We got to spend some time in the Old City today, in between classes, and we decided to finish an assignment we had to visit David’s Citadel. It used to be David’s Palace and now it is a little museum of the history of Jerusalem. Very fun and informative, The best part was this little cartoon in Hebrew that went really fast though the chronology and it was crazy…all these little bible people scurrying on and off the screen and little crusaders and stuff.
After the citadel I had my first falafel in twelve years! It was delicious, of course. Another cool thing I ate today were the eggs from breakfast: they cooked them with fresh dill weed chopped up in them! Odd combination, right? I totally loved it! Definitely incorporating that one when I get home. There are spices everywhere, not only being sold in the city but just growing around town. At the citadel they had bushels of lavender growing like weeds. It smelled so divine!
In Arabic I learned that “Habibi” means “my love,” when spoken to a man. Good to know. Put that on the “never say in public” list. I also learned that, like Hebrew, they have a special suffix for duality and there are no vowels in the written language. We visited Shaban (one of the merchants) again today and his little boy, Mohammed, was there. Today was a holiday from school and the seven-year-old was “helping” is father around the shop. Mostly he just laughed and played around with us. He was adorable! He is already practicing salesmanship and he tried to sell me some jewelry. Instead I convinced him to get a picture with me. He is only seven and he doesn’t speak very good English but he did tell me that he is fasting for Ramadan even though he doesn’t have to at his age. That’s one tough little kid.
I was also introduced more fully to the life of the Mohammed in Near Eastern Civ. today. I know that God works through righteous men all over the world and in all eras. I am grateful to be able to study about him and glean what I can from his experience.
The best part of the day had to have been the concert tonight. While I was ushering I met an older Jewish couple, originally from New York, who had been living in Jerusalem for the past ten years. They were really interested in what I, as a student, had to say about the JC. They have been coming to concerts here for years but never once talked to a student, so I was glad to give them that opportunity. The community is very curious about us because they see that something is different. A tour guide in the citadel had us pegged as soon as she saw us. She said, “I know the Mormon girls because there are so modest and wholesome.” As we walk through the Christian quarter we are always hearing comments like, “There go the beautiful Mormon women!” Of course, those kinds are not directed to us in such a respectful way, and we never respond, but the amazing thing is that they really do recognize us. It brings to mind the scripture D&C 82:3 “For unto him whom much is given much is required”. I recognize that I have a legacy to uphold and I feel honored to be given the opportunity to do so.
The concert tonight was Brazilian Jazz! So flippin’ fun because I played violin in a jazz combo last semester and we did some Basso Nova. I stayed afterwards to talk to the musicians and we chatted about the different Brazilian beats and styles. They were so cool and encouraging…they even gave me a free CD before I left! I feel so blessed to be making such wonderful associations. It was a great day and a better night! Can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings.