Hey, everyone!
I just decided that since I've had a pretty interesting past as far as blogs go, I might as well share an experience or two of my life while I lived in Jerusalem, Israel! I lived there twice, each time for a year. My father was one of the professors chosen to teach BYU students in a study abroad program in Jerusalem, so our family got to tag along! I was there for my second grade year, (7-8 years old) and for my junior year of high school. (16-17 years old). Just have to say, it was one of the best experiences of my life. I don't remember much of when I was there the first time, so I will reminisce in my junior year.
    I was a little culture-shocked at first, hesitant to try any new foods, or leave our apartment, but my older brother Matt was more adventurous. He was always trying to get me to come to the Old City with him. We would go, look at all the little shops, spend our shekels on jewelry, candy, and what-not. I always felt safe. I never felt like I was in danger in the Old City. My brother was only a little taller than me, but he was one ripped kid. I knew he would protect me. Thankfully, he never had to.
    I loved the school I went to! I attended the A.I.S.J. The Anglican International School of Jerusalem. It was the same school I went to ten years before. It was like walking through a memory. I remembered things I had done a decade before. Going to the library and sitting in the little corner in the back to read a book, sitting on the lawn and eating lunch with my classmates outside, buying mentos from the student store with my allowance. I did all those things again. Only I was two feet taller this time. It was like looking at my past through new eyes. Like dreaming of a place, and then being able to walk through it in real life.
    I miss that place. It's been three years, almost four, since I was there. I wish I could go back all the time. Do all those things I did again. I knew I was enjoying myself while I was there, but I wish I had enjoyed it more. I suppose I could never get enough of that place, even if I spent my whole life there. It was so different than where I live now. Every day there was an amazing new adventure. I got to travel with my father as he took the college students on tours of Galilee and Jordan. I got to walk where Indiana Jones walked, where Neil Armstrong walked, where Christ walked.
    A year is too short to live in a place like that. Everyone needs to spend time there, get a feel for the culture. I was a shy little nobody when I went there. My high school back home had more than a thousand people in it every day. It was easy to disappear. My grade in Jerusalem consisted of thirteen people, including myself. It was impossible to go unnoticed. There was no drama, either. My classmates were all from different parts of the world. Finland, Nepal, Africa, Austria, and even London. Everyone was so different that we were all the same. We were all friends. We all had different backgrounds, and we would all share who we were with everyone else. It was a fantastic eye-opener for me. I came back to America as a totally different person. I wasn't shy anymore. Jerusalem changed me for the better.    This is a picture of me with my school mural. As part of an art project while I went to school there, I got permission to paint a mural on a wall of the school. I'm all shnazed up because I was in a talent show that night when my parents took this picture. I see this picture and it makes me wonder. Is my mural still on that wall? I hope it is.
    Anyways, I highly suggest that everyone who wants to should take a semester and study abroad over there. It is totally worth every penny and more!!