbinical Thought, a paper due for History of the Jews, a midterm paper due for Prophetic Landscape, and a paper due for Intertestamental Literature!

On the ninth week of JUC, my professor gave to meeeeee… 1 final paper due for Rabbinical Thought, a final paper due for Prophetic Landscape, a New Testament Exam due for one of the end of the year exams, another paper due for Intertestamental Literature, OOOOOOONNNNNNNEEEEEEEE IN-CLAAAAAAAASSSSS MIDTERM FOR RABBINICAL THOOOOOUUUUUGGGGHHHHTTTTTT, a paper due for Rabbinical Thought, a paper due for History of the Jews, a midterm paper due for Prophetic Landscape, and a paper due for Intertestamental Literature!

On the tenth week of JUC, my professor gave to meeeeee… 1 final exam paper due for Prophetic Landscape, a final paper due for Rabbinical Thought, a final paper due for Prophetic Landscape, a New Testament Exam due for one of the end of the year exams, another paper due for Intertestamental Literature, OOOOOOONNNNNNNEEEEEEEE IN-CLAAAAAAAASSSSS MIDTERM FOR RABBINICAL THOOOOOUUUUUGGGGHHHHTTTTTT, a paper due for Rabbinical Thought, a paper due for History of the Jews, a midterm paper due for Prophetic Landscape, and a paper due for Intertestamental Literature!

On the eleventh week of JUC, my professor gave to meeeeee… 1 final exam due for Rabbinical Thought, a final exam paper due for Prophetic Landscape, a final paper due for Rabbinical Thought, a final paper due for Prophetic Landscape, a New Testament Exam due for one of the end of the year exams, another paper due for Intertestamental Literature, OOOOOOONNNNNNNEEEEEEEE IN-CLAAAAAAAASSSSS MIDTERM FOR RABBINICAL THOOOOOUUUUUGGGGHHHHTTTTTT, a paper due for Rabbinical Thought, a paper due for History of the Jews, a midterm paper due for Prophetic Landscape, and a paper due for Intertestamental Literature!

On the twelfth week of JUC, my professor gave to meeeeee… 1 final exam due for History of the Jews, a final exam due for Rabbinical Thought, a final exam paper due for Prophetic Landscape, a final paper due for Rabbinical Thought, a final paper due for Prophetic Landscape, a New Testament Exam due for one of the end of the year exams, another paper due for Intertestamental Literature, OOOOOOONNNNNNNEEEEEEEE IN-CLAAAAAAAASSSSS MIDTERM FOR RABBINICAL THOOOOOUUUUUGGGGHHHHTTTTTT, a paper due for Rabbinical Thought, a paper due for History of the Jews, a midterm paper due for Prophetic Landscape, and a paper due for Intertestamentaaaaaaaaaaaal Literatuuuuuuuuuuuuuuure!!!!!

Hope you enjoyed that!

If you want a Christmas gift from me this year, I can send you the BOOK that will be completed by the end of this semester.


Merry Early Christmas :D

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Another Goofy Story

I had to give you another one that I forgot to post last week.

If anyone has been in a bus that has been jump started, please raise your hand. (My hand is raised)

Last week I was heading home after one of my night classes. We hit the first Arab community and half way through the bus just shuts down. We luckily pulled over at 1 of 2 gas stations that two communities have. This made me feel a bit better as I thought the gas station people... what do you call them? I have no idea... lets call them real men. I thought these real men would find the problem, fix it fast, and send us off, preventing me from walking an hour home.

BUT instead of the real men, about 5-6 guys got out of the bus, went to the back of the bus and started pushing the bus. The bus driver could not jump start it for about 2 blocks. So here is this bus, being pushed by 5-6 guys down a one lane Arab community full of people. They eventually pushed it far enough to a downhill slope where they all jumped in right away. We coasted down this tiny hill WHERE the bus driver was able to jump start the bus. I was laughing during this whole thing, and when the bus first broke down, I looked at this old guy who glared at my laughing and then got off the bus to walk... poor him. I found another teenager who didn't speak any english and we laughed a bit together.

I got home just fine :P

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Clutzes

Ok. So this is Jon.

Today for breakfast I made pancakes and coffee. While I was drinking some coffee I tried stirring it by swirling it in my cup. Unfortunately, it spilled all over my shorts. While I was getting up to get a paper towel from the kitchen, I tripped on the computer cord and almost fell over. Kasey then laughed at my misfortune. She sounded like this: "HahahahahahahaooOOHHHAAAAWWWWWW"... while she was laughing she spilled coffee all over HER pillow and HER shorts! I laughed my head off.

We are awesome.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Blessing/Praise

(by Kasey)

This morning, I woke up with a migraine and had to go back to bed for half an hour. I dragged myself out of bed and to school in time for my first class, stopping in the office to clock in and check for copies or notices.

In my box, I found a blank white envelope. The inside was stuffed with cash.

Whoever you are, THANK YOU!

God is good.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

PayPal

Hello everybody :)

We found out last week that Jon's tuition is $1000 more than we expected it to be, based on previous tuition costs. Our original plan was to pay off as much as we could with our remaining loan funds, and then save all the money from Kasey's two extra jobs to pay off the rest by December. Unfortunately, that still wasn't going to give us enough to cover this semester's tuition. We are praying and working on a solution, but since increasing our loan amount or taking out another loan is impossible, we're kind of stuck. Please pray.

And on that note, we've added a PayPal button to our blog. It's the button to the left that says "Donate." If you feel led, PayPal is an easy, fast, and secure way to send us money. All your information is safe. It's just a quicker method than sending checks.


Nothing other than getting the JUC fall semester bill has happened lately for us. Our neighbors had their first baby on the 27th in Bethlehem: Moira Jo Conner. We have not seen her yet, but they live right next to us so we assume we will see her often.

