Yep, that's right. Count 'em. Two hours of Old Testament, two hours of Ancient Near East, and two hours of Palestine. Six. Hours. But now it is over, and I am feeling so liberated I could sing. this next week is our trip to Turkey--which means that I don't have to sit through another class period for over a week. Hallelujah!
Of course, the six hours did end with the announcement that the Old City and East Jerusalem are off limits because of clashes and demonstrations (no thank you to the makers of the insulting movie about Islaam--nothing but trouble). That plus the fact that tomorrow is Shabat, which means that East Jerusalem is about to close down... well, I guess I'm staying in today. So here I am a-blogging, and soon I will go downstairs and listen to Katie play her harp. Maybe I will also work out in the gymn or walk around the grounds or take a nap. I definitely want to read some more Israeli folk tales--I want to pick one to tell for the next talent show. I think it will be a very good day after all.
It has been already, in spite of the long class periods. My day was jump-started when I woke up and realized that my clock said 7:05 (breakfast starts at 7). Whoops. My dad says that when your body really needs sleep it takes it--so I guess my early mornings finally caught up with me, at least for an extra forty-five minutes. My only consolation was that when I woke up Katie was still asleep in the bed next to me, so we could enjoy our frantic race for clothes and makeup and toothbrushes together. Classes went alright, and then lunch was very pleasant. Now the afternoon will be pleasant too--not what I had expected, but good all the same.
I forgot to tell you one of my upsides from yesterday. I had got home from the city, read Old Testament like crazy for an hour, and was then tired and more than a little stressed (I hereby confess that I did not finish my reading for today in any of my classes. I am at peace with it, though--I ended up being better prepared than I thought I would be). I made myself decent and came up to the Oasis towards the end of the dinner hour to find Brother Bench (part of our housing service couple) waiting there for me with a letter from my wonderful cousin Amanda. She had written me a cheerful letter in her usual beautiful handwriting and shipped it with three stamps from her home in Washington DC. She told me a little about how things were stateside and inquired about my welfare among other things (such as whether I had yet seen any camels. And the answer is yes, I have). It made my day. It got a pretty good reaction from my roommates as well ("Look at that writing--it's a font!"). Thanks, Amanda.
I can't tell you all how much I love it here. The windows are filled with light and the halls are filled with music. As I write this, I am listening to one of the students playing a beautiful contemporary piece on the piano in one of the nearby classrooms. During out-of-class hours, there is nearly always somebody playing the piano or singing songs, and I have jumped in on several occasions to join in the songs or just to enjoy the beauty someone else can create. Katie is playing with the ward choir in the morning (an obligatto of her own composition while the choir sings "Come Thou Fount). I can't wait to hear it. The celtic harp is different from the concert grand I'm used to (spoiled a little? Yes.), but it's enough to make me remember how much I have missed hearing Katie play.
Tonight is another Friday night movie--Gallipoli. We get to visit Gallipoli while in Turkey, so we are watching the film before we go so we will appreciate what we are seeing when we get there. I know a lot less about WWI than I would like, so I am really looking forward to it. When my family went to Gettysburg I was very grateful that we had watched the film beforehand. I know that the real battle didn't have a dramatic score in the background, but it gave me a feel for the background and overall scope of the battle,and thus a greater appreciation for it when I got there. I think Gallipoli will be a similar experience. It will be a great film and a great experience to stand on the shores and pay my respects to the fallen of both sides.
And really, no matter what movie it is, the Friday night movie is a good time. I am looking forward very much to spending a night lounging in the forum with friends for a good time and a good show. My friend Eleisha and I are planning to show up sporting our genie pants. I can't wait.
Yom Tov! (Good Day!)