Sunday, September 25, 2011

the other blogs

Sometimes it is really helpful to have close friends with blogs because they also share an account of what is going on in your own life.  Once again, if you want to know what is going on in my life (only interesting and with pictures)  Whitney's blog is probably the most accurate. 
Professor Huntsman's blog is also a great resource. :)  If you want to know about the most wonderful person on earth check out Jesse's Posterous. 


Last week we travelled all over Turkey and it was an amazing week! Turkey is sooooo different than anywhere I have ever been and I loved many things about it but was also very excited to come back to Jerusalem.

-Squatting Toilets: these were the biggest disappointment about Turkey. After we would be traveling on the bus for what would seem like forever, we would find a wc, pay our 1 TL and open the stall to find just a hole in the ground with no toilet paper. Seriously? I want to know the cost difference between that and an actual toilet. Also, does anyone know how you get into this business? It seems like a great idea. You buy a nasty building, most likely for pretty cheep, and then put some holes in the ground and charge people to use it.

-Olives for breakfast:  breakfast here was bread, hotdogs, cucumbers, and olives.  Needless to say, we ate a TON of bread.  I don't think I will have another piece for the rest my life.
-Grand Bazaar:  The largest Bazaar in the World!  Unfortunately, I unintentionally offended every shopkeeper I came into contact with there.  They apparently didn't like my bartering style. 

-Cartoon Hotel in Istanbul the first night and it was quite the hotel. (Yes, there were loony tunes and disney characters everywhere in the hotel) That night, we took a trip into the city and found the worlds best baklava according to our tour guide Fahti. 

-Topkapi Museum and it was so incredible! There is this really funny mix of Islamic and Rococo architecture and I really enjoyed seeing my favorite styles mixed. I don't know if they really go together, but that's ok.  The infamous Blue Mosque was also part of that day and it was breath taking.
-  I am aware that there was a bombing in Turkey while we were there, and we were completely safe. The Turkish people were very happy and much less conservative than they are here in Jerusalem.  It was very common to see non-tourist couples on dates and there was even a little PDA going around.  Somehow that made me feel like I was home in Provo.

-Assos: one of the most beautiul places I have ever been.

-Kusadasi:  we had a huge mormon dance party/bonfire on the beach.  There were a couple of local guys in their early 20's that joined the group and I'm pretty sure it was a strange experience for them.

-Perganon/seat of satan:  Our tour guides said that they had never seen it rain before in September there, but as we were exploring the Alter of Zeus it started pouring, and not for like a minute, but for a really really long time.  It was so cool and it made all the ruins of the temples like 10 times cooler because of all the thunder and lightning going on. 
Picture being on top of a huge mountain surounded by alters with the storm raging.  Way cool.

Apple Tea: Soooo good!  Everyone drinks tea like crazy around Turkey.  That and smoke their hasheesh.  But they served us the herbal Apple Tea and it reminded me of home.  Definitely packed some for the States. 

Cotton Castle:  Incredible hotsprings!  Our hotel had a huge spring right in the middle and we had a great mudbath! 

Ephesis: What the place!  It was really cool to see where Paul taught for 3 years.

Bursa:  so beautiful! 

CATS!!!!!!!!!!!:  There are thousands of cats here!  It became a game of who could find the most cats and get there picture.

 Overall, it was wonderful!  I hope to travel back there with Jess and take the time to thoroughly enjoy the beautiful cities. :)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Drinking from a Fire hydrant

Hey Everyone!

Basically, we are soooo busy!  We have so much homework and then this huge desire to be out in the city so between the two, there isn't a lot of time for blogging.  But fortunately for all of you, homegirl Whitney is really good about blogging and we are usually together 90% of the time, so if you click
here you will probably get a pretty good idea of what I've been doing. 

Like every other BYU student I also like to claim being the "first" for something: the first food poisoned individual of our group!  It wasn't the most pleasant experience but it was over within 24 hours. 

The next day I went to Tel Aviv with a group and it was fantastic!  We swam and enjoyed the mediterranean, but noticed that the definition of swimsuit over here has a more open definition than in the states.  Some of us went over to Jaffa and that was super fun!  It is the oldest port in the world and extremely beautiful!