Jon is busy working on 4-6 midterms for the next 2-3 weeks. They are papers with one in class exam. And Kasey is very busy with her 3 jobs to help support us. She teaches full time, tutors whenever she can, and is editing papers for a lady in the U.N. All are very minimum pay and just get us by if that. Jon is really trying to find a Data-Entry job that he can do from here that pays something, so if anyone who reads this knows of a legit place that he can get set up/get job then please share :)

Tonight we are going to the Old City to experience an annual Jewish holiday called Simchat Torah. It’s a HUGE festival and hopefully we will be able to see Jews dancing near the Western Wall holding the Torah and doing crazy things :D We are looking forward to it. It’s going to be massively crowded though, which makes the experience even more exciting :P

September has gone by ridiculously fast. It will probably feel only like a few months by the time we leave here. Also, Jon and Kasey want to work as teachers—Jon wants to teach at a Bible college or High school and Kasey wants to teach at a middle school or high school. IF you know of any Bible colleges or any schools that are looking for teachers or have heard something, please feel free to drop our names and mention it to us so that we can apply.

Remember, we put in a donate button… open 24/7.



Thank you,

Jon & Kasey

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Succoth

People on the other side of the world! HEEEEAAAARRRRR MEEEEEEEEEE!!!! You listening? Ok.


Well IF you see on the news anything relating to fire, rioting, or even explosions it is because Sukkoth has begun (tonight) and with celebrations comes disaster in this country. IF we are personally affected by anything other than massive traffic jams, we will let you know.


You have been warned/notified.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Hello all J

Just a quick reminder for all you living on the other side of the world. If you really want to know the seriousness of our lives, don’t take it from our statuses on facebook. We are jokers… hence the initials: J.K. (Just kidding) :P Alright lame joke. BUT Kasey and I usually just use facebook as a kidding around place—stuff we have laughed about by ourselves and felt like sharing with our friends and family, or things that happened during the day that we found amusing or annoying so that you can all enjoy in our randomness or share in our frustration, haha.

If you REALLY want to know what’s going on in our lives on a more personal, real level then read our blog updates. That is why we are trying to update it once a week so all of you know what’s going on over here. If you want a laugh with us or if you want to see pictures or video’s of us then look on facebook, but keep the seriousness of our lives to the Blog.

Thanks!!


P.S. A new update will take place soon :)

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

From Kasey

Hello all! :)

It’s been a pretty nice couple of weeks. Jon and I are used to the swing of things this time around, I think, so it doesn’t feel as hectic this year.

Until Ramadan ends, my school day only goes until 1 o’clock. I’ve been consistently staying at least 2 hours after school to grade and prep for the next day. I even got locked inside the school one day because I stayed so late! Lol. It’s hard work being a teacher. Most of the students assume that teachers hang out during our free periods and do the same at the end of school when they leave. Little do they know that teachers arrive at the school long before they do, work hurriedly during “free periods” to prep, get copies, and grade (oh, and sometimes eat, unless we’ve run out of money/food), we leave long after the students go home, and we bring work home with us. I think this year, I’ll designate Sunday as a full day off, with no school work/work allowed.

Of course, I tried that last weekend and it really didn’t go as planned. I edit documents/emails/letters/etc. for a woman at the UN, and usually she emails them to me during the week. She went on vacation through the month of August, however, and arrived back on the 30th to find that someone had requested she send an official report to the Secretary General (of whatever) on September 1st. She received the necessary extension, but that caused a quick scuffle to compile all the necessary information. I got sent the report early on Sunday afternoon with a note to edit it immediately because the new deadline was Monday.

The thing was 27 single-spaced pages of straight reporting! It took me almost 4 hours to complete. By Sunday evening I was worn out and had a headache, and I woke up on Monday with a migraine, which is just fantastic in a school building with artificial light and screaming children, let me tell you. Still, SHEKELS!!

My migraines usually dissipate in about 2-3 hours, which helped on Monday because I’m also tutoring a student once a week in math (Good deeds! Shekels!), and I don’t think I would have been much help slumped over my desk. :) (BTW Laurel, I’m saving the pills for days when my migraines are too much to deal with, because pretty much every morning I have some level of migraine.)

Jon’s excited to go back to school. He just got one of his final papers back last week and found out that he got a 100%. He’s got it in his mind that he’s just an average student, but he’s really not. He just didn’t apply himself to school before. I hope he realizes soon how smart he is – he’s worked so hard over the past few years and as much as I tease him, he’s actually pretty brilliant :) Makes me proud that I’m his wife. (Don’t tell him I told you.)

We found out today that I get 5 days off for the Eid (the end-of-Ramadan holiday), which is AWESOME!! I’m going to JUC with Jon one day so that I can get some writing done, and then on one day, I plan on working ahead on schoolwork. I want to be ahead on my lesson plans and worksheets so that I won’t have to come up with everything last minute. It helps that I’m already familiar with the material this year. This looks promising.

<3 Kasey


Prayer Request
o We made the pretty daunting decision to survive on my school income this year. After paying our rent, it leaves us with $400. We budgeted it carefully, and most of our food will wind up being pita, hummus, and veggies. All the money I’m earning from editing and tutoring is being saved for tuition, but it really won’t amount to that much by the time our last tuition payment is due. The point is: we need money. Desperately. Soon. Please pray. (And donate, if you feel led to! ;) )

Praise Report
o God is generous!! People keep feeding us for random reasons. Even our landlady keeps accosting us with food. It’s good to know that God’s aware of how empty our cupboards are.
o Polly has been living comfortably (and energetically) in San Diego with my family for over 2 months now. Even though we miss our cute little kitty terribly (and I have nothing to practice my “mommy instincts” on), we’re so grateful that she adjusted well and that she doesn’t seem to have lost her craziness. She still goes “mum” before she attacks people J We love hearing the stories of her antics :D

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Hello All :)

It has been LESS than a week since our last update. Nothing much has happened during our first week of work and school. All we can say is that it's going to be a busy semester for Jon and HOPEFULLY a less stressful time for Kasey in her work.

Jon learned from a friend how to make some really good pasta sauce with only tomato's, oil, onions, garlic and random spices. It is glorious and cheap :)

Kasey shaved Jon's head again this week. Next week Jon will shave Kasey's head to make it even....

Oh and also, if you didn't know yet, Jon is starting his PB&J&N diet for the year - Peanut Butter, Jelly, and Nutella :) JUC offers free bread with these condiments for their students. Jon takes advantage of their generosity by having 2-3 square (shape of the bread... Bahahahaaaaaaoooooo ok bad joke) meals a day... AND he never gets sick of them.

We have both been starting to watch the Doctor Who series once again. Aaaaaaand Ramadan is about to end in a week, BUT the Jewish New Year, Rasha-shan or something like that, is starting up this Wednesday unless it already started... if you REALLY want to know the look it up :P

Hope all is well on the other side of the world!

