Friday, December 16, 2011

We are here!!

So my Christmas vacation began a few days ago and has been a whirlwind ever since. On Tuesday, I finished finals and then finished last minute packing and cleaning and then Nana and I drove up to Bountiful to stay the night at Grandpa's so he could take us to the airport in the morning. We got up bright and early Wednesday morning and headed out, getting all 4 bags checked in and we didn't have any problems with security or anything. We got to our gate at about 8:30 and had to wait until our flight which was at 11:10. We were told that the flight was a completely booked flight but somehow we lucked out and ended up being the only two on our row so we had three seats to use to spread out on. Boy was that nice. We got to New York a little early which was nice since JFK airport is so massive! Since I was traveling with Nana, we were able to get on one of those little carts that drive you around to your gate. We got there and Gate 6 was SO busy and loud I thought I was going to go crazy. I finally went around the corner where it was a little quieter and found a place to charge my phone and computer while we waited. Then it was time! We got pre-boarding so we were the first ones on the plane, which was the biggest plane I have even seen in my life. There were two engines on either wing and First class was upstairs! It was so crazy. We flew up the Boston coast for awhile and then headed over the Atlantic Ocean into complete darkness. We flew over Greenland (which we could see the massive snow caped mountains) and England, the Greek Isles, Ireland, and a few other places before we descended on the Mediterranean Sea into the Tel Aviv airport that is right off the coast. Boy was it quiet in that airport and HOT in Tel Aviv. We were seating at the front of the airplane so we were able to be one of the first ones off which meant we could go through Passport Control before all of the hoards of people lined up. Our luggage came surprisingly fast which was nice because we were both so tired. We meandered our way through customs and then found Eric, where we had a lovely little reunion and then headed out the the car so we could go to Jerusalem! It has been such a crazy experience being here already. On our way from the airport, we stopped at a couple of overlooks to view the city and the Judean Desert. It is just so vast an amazing I can hardly believe it. We finally arrived at the Jerusalem Center where the BYU students were packing up to leave because their semester was over. It was so crazy busy when we arrived but pretty fun. Eric and Sam took us on a tour around the Center while some students went out and got all of our luggage. That was so nice because I was so tired of carrying around 200 pounds of suitcases not including our carry ons! We sat around and talked for awhile, and had amazing Lemon Chicken for dinner, hung our for a while, did Christmas, and then FINALLY we were able to go to bed. I was so exhausted that as soon as I laid down I fell asleep. I slept until 9:30 this morning and yet I am still so tired. It was a slow morning since Sam and Rachel were at school and Eric and Elaine had a meeting, but as soon as they got back we went out on a driving tour around Jerusalem. We went up to the Mount of Olives and took in the view and then we went around the city a little bit (by car) to see a few sites. The Muslims were at Friday Prayer so we could hear that but also we saw all of their insane parking along and ON the sidewalks. On our way back we stopped for pizza and then had a unique mini shopping experience at the grocery store. Tonight we are having Thai Food for dinner (Americans eating Thai Food in Israel? hmm... haha) and just relaxing while we adjust to the nine hour time difference. 
And for your viewing pleasure... the beginning of my hoards of pictures and videos that will be taken over the next three weeks!

Go here to view videos of our arrival through Israel and at the JC!

or visit Eric's Blog to see other updates, pictures, and videos!