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.
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!
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.
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.