This is Jon & Kasey signing off! See you all in a week!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Hello Everyone!

Sooooo we have not kept up with the weekly thing. We are sorry. We really want to say that a weekly update will be what’s happening this year, buuuuut who knows. We will try our best.

Jon just started his second year at JUC and had his first class today. The classes that Jon is taking this semester are:

-Rabbinical Thought and Literature

-An introduction to the literature and central themes addressed by the Jewish sages. Particular attention is given to the early periods of rabbinical Judaism (Tannaitic and Amoraic) and to possible parallels to the thoughts and teachings of Jesus and early Christianity.

-Prophetic Landscape

-Learning all about prophetic literature and how the prophets surroundings was integrated into their message

-Inter-Testamental Literature

-A focus on Old Testament Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha and their contribution to our knowledge of the varieties of religious thought in the Second Temple Period.

-Introduction to Aramaic

-History of the Jews from the medieval times to Modern times (he is auditing

this course so he just has to show up for the classes, no homework or exams)

-An examination of Jewish history from the rise of Christian Europe in the fifth century to the present by addressing such topics as medieval Jewish

communities in Babylonia, Spain, Germany and Poland; Jewish relations with the church and crown; Jewish communal structure; modern changes such as enlightenment, emancipation; new Jewish movements and ideologies; modern anti-Semitism and the Holocaust; Zionism and the rise of Israel.

He is very happy to be back in school and having some organization to his life again. It’s weird to think that Jon is “top dog” so to speak because this school only offers a 2 year program.

Today Jon tried to get out of his Aramaic class by talking to Dr. Wright this morning… it did not work; however, he did have a nice chat with the president of the school (Wright). On a more positive note, Jon got his final history paper back from last semester and got 100% on it! The topic was: Hellenization with a focus on how it influenced Judaism.

On his way home today, Jon ran into a girl that had just arrived in Jerusalem a couple days ago. He helped her buy some veggies and found out she was from Vancouver, B.C. Canada. They had a nice little chat once why they were there. She knew about Trinity Western University—the university that Kasey and Jon graduated from. Just goes to show how small a world we really live in.

Kasey started teaching on Monday (August 30). She had been in ‘teacher orientation’ for about two weeks prior, which is essentially all the teachers getting together to discuss policies and teaching methods, and to get the school ready for the students. Orientation is pretty tiring, since the teachers aren’t just responsible for what they’re teaching, but for preparing their actual school, from moving lockers to hanging posters.

This year, the structure of the school has changed. Each grade is always split into two classes. Last year, each grade would have their classes at the same time. For instance, when one class had biology first period, the other class also had biology. This meant that two teachers taught the same class and each teacher averaged around 5-6 classes. If you’ve never taught before, know this: that’s a LOT of prep work, and extremely exhausting.

This year, the classes are split and occur at different times, meaning that one teacher can teach both classes. Kasey is teaching Life Science and Earth Science (all of the 7th and 8th graders), as well as a Study Prep Elective. This narrows her prep work down to only 3 classes instead of 6. The students are also rotating from classroom to classroom this year (whereas last year the teachers had that job), which takes off an enormous amount of stress over moving in-between classes.

Having a less stressful schedule (although she DOES wind up teaching or supervising breaks for 5 hours straight), combined with actually knowing how school goes now, makes this year look promising. (If you’ve missed out, Kasey was homeschooled grades 4-12, so she doesn’t even have her own high school experience to draw from.)

Prayer Requests:

-That we get enough money to pay for Jon’s last semester tuition and plane tickets back to North America – about $5000-6000 depending if Jon gets a scholarship

-For Kasey to have a very fulfilling teaching experience this year

-That Jon study’s hard and well, remembering everything he study’s, etc…

-That God would open doors for job opportunities:

-Jon wants to be a Bible Teacher at a college or university, and/or he would like to teach as a high school teacher

-Kasey wants to teach as a junior high/high school teacher

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

picture!


We spent the day at the beach in Tel Aviv with our visitor, Joel. This was taken in Old Jaffa (Joppa), facing Tel Aviv.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

fireworks and popcorn


It being wedding and passing-monumental-tests season... and also summer... the fireworks in the area have gone insane. Usually this only happens on Friday. Now it's pretty much every night.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Hello everyone :)

It’s been close to another full week since our last blog post (maybe a little longer, but who’s really keeping track)… Woah! It’s almost been 2 weeks. That is a fail oooooooooonnnnnn… we’ll say Kasey’s part. Shame on Kasey. Everyone “boo” her right now.

Some updates on our last blog post (July 14): Both of us are trying to get our normal sleeping habits back—going to bed at a decent time and waking up early. Both of us have pretty much stopped playing on the piano. We had a good 7 days of excitement as a new thing was brought into our apartment and our lives, but we both kind of just drifted off of it. Jon is going to need a lot more push to learn the piano (maybe take piano lessons sometime in the far far future) he doesn’t have the passion to learn on his own just yet. AND we both got our visas hassle free! We can both stay in Israel for another year legally without any trouble. Thank God for that :) He really did provide for us here. Everything went smoothly and extremely fast. Thank you for all your prayers on that one.

On Sunday both of us went to The Coffee Bean (a very relaxing coffee shop… they have them in North America) for about 4 hours where Kasey wrote and Jon organized more photos—Jon goes through each of his pictures taken from field studies and writes down all the info about that site next to it (the info he was given on the field study day). It was extremely relaxing and very productive. After that we met up with one of our friends who joined us in visiting a church that we found: King of Kings (www.KKCJ.org).

Jon even found a couple of songs that he never heard before and wrote them on his hand so that he could get them later on… BUT one wash of the hands and it was all smudged and he was not able to get those songs… sad day I know, but whatcha gonna do…


This morning our landlady gave us a bunch of fresh grapes right off the vine in our backyard. They were delicious and it was very thoughtful :) And SOON we will be eating dinner. Don’t know what we are going to have yet.

We want to go back to The Coffee Bean.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Hello other side of the world.

It’s been about a week and we wanted to keep up with the blog updates.

In order to keep us amused this last week Jon decided to see how long he could stay up. He only stayed up for about 46 hours. Within those hours things started to happen. An example being that Jon started having micro naps – he would be sitting up then immediately fall asleep where he would have a dream (usually about Harry Potter for some reason) and then wake up like 15-30 seconds later. Other than just being really tired, that’s about all that happened to him.

