Today was a good day to recover from the sunburns we got on the fieldtrip yesterday. Six hours of class and eight hours of reading! In the words of Sharon Creech, “My brain feels like a squashed pea.” (Heather, are you reading this?) We met two more of our teachers today: the Jewish, Ophir Yarden and Palestinian-Christian, Adnan Musseni. They teach Modern Near Eastern Studies in Judaism and Islam respectively. Free time just dropped to nil but that being said, I am a true believer that the more we learn about the history, culture, geography, politics and theology of the area the more rich our experiences will be. We’re going for quality sightseeing, not quantity. I just wish they would apply that concept to the work load but it looks like we will be expected to read an average of 200+ pages a day with our combined classes. My creative, hands-on, music major mind has some whiplash but I’m sure I’ll adjust soon enough.
The most cultural experience I had today was dinner where I ate the best taboule on this side of the planet! It had pomegranate seeds in it! Pomegranates harvested, by the way, from trees here at the center. No big deal, just meander outside; pick a pomegranate; eat and study in a slight breeze while overlooking the city. Did I say I was sick of studying? I forgot. I’m in Jerusalem! They also had stuffed artichoke hearts. The sweetest part (besides dessert) is that most of the kitchen staff is Muslim and they are fasting for Ramadan everyday while making our meals. Again I am struck by the fierce dedication. We are fed out of pure love!