Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Two Fridays ago we had another Humanitarian Activity. The first time we did our humanitarian activity we made 800 school kits for local children. Additionally, we had a totally rad dance party, both while, and after, assembling the kits.

This time we were assembling hygiene kits. We had a goal of assembling 1500 in the two hours of the activity, in order to get us on track to beat the previous records of 10,000 total kits assembled in a semester. With this goal in mind, we made kits like no one’s business. I was rolling toothbrushes in towels so fast that my hands were literally chaffed by the end of the activity. We took no breaks, and our dancing was definitely tamed. Our line in particular was flying—we created an eventual backlog because the second groups couldn’t keep up with us. But, in the end, it was so worth it. We made a total of 3400 kits! Those other semesters ain’t got nothin’ on us.

That night we watched Alladin for our “Friday Night Movie.” I had forgotten how great of a movie it is. It’s particularly more enjoyable now though, having lived in the Middle East. I was able to identify with so many more of the jokes. Like when Genie says, “Wake up and smell the hummus!” …oh, like the hummus I have almost every day here? Or when the shopkeepers are trying to get Jasmine to buy their products; that’s literally exactly what they’re like. Super pushy, and selling products you don’t need for prices that are far too high. Dad would love the bargaining here. :)

That Sunday was another free day. We started off by attending an Armenian Orthodox service. Except that service isn’t exactly the right word, or, at least, it stirs up the wrong picture in the mind. A group of fifteen or so young men stood in the middle of the chapel and did call and response with the priest while everyone else sat in the back. The song/chants were almost hypnotic… or maybe that was just a side effect of the strong incense. Either way, it was a beautiful service and we enjoyed the foreign nature of it completely.

Outside the Armenian chapel

A close up
After the service, we embarked on an adventure to find good food—the best kind of adventure, in my opinion. We wandered around the Jewish quarter for half an hour looking for a donut place we had heard about, before talking to a British Jew selling candied almonds who told us that the donuts were no good. He did suggest a little bakery called Marzipan though, so we made our way there. After deliberating between various tantalizing treats, I settled on one of the best cream puffs I’ve ever had. We then left to wander some more of the Jewish quarter, before heading back to the Christian quarter to get some hummus that our Arabic teacher suggested. And wow, was it good. It had a different texture than any of the hummus I’ve at home, or even here for that matter. It was ridiculously smooth and flavorful, and the fresh, hot pitas we got to go with it only made matters better. 

The delicious pitas and hummus

In the restaurant

Devouring pitas
We then wandered some more around the Christian quarter, before heading back to the Center. On our way we were distracted by a man advertising milkshakes. It was a fairly warm day, and a milkshake sounded just like what we needed. We decided to split a large between the three of us, and I was more than happy to pay 5 shekels for my share of a milkshake. Or at least I would have been, if it had been a milkshake.  The liquid we received, however, was straight chocolate milk. The foam on the top did make it appear as if he had, quite literally, given our milk some shakes… making it a milk-shake of sorts. We were happy for the refreshment nonetheless.

Awkward picture with our "shaken milk"
Road sign to "Mormon University"
All the locals here call the Jerusalem Center Mormon University
Later that day we went to Hebrew University to upload some pictures and get some school supplies. This turned out to be more of an adventure than we had bargained for, however. Hebrew U has two book stores- One with textbooks, and one with school supplies. We found the one with textbooks, but after ten minutes or so of wandering, we decided to find a map to help us find our way. Well… we found a map. And if anything, it just confused us more. The only part of the sign that was in English was the title. Another way of saying that would be that the least useful part of the map was in English. While we were trying to decipher where we were even just standing on the map, we heard two students walk behind us speaking English. At this we all whipped around and proceeded to chase them down to ask where the book store was. We had significantly better results with this method. It was such a helpless feeling though to look for something and not be able to find it, and moreover, not being able to do anything about your helplessness.

Sarah and Becca looking clueless next to the useless map


  1. Hey Pretty Girl,

    Morgan's Kindle Fire came in today. Basketball divisionals are here, yesterday, today and tomorrow (isn't that an album name?), so he doesn't know it's in yet.

    Uncle Greg sent Annie a snare drum that just came in. Didn't come with ear plugs but it did come with a practice pad that lays on top of the drum and cuts the noise.

    Slava is jealous but is holding up. (Uncle Greg offered to buy him something, but we said not yet. He loses stuff too quickly right now.) Slava did his first book report, on "The Witches" by Roald Dahl. Do you remember the movie? It was a bag book report: into the bag went items that described the main characters (including a papier mache cigar we made & painted [Grandma smoked cigars]), setting and story. He did the report for us a few times. It was pretty fun.

    Morgan is having a couple friends over to spend the night. By now he's home & deep into his Kindle (which came fully charged, just like my camera).

    Speaking of which, I need to upload photos to my blog for you.

    I have a list of publishers to send "Revenge" to. Want to do that soon. Auditions for the play will be next week. Wish you were here to help me!

    So, what do you think about this plan to go straight to Vegas once you're off the plane? Right from holy to un-holy!

    Love you madly,


  2. PS Your milkshake experience reminded me of one we had in Sweden. Don't know if you remember, but a street cart advertised "Korv med pomme" or sausage and potatoes. I had in my head a delicious sausage with fries or chips. What we got was a regular hot dog with a scoop of instant mashed potatoes. Didn't taste very Swedish to me!

  3. Just sent a query letter to a literary agency for "Revenge of the Red Planet." I like this letter better than the last one I sent. Cross fingers!


  4. Annie's video is up. Hope it works. Will put up photos later. Love!


  5. Hey Sweetie, sorry you weren't able to access my blog. It is working. There's one video of Annie's dance, and one of her saying hi to you. The new camera doesn't put the photos and videos in the photo folder, so I have to find them under My Computer and if I try to play the video it shows up as an audio file in Windows media player. Weird. Just in case it helps: but anyway . . .

    Time for a haircut and some color. Don't notice roots but *oh!* my scalp is itchy.

    Annie finished Sorcerer's Stone! We're going to watch the movie tonight, then she'll start Chamber of Secrets. Slava started reading a Judy Moody book. Taking everyone to Subway tonight after Annie's dance. Even Morgan is coming. :-} He found time in his busy schedule for a $5-foot-long.



  6. Hey, my ACT scores came in so call me when you get a chance. I'll probably still be up at midnight, I think that's like 9 AM for you? Anyway try giving me a call if you see this before like 8 Montana time.