We are taking care of an electric piano for the rest of the summer! Kasey is really excited as she has been playing since she was little but has not had the chance to play the piano in a while. She hoped on the piano and it would seem like she never took a break. Jon loves listening to her play.

Jon has wanted to relearn the piano for a long time now! SO he will

be able to start. Kasey has taught him some basic things to learn (learning the keys and getting use to moving your fingers around). He is going to practice everyday so we will see how it goes. It’s really REALLY annoying when you want to play an awesome song but can’t!! It’s driving Jon crazy. So he’s really going to try and learn.

Jon’s visa expires Friday (July 16th) so we REALLY need to renew his visa. Kasey will be put as a dependant on Jon’s visa. We are going on Tuesday morning to sit in front of the door and try to get in (because our lawyer couldn’t get us an appointment… great lawyer hey?) so PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE pray that they let us in to get new visas that will allow us to legally stay in Israel for the next year.

Some really good news is that Kasey got her tax return! She got enough to pay her government loans for the next year, which really helps us. But sadly it did not decrease the amount that we need for Jon’s tuition and plane tickets… sad day, but it’s all good. If you would like to know our money situation then please look back to the previous post (July 6).

Thank you for all your prayers!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Year Update

Dear Family and Friends,

Well, we’ve been here in Israel for nearly a full year, and at times, it definitely feels like it! If you’ve been out of the loop, here’s the basic info: Jon is pursuing his M.A. degree at a very well recognized graduate school: Jerusalem University College (American Institute of Holy Land Studies -- http://juc.edu/ ). He will receive his degree in Biblical History and Geography, his main track focusing on Old Testament and 2nd Temple History. Jon wants to pursue a career in teaching.

While Jon has been hard at work studying, Kasey has been teaching full time at The Jerusalem School, a K-12 school that teaches Palestinian children. Over the past year, she has taught grades 8-12 in a variety of subjects (Chemistry, Biology, Physical and Earth Sciences, American History, Finance, and Religion). Kasey had never taught in a formal setting before she was hired at The Jerusalem School, but she has found that it is not only something that she is good at, it is something she loves.

Since Jon has been entirely focused on his studies, it has fallen to Kasey to earn as much of an income as possible. The Jerusalem School is missions-based and while they have helped in finding us an apartment and giving Kasey employment, most of their workers are volunteers who receive a stipend. Kasey receives a monthly $400 (USD) when the school can manage it. This helps tremendously, but even living as frugally as possible, it does leave us wanting every month.

Living month-to-month as we have had to do has taught us a great deal about having faith in the Lord. We have had several occasions throughout the year when we did not know if we could continue on, but the Lord has always blessed us! At the end of the spring semester, we had run out of all shekels, and Jon was trapped at home, without bus money to go take his last final. We asked a neighboring couple if we could borrow 10 NIS (roughly $2.50 USD) for Jon to make it to school and back. A moment later they handed us 100 NIS and then brought over a huge meal and extras to fill our empty cupboards. In truth, without God, we would not have been able to make it this far, and would have run completely out of money a long time ago.


Jerusalem University College is a reputable school in the academic community, but because of its size and its location, it is not yet recognized by either the American or the Canadian governments. This makes it impossible to take out an educational loan through them, or to halt payments on previous student loans. Jon’s grades have been good enough that he has received a major scholarship for this coming semester, so we know that, barring unforeseen expenses, we will definitely make it until December. However, after that, we are entirely dependent on God. If Jon receives the same amount in scholarship money as he did this semester, we will need roughly $5,000. This will cover Jon’s remaining tuition, some bills we have still at home, and plane tickets back to America. God has provided for us so far, and we have faith that He will continue to provide.

We have been so blessed by your support and prayers over the past year! Please pray that God will provide and keep us safe in Israel.

In Christ,

Jonathan and Kasey Harkness

If you would like to donate, please email us at jkharkness5909@gmail.com , and we will provide you with the address you can send checks to.


Thursday, July 1, 2010

July

Hello everyone!

Been a Loooooong time since we last posted. I hope you are getting use to it by now :P

We just finished up a very fun time with Kasey’s parents. They came for two weeks and we traveled the country visiting spots of the Bible and seeing the touristy areas of Israel. It was a blast. We are all very tired now (Terry and Karen more so as they JUST got home after being awake for 31 hours).

It was great seeing them and spending time with each other.

Some new news about Polly our cat. Our landlord/Kasey’s main boss finally made the decision that there are no animals allowed in any of the apartments. So we had to find another home for Polly in a short amount of time because he was kicking her out. Fortunately God knew this was going to happen and caused Kasey’s boss to make this decision when Terry and Karen got here.

Polly warmed right up to them (that was not like her with strangers) and they offered to take Polly home with them. She is now safe and sound in a VERY good home in San Diego. The shipping of Polly cost a bit more than we thought (almost double) but is was well worth it as she is a one of a kind cat. I even find myself missing her, which is not really like me (the whole emotional thing… especially with an animal). Don’t worry we plan to have Skype dates with Polly so that she will not forget our voices… oh ya and those other people that she is now in charge of :P

Saying good-bye was very hard for Kasey, as she had to see her parents again, say good-bye to them a second time (we will not see them for another year) and THEN to say goodbye to Polly who has grown to be part of our little family. It was a sad day.

Because Kasey’s parents visited during the last two weeks of June, Kasey and I are not able to teach summer school, because they booked summer school during those two weeks and into July. The funny thing is that the high school summer program was mainly depended on Kasey and I as the main teachers, they could have changed the dates I guess but they didn’t do that. Instead, I believe, they just give homework to the high school students to do at home or something, which sucks for them… but summer school just sucks in general.

Now that Terry and Karen are gone Kasey and I have about 1.5 months by ourselves… literally. So we shall become masters at entertaining ourselves in our apartment for that time :P

We will have A LOT more time on our hands now, so HOPEFULLY the blog will be updated a bit more. And maybe this next year we will try to post something once a week (that was our original plan) even if it’s just to say hello.


