Hello everyone. Here we are in Jerusalem just after a week and starting to feel a little at home. We've already done so much and yet there is still so much to do. Here's an update thus far. I've mentioned a little about our apartment but here's a little more...we're on the fourth and highest floor of our building, which definitely made moving in a little tricky. Fortunately we can lock up our stroller at the bottom staircase because otherwise that would be a pain to drag up and down. The chariot stroller is working so well here. We wouldn't want anything else because there really is no such thing as a smooth road. The apartment is a two bedroom, one bath (although the toilet is in a separate room by itself), living room/dining room together, and good sized kitchen with a bar countertop. Our favorite feature is probably the two balconies...one off the living room and one off of our bedroom. At about 4/5 p.m. we can open both up and let the breeze from the Mediterranean fill the apartment. It sounds dreamy...and in a way is...but that breeze just cools the apartment off to about 80 degrees instead of 90 or so. It's been 100+ all of the days we've been here thus far. We're adjusting to the heat pretty well.
Denyon has done pretty well despite all of the changes. Just as we landed though he started getting his front two teeth which has not helped. They're now peeking through but he hasn't slept well since we've been here. There are a lot of noises in the mornings too that probably wake him up early. I tried to tell him this morning that I don't do 6:30 a.m. but he didn't seem to understand. We're hoping he'll get back to his 8 a.m. wakeup before too long. Otherwise, he seems to love the new adventure.
So far, we've explored our neighborhood of Baka which is very nice. It's south (slightly southwest) of the old city and JUC. It takes us about 25 minutes to walk to campus and about 35-40 to walk to the old city...depending on which gate we enter. There is a nice park a block away from our neighborhood, and about a 15-minute walk is a beautiful promenade that has an amazing outlook where you can see the whole city of Jerusalem from Mt. Scopus to the Old City to the Mt. of Olives. It's amazing! There are lots of nice shops, supermarkets, and restaurants nearby and all within 15-20 minutes of walking distance.
We have explored the old city both on our own and with a class at JUC. Denyon and I were allowed to join Brad and his class on a walking tour of the old city which was very nice. Denyon did great and soaked it all up. During that trip, we visited the supposed room of the Last Supper, the Church of the Resurrection, the four various quarters of the city (Jewish, Muslim, Armenian, Christian) and were introduced to the man who will become our primary money changer. His name is Shaban and he has a great relationship with JUC. Most of the students use him to change their money from dollars to shekels and we will do the same. He is the fairest rate which is currently about 3.5 shekels/dollar.
I have already made three friends who all have children so that's a great connection. I met up with them at a park and it was great. One lives just a block away.
Also, Brad and I are planning on going on a day long hike in the Golan Heights sponsored by JUC. We were able to find someone to watch Denyon...a wife of one of Brad's classmates. We've heard the hike is one of the best you can do in Israel and that's next weekend.
As for this weekend, we're heading up to Galilee. We will leave Thursday and return on Saturday. We're looking forward to getting our feet in the same soil where Jesus taught again. Brad was there this past June but it's been two summers since I've been and obviously Denyon has never been. We can't wait!
Another bonus is that I am able to audit one class per semester for free! I have decided to take Biblical Archaeology with Gaby Barkay (one the the best archaeologists). Brad is also taking this class so we found a student who is studying abroad from Wheaton College that offered to babysit during the three hour block on Friday mornings. I have not met her yet but Brad tells me she's a lot like our regular babysitter at home--Erica. If that's the case we're in great hands. I am very excited about the opportunity to take the class and will very much enjoy the two day-long field trips associated with it.
Brad is busy now doing some homework but he is planning on tomorrow posting about his classes and how he thinks his experience will be. He came home today loving his first three classes and I know he's very excited about the semester.
Well, I can't think of much else for now. We'll keep you posted and Brad will post some pictures tomorrow as well. We love you all. Have a great night!