Saturday, September 10, 2011


Apparently, we have a blast in Jerusalem.  Today I started a "football" game with a group of palestinian boys and it was so cool to see how easy it is to play with kids that don't speak your same language.  Granted, they thought we were really dumb that we didn't know the exact rules of their game, but I think we all had a great time! 
p.s These are not the boys we played with, but I thought it was an effective visual aid/

Thursday, September 8, 2011


This post is probably out of context with the rest of my blog but it is something that I have been thinking about a lot lately while studying here and being in the old city.

Today, we had a class that was on looking past the Islam stereotypes and being aware of peoples differences.  It was extremely interesting to see how confused the class was.  They were very confused as to the language to not be politically incorrect and how to be sensitive and aware of other people without offending them.  It occured to me sitting there that the reason this is so difficult is because most of our generation does not practice this in their everyday lives.  We spend endless hours in history class learning about the mistreatment of the black peole in the south.  This is not to say that those events were not horrible or irrelevant, but I am saying that they are wasted on our youth.  These kids may understand that those events were awful and that the abuse that they went through was wrong.  Yet, these same kids turn around and say things like "stupid asian" or ostricize the hispanic kids at their school and make crude jokes about them.  These same kids can't hear the other side of a political argument, saying that President Bush was an "idiot" or that all democrats are "retarded."  These kids say that religion is "controlling and for foolish blind, followers" or that those without it are going to burn in hell forever and ever.  These kids make fun of the gay kid at school because they believe it to be wrong or unnatural or creepy; they also yell at the people who are for traditional marriage; they push their lifestyle onto people that are uncomfortable by it.  What I'm saying is basically this:  our "culture" doesn't listen to other people.  I know that I have definately been ignorant in the past and still am.  I have said things or thought things that are not correct, and more importantly, not kind.  Throughout every class I have the following concept flowing through my mind:

27 ¶ But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you,
28 Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.
29 And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloke forbid not to take thy coat also.
30 Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again.
31 And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.

I am proud of my beliefs and believe them to be correct and my daily practices to be good.  But, I am learning everyday that they way other people think, worship, and live are also correct.  My goal in being over in the holy land is to seek the truth and good from these cultures and incorporate them into my own way of daily living.  I would encourage you all to do the same because we can find truth all around us.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Are you Miss Leslie or Miss Universe?

Greetings!  Things have been super busy here in Jerusalem.  Sorry to not have kept any of you updated, but I am great and very safe.  Honestly, the city is beautiful.  Don't get me wrong, it is so dirty (aparently there are NO garbage cans in the city, and you just make trash piles along the sides of the roads and then once the pile is the size of the house, men come take it away...very strange to me) and covered in grafitti and there are a lot of overwhelming human smells mingled with that of dead animals.  But it also has the most beautiful buildings, religions, shops, food, and especially people.  Everyone is LOVING us mormons!  We can't swing a dead cat without hitting someone that will call out to us "Mormons!  Come into my shop!  We love Mormons!"  But at the same time, Whitney and I had our first run in with pick-pockets, but we outsmarted them and we were totally fine.  I love it here. :)

Things that happened today:

-Accidentatly wondered into a jewish elementary school durring recess and got hit by a soccor ball.
-Read 40 pages of articles...have about another 80 to go.
-Ate falafel at a stand that advertised "very good falafel."
-May or may not have been ripped off in the purchase of a really cool Jerusalem tile.  10 shekles?
-Accidentaly mistook a Jew for a Muslim...whoops
-Went to dome of the beautiful!
-Sported a very adorable fanny pack.
-Went to the church of the Holy Seplechure.
-Went to the wailing wall, late walked on the wailing wall.
-Was asked "Are you Miss Leslie or Miss Universe?"
-Visited Mary's tomb.
-Passed by the Garden of Gethsemene.
-Biked 8 miles.
-Figured out how to make a phone call with a phone card. 
-Took 2 showers...I seem to sweat a lot more here. It seems that my shoulders even sweat here.
-Had a marvelous time!

Peace and blessings