Some prayer requests:

-For our continuous protection while we are here

-For God to provide for our finances as the next tuition payment is due in about 2 months

-For our cat Polly who is now living in San Diego with the McHenry’s that she will love it there AND that she won’t forget Kasey and me

-That God will provide jobs for Kasey and I when we return (we are starting to apply to different jobs)

Praise reports:

-Polly found next to the perfect home and shipping her went extremely smooth with no problems that we have heard of yet. (she didn’t even cry when she was in the airport when we were saying goodbye to her)

-We got to spend 2 weeks with family and it was very refreshing

Sunday, May 16, 2010

End of Semester

HELLO! This is Jon.

I JUST finished my second semester here at JUC and O MY GOSH. The last couple of weeks have been a tad scary :P I had my History paper worth 50% of my final grade, my Hebrew exam worth 40% (usual), but my Geography paper was worth 100% (apparently everyone gets either a B or an A, so they SAY I have nothing to worry about), AND my Archaeology exam was worth 100% of my grade. WHO in the world does this to students (I’m talking about the 100% worth)… it is insane… in the membrane.

BUT I finished and now I must wait till the end of May-ish to get my grades back and to see if I made it on to the next round… it’s kind of annoying. It is summer vacation though, although it’s going to be an extremely busy summer J But I’ll get to that a little later.

Some cool things that have happened lately with God providing for us. Kasey and I were a little lower in cash than usual (don’t worry we are always low on cash, haha), and were regularly having a simple pita, vegetables, pasta stuff (the usual food for students). But we ran out of cash and I needed 10 shekels for the bus for my last exam (about $2.50 U.S.). So we went to one of our nice old couple neighbors (yes we have more than one) and I asked for 10 shekels to get to and from my exam.

They came back and gave Kasey and I 100 shekels!! It was amazingly nice of them, and reminded me of that verse in the Bible that says “if someone asks you for your cloak, give him your hat too” (or something like that, I can’t really remember the exact words). It was very nice and blessed us a lot. THEN they called us on the phone and asked us if we would like the leftovers from a party they went to, we said sure thinking it was going to be little snacks. No. She literally gave us enough for two dinners between the both of us. It was great. AND it was Mexican food.

THEN our other old neighbor couple asked if we liked Watermelon, Kasey said yes (I’m not a huge fan of it) and they gave us a quarter of a watermelon! It was a good day for food!


(The rest of this blog has been updated a week after the above stuff was written… my bad) (and then Kasey went through this morning and fixed stuff)


It has only been a week since I finished my finals, but it seriously feels like it’s been 3 weeks. Oh well. I have started to read The Chronicles of Narnia (thanks to Kasey) I hope to have it all finished by the end of next week. It’s very enjoyable J Kasey has about 2 (3 including the week of exams and the DAY AND A HALF in which I have to grade around 70 exams) weeks left of school, which is nice for her cause then she gets about a month break before we teach summer school.

As for my summer plans, at the end of this week I have a friend and his buddy coming to stay with us and I’m going to give them the tour of Israel (they are renting a car which allows us to do this A LOT easier, instead of taking a bus everywhere). So that will be lots of fun. They are staying from May 22-June 3. This first trip allows me to perfect the tour experience for when my in-laws get here on June 15-June 30 (Terry and Karen McHenry). (don't worry, Mama, I am well aware that you actually come on the 16th)

The weather here is gradually getting hotter and hotter. Kasey and I are almost at the point where we sleep with just a sheet, and then soon after that we will need the fan on all night (directly on us). During the summer there is NO rain whatsoever and barely any clouds, which is AWESOME… if you were allowed to wear beach clothes. BUT we are not, we have to covered (jeans and t-shirts), so it’s not very fun to go outside unless you have a car to be in or you are going to the beach.

Kasey and I would like to think that we have adjusted the climate and culture enough that it doesn’t bother us anymore, but we will see when it gets even hotter here :P

Ummm… for those of you who enjoy the TV show “Firefly” I have almost finished the half season (in reality it aired nearly the full season and was only cut a couple of episodes short. They just had no warning before they had to stop filming.) that aired and am actually wanting to find the comic stuff that gives you more explanation about the different characters and their history/background.

That is about it for now. I’m sorry we suck at this blogging thing. I think we update our stuff SO MUCH on facebook that we tend to forget about it.

Please continue to pray that God provides for us in every way J

Thanks!

(Hey, cool, the Firefly episode where they get shipped a dead dude is on!)

Monday, April 19, 2010

EGYPT!! (brace yourselves, it's a long one)

Hello :D Jon and Kasey here…

Egypt. So much to tell. We started our trip right after Kasey’s work. Half of us took a taxi and the other got driven by the principal to the central bus station in Jerusalem. We had to go through security and long story short JON got pulled aside… out of all the people in line (not just our group, but the 40 people waiting to get through) JON got pulled aside (Kasey: hang on, when you hear it you’ll understand).

Jon had packed his camping knife that his dad gave him before he came here. You need to understand that this knife is REALLY big. Anyway, Jon gets pulled aside, gets questioned and then is escorted to the police office because apparently it is illegal to carry any knife in Jerusalem that is larger than your palm (just fyi). Jon thought it was kind of fun that all this was happening, but we only had about 45 min until our bus left and we didn’t know how long this would take. It didn’t take long, they looked at the knife, told Jon the rules and told him to put it back in his bag. We have learned that if you get pulled over for anything or questioned about anything by the authorities all you have to do is play the “stupid American” card. It always seems to work :D We made our bus and arrived 5 hours later in Eilat, around 9pm.

When we got there, from looking online at how to do this trip, we were under the impression that the Egyptian border was just 100 meters away. We went 100 meters and no border, so we asked a lot of random people and each person had a different answer: 20 miles, 11miles, 30 km, 1 km, etc… it was annoying because nobody really seemed to know how far the border was. But eventually we had to get a cab ($10) to drive us to the border (it was REALLY far away). We got to the border and first we had to go through all of the Israeli border control.

Jon did not get pulled aside this time. We had to pay around $30 each as a tax for getting out of the country and then had to go through about 2 more places where they looked at your passport. THEN we got to the Egyptian border, where we had to show our passports 2 times in order to get through. Around 11pm, we arrived in Egypt for the first time :D

Now came the difficult part: Bargaining for a taxi all the way to Dahab. You get into Egypt and there are like 20 big van taxis all ready to give you a ride, except there is no set price… it’s ALL bargaining! After about 10-20 min of haggling with these guys we finally agreed on $15 each. Before we took off a group of Jews joined us. We chatted for a while and later on in the trip one of the couples entertained us by making out in front of us for about 20 min straight… who knew Jews where so scandalous :P The ride down was pretty heart stopping… meaning your heart stopped all the time out of fear. It was pitch black outside because there were no lights on the highway and we were driving through the Sinai Mountains. On our way there we passed an identical taxi car that had flipped over and crashed… it looked bad but we did not stop. So that did not help us. By that time I’m pretty sure a bunch of us started praying for that taxi and our own lives as well. We made it to Dahab after 2 hours of crazy driving in the dark. We got to our rooms and were extremely surprised how nice the hostel was! We stayed at the Alaska Camp and Hotel, for $8 each/night. Kasey and I crashed.

(This is where Kasey takes over)

Just fyi, on the way to Dahab, all but one of the girls in the taxi completely passed out, so really it was the guys who suffered. I wasn’t awake to see the taxi that had flipped over, but I do know that on the way back a few days later, a delivery truck had flipped over the barrier and both the driver and passenger were killed.

When we arrived in Dahab, our first impression was one of dismay. For those of you who haven’t heard our current home in Beit Hanina described, it’s essentially 10 times worse than the “bad” parts of town back home. Everything is run down and looks like it was completely destroyed at one point. The streets are littered with garbage, and when it’s unfamiliar, you feel extremely unsafe.

Our first impression of Dahab was that it reminded us of Beit Hanina. The girls had woken by this point and we stared in dismay, wondering just how bad our vacation was going to be. Our driver, moreover, had no idea where anything was. He pulled up to a group of men and asked directions to our hostel. We were grateful to have arrived, but still slightly regretting our choice of vacation spots. Two of our friends (Nick and Angel) were staying at another hotel, and nobody had any clue where it was. Our Israeli friends seemed to leave the taxi at the same time as we did, but Nick and Angel had to go off into the distance on their own, and no one had any idea of how we’d get in touch with them over the next few days to coordinate our return.

I left Jon to worry about the bags and walked into the hostel. There was a small main gate through which I could see a flagstone path and plants. As I walked through, I could tell that the hostel was small, but it seemed peaceful and most importantly, clean. I found the office, we all got checked in, and went off to our rooms.

We were glad to see that the people who worked at the hostel were friendly, that nothing here resembled the main street, and that our room, while very simple, was very clean. We even had our own bathroom, which was unexpected. Jon and I looked around for a couple of minutes before, as he said, we crashed. It was about 3am.

Jon woke up super early and went out to check out our situation. He brought his camera and wandered out the side of the hostel opposite the gate we entered the night before. We didn’t realize it until the day before we left, but Dahab is one hour behind Israel, so it was about an hour before any of the shops or restaurants were going to open.

I slept a couple hours longer than Jon, until he came back and woke me up to show me the pictures.

Right outside of our hostel was the boardwalk of Dahab. Lining the boardwalk are shop after shop, and restaurant upon restaurant. The restaurants were all directly on the beach. Well… not so much a beach as a wall at which the ocean stopped. You literally could have jumped from your table into the ocean (which Jon and I did on several occasions).

I got up somewhere around 10 and we went to meet our friends at a restaurant called El Fanar, where our breakfast was 10 LE (about $2) with free Bedouin tea. Jon and I were excited to see an “American” breakfast, which included eggs, bacon, and toast, on their menu. By “toast” they meant plain white bread (untoasted) and by “bacon” they meant spam, but, you know….

After that we went our separate ways. Our friends Anna and Christie had been up since 6, napping in various spots along the beach, and they planned to do the same for the rest of the day. Anna’s brother and sister-in-law, Jesse and Aisha, wanted to go shopping. Jon and I wanted to walk down the boardwalk for about 35 minutes to “The Laguna,” where all the resort beaches were. Jesse and Aisha decided to go with us, and we took off walking.

Unfortunately I had decided to wear my new Croc heels, but my feet are so soft that after about 10 minutes I’d rubbed several blisters into my toes and feet. I walked the rest of the way barefoot, over crunchy dirt and scalding patches. That added a couple more blisters.

BUT at last we arrived at the Laguna, and it was awesome. If you’ve been on facebook you saw how bright blue the water was there. There was no guard at the post to the entrance, so we just walked right in and settled into some lounge chairs. We noticed that we were almost definitely not allowed, because everyone else had the same hotel-prescribed towel, but we decided to stay for as long as we would be allowed. Jesse and Aisha had expected more shopping, and Jesse had forgotten his swim shorts, so they only hung out for a little while before taking off to walk back.

Jon and I (of course) wanted to go swimming, so we waded into the water, which was much, MUCH colder than expected. We stood waist-deep for a while and then Jon took the plunge, swimming out a ways and videoing himself. I waited a while longer and then joined him, and then we laid on the lounge chairs for a while, drying off and enjoying the exposure to the vitamin D.

After a couple of hours someone from the hotel did notice that we didn’t belong and very politely asked us to leave. I couldn’t walk back with no shoes, though, because my feet were already too damaged, so we went to the hotel shop and picked up some cheap flip-flops. It took us around 40 minutes to get back to our hostel.

We relaxed for a while (and I washed off my feet), and then we went to see if the girls wanted to join us for dinner. They were napping in their room at this point, completely exhausted from all the sun.

When they finally emerged from their room, they were bright red all over – sunburned lobster red. Evidently this was their plan all along, but they were definitely in pain for a long while.

We went to dinner at Meya Meya. On our way back from the Laguna, Jon and I were stopped by a guy named Mohammad who worked there, and because we looked semi-skeptical, he kept throwing in free things. In the end we got five free things: starter, tea, bottled water, dessert, and a smile, and we promised to come back.

Eating in Dahab is a very relaxing experience. Meya Meya, like many of the other restaurants, was covered in pillows. You sat on a pillow and leaned on a pillow, with a tiny table in the middle. When it got dark and the wind got stronger, they pulled a giant carpet up as a wall and lit bonfires throughout the place. Jesse and Aisha, who had gone on a camel ride up a mountain to watch the sunset, joined us near the end and then we all decided to head to a restaurant called Yalla Bar, where one of the guys who worked at our hostel also worked at night. We sat around and played Phase 10 until we were all too tired to worry about getting 1 set of 5 and 1 set of 2, and then we went back to the hostel and to bed.

