Originally published September 3, 2009
After many conversations with the silly airline that forgot the little red suitcase, the owner was thrilled to hear that it had finally made its way to Israel. However, it was due to arrive on campus on the day that she would be away and that posed a big problem. If she missed it she would have to trek to Tel Aviv, something she was not looking forward to. And there was a possibility it would arrive but she would not get it until Sunday, another unhappy prospect. So she thought long and hard, as she missed her little red suitcase very badly.
Finally she came up with a brilliant plan: if the office received the bag that day, it would send it to the guard post and she would pick it up there. After a few calls during the day and the help of some kind people, she heard that the suitcase was there waiting for her. As she got off the bus, her heart filled with joy when she saw her little red suitcase waiting patiently for her at the station. She gave it a tour of the dormitories and unpacked it to get it ready for other adventures soon.
Hopefully this is the end of any solo tours by the little red suitcase, but only time (and luck) will tell.
Yup, it’s back! I am so so happy. I was really starting to need some sunblock, other clothing and a few select toiletries (like nail clippers and bobby pins). Everything worked out fine in the end, and I am happy as a clam. Well, we also had a great day in the field today, so that might be part of it.
We started out early, meeting the bus at 7:30am, and went to Tzippori. It’s where they think the Virgin Mary and Joseph might have lived, and it’s now the site of an archeological dig. There were lots of really cool mosaics on the floors of what used to be the house and it had a lovely view of all the land around it. As we walked around our professor, Yisrael, gave us a running commentary about everything from the trees we passed by (date, olive and fig) to the sarcophagus in the middle of the town.
After, we bussed up to Nazareth, where we toured in the Church of the Annunciation. That’s where Mary was visited by the angel and was told she was going to have Jesus. It was a lovely church, built over where her house was thought to have been, with art pieces from many countries. It was large and next to it was an archeological dig of where they found some houses, one they thing was Mary’s.
We moved on soon as we were quite hungry by then and we were having lunch at the next town, Sefad (pronounced sv-AT). Traffic was bad due to Ramadan (lots of businesses closed early) so we all fell asleep on the ride over and woke up to lunch. We went to this great falafel place where it was made right in front of us. We walked around a little, and then walked up a high hill. Safed is where the 1948 Arab-Israeli war took place, and we heard all about the history. It was a 5-day war, which seems short but it was quite intense. We walked by the police station, which had bullet holes all over the place, and up the hill to a memorial for the general who led the war on the Israeli side. Yisrael told a very captivating rendition of the life story of that general, and then we walked through the town.
Safed is very orthodox, to begin with, and it was really interesting to see the kids running all around with their curls and long pants on a hot day, and to see the older men with black overcoats. The women were very modestly dressed and the houses were simple. It was a nice place, but apparently they look down on people who are not as religious as they are. We did not have any bad experiences with them, luckily. We visited a bunch of synagogues and learned a lot about the traditions that they hold. For example, the women are still separated from the men in church, often on the upper level, in the back or sides. We had to cover our shoulders when we went inside, and the guys had to wear yarmulkes. We did some shopping in the art market after our many history lessons, but I resisted from buying the really cool and probably very expensive menorah that caught my eye. My plan is to wait for a sale around Hanukkah.
During the whole day we learned a lot about the history, reviewed a lot of what we’ve already learned, and had a lot of fun. It was the first time that we, as a class, got to really hang out and get to know each other. We would hang out in groups of two and three at each site (informal groups), and then at the next we would hang out with other people; we all rotated around getting to know everyone. It was a lot of walking and a lot of listening, but the lessons were fascinating and I only got a little sun.
We got back, I cooked some good pesto pasta and now I’m happily unpacking my suitcase and enjoying the fact that I actually have a choice of what shirt to wear.
Tomorrow we don’t have class, so I’m going to the beach! Yes, I’ll use lots of sunblock (for those who are worried about my skin) and will have a blast for sure. I’ll load up some pictures from today later tomorrow at some point, and maybe some beach pictures too.
Oh and I started using the Rosetta Stone Hebrew version and wow it’s great! I did about an hour of it and already I’m learning a lot. I’m learning how to hear simple Hebrew words, say them, read them and write them. I have a long way to go, but it’s helped me to feel a lot better about not knowing Hebrew because I’m learning fast!