Saturday, March 22, 2014

The lighter side

A subtitle for our trip to Israel might be "Expect the unexpected."  Although when you've never been to a country before, it's all pretty much unexpected.
I wanted to include some of the odder, more bizarre moments of our trip.  There were plenty of amazing, interesting and God-sized moments during our travels, and I'll get to those.  But we also laughed.  A lot.  Most of our laughs came from this guy: Arez.  He is an Israeli (having spent some time in the States... which was totally reflected in his humor.)  He has equal *opinions* of all people groups and what rubbed me the wrong way at first, became very endearing and helpful during some heaviness throughout the week.  The fact that he looked like a young Paul Simon made me chuckle at times too. 
I've never traveled as part of a tour group before.  We went with about 15 co-workers from AIA and another 25 co-workers from our parent organization, CRU.  It was a large group.  Have you ever traveled in a pack of 50?  Honestly, its the only way to see a place like Israel for the first time.  But oh my, after 7 days of waiting on *someone* to finish up in the bathroom or buy *another* souvenir or take *one more* photo in front of some old (really old) rock... I was a bit ready to independence.

 Steve and I found ourselves wandering around Jerusalem on several occasions (see the above about traveling in a herd.)  We came across this poster in the Jewish quarter of the Old City.  It made me laugh.  Really hard.  Oh, the irony!

I'm sad that I don't have a picture of this one, but it was BY FAR the most bizarre moments of my trip.  We were able to take a short boat ride on the Sea of Galilee.  We rode on a small boat that was a replica of a fishing boat that would have been used during Jesus' time.  As we shoved off on our short trip, all of a sudden the "captain" hoisted an American flag at the front of the boat which flew next to the Israeli flag.  A nice gesture, I suppose.  But then, from a loud speaker on the boat, began to play the Start Spangled Banner.  Okay?  And then we all stood and crossed our heart and began to sing the national anthem.  I don't know why but it just felt odd. Maybe a touch wrong? To be on a fishing boat, in the middle of Israel, reflecting on the life of my Savior, and singing to America.  Weird!  It made me giggle.  Hard!
You want to know another irony?  Or perhaps it's not exactly ironic, more like, just plain sad... Apparently it *never* rains in the desert.  Except the week we were there.  There was a record setting rain. And cold. The most rain in a few day period in 30 years, actually.  Lucky us.  It was 48 degrees and raining/hailing for most of our time in Jerusalem.  And guess what?  When you travel 1/2 way around the world to tour an ancient city of ruins and places that Jesus walked, you're going to walk.  Come hell or high water.  And higher water.

Speaking of high water, Steve and his buddies went for a float in the dead sea.  It was 55 degrees... there is no floating ANYWHERE that would be awesome enough for me to get in my suit and freeze.  So I took pictures.  Secretly, I'm totally jealous.  Oh well.

 And this sign?  Well... it's funny. 

Ps... we may be the only couple in history to have a marital spat at the entrance of the empty tomb.  We were waiting in line to enter the tomb that historians believe to be the one that Jesus' body was placed in after his crucifixion.  It's basically a small room carved into the side of a rock.  They allow six people into the tomb at a time.  The line was long as many people were taking a picture on their exit of the tomb.  Just before our turn to enter, a worker asked that, for the sake of time, people no longer pose for pictures as they enter or exit.  The long and the short of it - I am a rule follower.  We were asked to NOT take a photo.  Steve, REALLY wanted one of us to have a photo at the entrance.  We *might* have argued for a few moments about what to do.

 Guess who won? 

Our claim to fame.. the fighting couple at the sight of the resurrection.  Awesome.

In spite of the long travel, terrible weather, and rule breaking husband, it was an amazing trip. 

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