Jon and I woke up early to reserve lounge chairs for us all at Yalla. Most restaurants had lounge chairs lining the wall along the water. We got there at about 7 am, spread out our stuff to save 6 chairs, and lounged until the restaurant opened. We ordered a continental breakfast, which was the perfect start to the day, and actually included toast, and then Jon went to the scuba and snorkel shop across from Yalla to pick up snorkeling gear for the day for $2 each. Jesse and Aisha showed up about then, so we waited for them to have their breakfast and take over the chairs, and then we jumped in the water and took off the adjust to snorkeling again.

Aisha didn’t know how to swim but wanted to try snorkeling anyway. Jesse spent a few minutes in the water readjusting to how snorkels work, and then he helped Aisha wade in, life vest and all. We spent a while getting Aisha used to being in the water and lying on her stomach kicking, then we all took a break to lie on our lounge chairs. By then Anna and Christie were awake and wisely applied sunscreen. We all spent the day with a combination of swimming and sunbathing.

Around 2, Nick and Angel showed up. Their hotel had a shuttle running to “downtown Dahab,” which was the boardwalk, so they’d come to find us. Anna and Christie, Nick and Angel, went off to have a late lunch, while the rest of us snorkeled some more.

At about 4 we headed back to the hostel to shower, and then we went to El Mundo for dinner. We literally picked fresh fish from a cooler and had it cooked for us. Jon had spent so long in the sun that he was suffering from a little bit of heat exhaustion (the rest of us sat under an umbrella later in the day, but he refused), so he didn’t feel like eating at all. The fish was amazing, which he missed, but we also had milk shakes, which he made it most of the way through (Jon here—the milkshake was SO GOOD, but I could barely drink it. I finished about half of it and then Kasey had the rest).

After diner, Jesse and Aisha went off to do last-minute shopping. Jon headed back to the room, but Anna, Christie, and I went wandering from shop to shop, finally winding up at a crepe place to split a double chocolate crepe, and then going to a salon to have our nails done (um… worst mani/pedis ever).

Because Jesse and Aisha were heading back to America in the very early morning on Tuesday, and they still wanted to visit Ramallah (a town behind the wall next to Beit Hanina), they were going to leave on Sunday, which was not originally planned. When we had bought our bus tickets, we planned on being there till Monday. Before we had left Jerusalem, Jesse and Nick had spent our last minutes frantically arguing with the bus station to switch 3 of the tickets to Sunday (Jesse, Aisha, Anna). They repeatedly said they needed 3 tickets switched. The woman switched 4, and then said, “You’re going to miss your bus,” and they had to rush to make it on board.

This unfortunately meant that Christie had to leave early with them (Nick tried calling once we made it to Dahab, but the office was closed for the holiday), so this was their last night in Dahab. Anna, Christie, and I lounged in the pillowed area of our hostel, chatting, and then we all headed back to our rooms. They left before 8 the next morning.

Jon and I had a very lazy Sunday. We went to the Friends restaurant and lay on the benches to read and eat our breakfast. We spent the morning there and then went back to our room for a nap. We went back to Friends for dinner and played Phase 10 and read, and chatted with the little girls who came by to sell bracelets (we found it was quicker to decline by speaking Arabic instead of English [“La, habibti” or “La, shoukran”]. If you speak English they try even harder to sell you something). We went back and went to bed fairly early, enjoying the peace.

We woke up early the next morning and went to sit in the sun at Yalla to have breakfast and read. We’d worn our bathing suits, expecting to swim, but the wind was strong and the water was choppy, so we stayed on our benches, soaking up some last-minute sun and, again, enjoying the tranquility.

We headed back to our room at 9 to pack and shower. Nick and Angel met us at the hostel at around 10:30 and we went to wait for our taxi driver. Because the same drive took the other group the previous day at 8, he’d assumed we wanted to leave at 8 too, and had showed up at 8 and then left when we didn’t show up (we had a receipt clearing marking that we were leaving at 11, but oh well). We got there before 11 and he was called back, and arrived around 20 minutes late.

Our taxi ride back was fairly pleasant. There was no air conditioning so we had the windows rolled down, and our driver kept stopping along the way to show us specific mountains (“Look, it’s a camel!”). All in all, we arrived at the border 3 hours before our bus was to leave Eilat.

We had to walk a ways from where our taxi let us out and where the border was. Imagine our surprise when we ran into a very long, long line of hippies who were also intent on getting back into Israel.

The border consists of 8 checks: one to check your passport and Egyptian visa when you arrive, another to scan your luggage as you exit, another to review paperwork and claims, another as you leave the Egyptian border to make sure you’ve been processed… then a passport check as you enter the Israeli border, then a luggage scan, then the paperwork… and one more passport check so that you can leave the border. It took us 2 ½ hours to get through, and at that point we were a 10-minute taxi ride from the bus station, and it was 5 minutes AFTER when the bus was supposed to leave. We did what we could, but our taxi driver was an uncommonly safe one, and we arrived 15 minutes after our bus left.

Between talking with information, cashiers, managers, and almost the police when security spotted an unattended bag (we all wandered off to find a solution to our transportation and forgot to bring a suitcase), we finally managed to switch our tickets to a later bus that was going to Tel Aviv. We had about an hour and a half left, and we were all starving, so we wandered about a half-mile away from the bus station, luggage in tow, to find one of the only things open (since it was a holiday and everything shuts down): a convenience store. There we managed to pick up pita, hummus, some veggies and sandwich meat (plus the all-important road trip candy), which we then trekked back to the bus station to eat.

Our bus to Tel Aviv left at 7pm, and while that got us within about an hour/hour-and-a-half of Jerusalem, we still had to figure out how to make it. Nick made a few calls and Shane, our fearless principal, told us not to worry, that someone would be able to pick us up.

Then Nick managed to find out from some of our fellow passengers that we could get off in Beer Sheva and catch a bus from there to Jerusalem. Our bus let us off in Beer Sheva 5 minutes before the Jerusalem bus took off, and as soon as the Jerusalem bus opened its doors, it was a free-for-all to get inside. We all barely managed to squeeze in the doors ahead of some people, and while we had to sit apart, we at least had seats. Everyone who got on after us had to sit in the aisle.

Around 12:30am, we arrived in Jerusalem and Shane was there to pick us up. We got home not long after and were greeted by a very emotional kitty, who yelled at the top of her lungs to tell us what her life had been like while we were gone. We got to bed a little before 2, and miracle upon miracle, Kasey was not sick the morning and made it to work.

So that concludes our Egypt trip. Everything added up, for the two of us we spent $410. Pretty spiffy if you ask us.


Sunday, March 21, 2010

Life on the Other Side of the World

Jon Here!

Hello All :D I know the whole shpeel in Jerusalem has settled down A LOT (at least for us here... I don't know what the news is still telling you). I guess I could check, but I don't want to. I just wanted to tell all you what was going on over here (I'm sure the news is telling everything, but what better way to hear from Jon, me, a first hand account) :P

OK! There is this synagogue in the Old City in the Jewish quarter that holds a lot of sentimental and religious value to the Jews. It was built around 1700 and destroyed 3 times since. This is there 3rd time rebuilding it. In rebuilding it, for some reason or another, they had to dig under ground (I don't know why, but probably for architectural reasons, OR they found remains of the old synagogue). Anyway... the tunnel was being dug toward the Temple Mount (The Dome of the Rock).

So the Palestinians started throwing a fit, and it started this religious rioting. However, let it be known that if this were switched where the Palestinians started building something, the Jews would more than likely throw a fit as well. It is very easy to just blame the Palestinians and root for the Jews :P But if you look at the political side of this country you will see that both sides are to blame for things done, both sides have been treated unfairly, etc...

Read this if you are more interested:


Right away, Clinton and Obama got involved pretty much saying that they shouldn't have built. Israel wrote back saying that this land has been theirs for 3000 years (Since King David) and that they are descendants of King David and they have the "religious right" to take over the country, and they will build where ever they want.

The main rioters were bedouin from the desert (mostly teenagers) and they threw rocks and sticks and stuff in protest, while the Israeli army had giant guns... so to be honest they would have to be idiots to do anything really serious to tick off the Israeli army.

3000 soldiers and police men were put into the Old City for the past week (it was pretty cool). It was completely safe if you stayed on the northwestern side, outside of the Old City (where I walked everyday). Things have calmed down for now, but they are said to pick up again in mid-April, where another protest from the Palestinians is planned to take place again.

Everything is going alright. Kasey and I are doing very well :) School is going alright. Polly is getting fat (we started to feed her less).

A couple of cools things happened in the last week for Kasey and I :) Both of us wanted a big rug and a small rug for the entrance way and for our kitchen. And believe it or not we were given a really nice big rug for our entry way and a small rug for our kitchen without even asking anyone :D God provided for us, even though in a small way, it was a very cool miracle :)

Tonight I am going with a friend to Tel Aviv to a sports BBQ. I am thinking about suggesting a swim team/lesson that I could lead... but I'm kind of hesitant about it because of my education (can't let anything get in the way). We'll see what happens. I will most likely just eat and chat and then go back home :P

AND!! Kasey and I and a few friends decided to take a vacation (I know I know, we are already in Israel, hahaha) but we have booked a Hostel in Dahab, Egypt on the Red Sea in the Sinai Peninsula. We are praying for amazing weather :) We will be saying there for 4 nights and God willing have an amazing time :)

Thank you for all your continuous prayers. Please do not stop :)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Hello! A new blog will be posted soon :)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Praise item:

-Jon received a $1000 scholarship for the Spring Semester :)

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Boom Baby! I'z gotz my drivers a-license :D Maybe Tel-Aviv this weekend? NO Haifa!? NO Ashdod!! (all beaches btw).

It's too cold to swim (I would probably swim though)

-Jon

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Electricity and Anemia.

Hello, Blog Followers. Kasey here.

Thought it was about time for at least a teeny update.

School is going well for me. I've gotten into the groove of things and REALLY enjoy teaching.

Everything in our house has a fine layer of dirt on it at the moment, because when the guys who wired the electricity in our house originally set it up, they decided that the 4 apartments on our floor... well, obviously we don't need electricity enough for 4 apartments, but instead we can share one breaker that's meant for one apartment. Smart, huh?

Mr. Ross (superintendent) just found out about this and immediately got the electric company to come back in and fix it. They've spent the last two days lining the corners of our ceilings with tracks for the wiring. Mr. Ross came in today, said it was unacceptable, and now they have to put it in the walls. There's a giant chunk of stone cut out of one of our walls, and dirt everywhere. They're going to take probably about a week to finish it now. *sigh*

So that's the electrical side of things.

Saturday I came down with what felt like a very bad cold. On Friday we went out with some friends and wandered around the Old City and Ben Yehuda (a street near the Old City). By the end of the day I had an extremely bad headache. We got home after dark, and found that one of our volunteer couples had to move into our building immediately -- problems with the landlords and their papers -- so we rushed around packing their house up and moving them down. After that we went to the girls' apartment and all sat around drinking tea and talking. Jon and I went to Anna's apartment (Anna is our new awesome friend who just got here) for a little while, and then went home and to bed. My headache had subsided with the tea but came back as soon as we left.

In my experience, sleep fixes everything, so I expected to be all better on Saturday morning. Except I woke up with what seemed like a very bad cold with a headache, and that induced a migraine. I had to skip work and tried to sleep it off. Sunday I felt a little worse, and Monday I threw up first thing in the morning.

When I still wasn't any better today, Jon decided to take me to the doctor's. The doctor noticed right away that there was something very wrong, and he did some basic blood work to test my hemoglobin and my white blood cell count. My blood pressure was already extremely low. When they tried to draw blood from a vein in my right arm, they couldn't find the vein, even after some poking around. That's not totally unusual for me, so I didn't find it weird. But when they found a large vein and tapped into it... the vein filled up half a vial and then quit. Which I DO think is weird.

Turns out I have a white blood cell count of 7000. I can't remember my hemoglobin, but apparently it wasn't good. Apparently I'm extremely anemic and have a viral infection. The doctor gave me two injections, some iron pills, and a couple other pills for the infection. Woot woot. He also told me I HAVE to eat red meat.

Just so we're clear, my doctors have told me to eat lots of salt and red meat. I would laugh in your faces if the anemia didn't make me so tired.

So hopefully the injections will help me feel good enough tomorrow to go into work.

On a better note, Jon just found out he got a 95% on his final history paper from last semester!!! :D YEY!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

We really suck at this thing...

-Jon