I am sitting in a convent coffee lounge right now in Jerusalem listening to the sounds of the city thorough the open windows. I can hear a police siren off in the distance; a family next door celebrating some event (I think it is a birthday, but I don’t speak Hebrew—yet); the wind rustling through the ally; cars driving by; the occasional footstep of people in the ally below; a car horn honking at pedestrians who just crossed the street; two cats having a cat fight; and the Muslim call to prayer playing over the loud speaker from the mosque next door.
Oh, and the really whiny girl (not from our group, but also on a Study Abroad trip for the summer) on her laptop speaking very loudly to her boyfriend (maybe?) on Skype. I cannot describe to you in words how much whiny voices irritate me, but it is equivalent of God’s hatred of sin (okay, maybe not that bad). She is sitting here, complaining about how her trip is too long, and how five weeks is just too much on a twenty year-old (twenty years old!? REALLY!? I would have pegged her as fifteen by the way she was acting). She was saying how she just doesn’t like this place, and how it’s hard, and it’s hot, and how the food just isn’t good here, and how blah-blah-blah. I really want to go over there and slam her computer shut and say, “Look, you are twenty years old! Grow up! This is a Study Abroad trip for you! This is a foreign country—the Middle East of all places! Of course it is hot over here! Of course the food is different! Of course people walk everywhere over here! What did you think this was going to be, a vacation? Why not instead of complaining about how horrible it is, why not make it a learning experience and learn some appreciation for the people who live over here and not think only of yourself and your discomfort, hm?” But that would be very cruel, rude, arrogant, and rather sinful of me. The Holy Spirit in me quickly calmed the frustration and I relaxed. So anyway, back to the city:
It is so interesting how this city works. If you don’t know how the Old City of Jerusalem is laid out, let me give you a very brief sketch. There are four areas known as Corridors inside the Old City walls. There is the Armenian, Muslim, Christian, and Jewish Corridors, each labeled by the majority of people living in that section.
Yet where I am staying breaks the traditional “segregation” that the Corridors provide because I am living in a Roman Catholic convent in the middle of the Muslim Corridor. How does that work? I don’t know. I don’t ask, I am just thankful I have a place to stay that is rather nice.
It is very interesting the architecture here. The city is so crammed, the allys are narrow and people just keep building up. The buildings make no archetecural sense; they have multiple floor and various staircases leading to each level. I plan on making a video so you can see. You should be able to view it here. (Coming Soon)
Most people who are on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem stay outside the Old City in the New City in some fancy Marriott Hotel or something, so I am grateful to be right in the middle of the action—in the middle of history—as I stay in this very odd building. I feel it is so important not to just take the stereotypical tours but to really explore the full aspects of the city.
Jerusalem has provided me with a split view. On the one hand, this cities rich history has me love struck—I could live here if I really wanted to. The bizarre architecture and just how the city looks also captivates me and draws me in. I am quickly falling in love with city.
But then something happened to break me of my city-crush… a group of guys starts whistling at my girlfriend and some of our other girls in our group saying, “Come here baby and lets _____.” One guy started to advance on my girlfriend when her back was turned on our way to the convent and I jumped between them and gave him the death glare of his life. He backed off and stopped laughing. His friends sobered up too when they realized I was serious. I didn’t have to say anything; I just gave them the glare and walked on.
Why are people like that? I know this isn’t only a Jerusalem thing. I know that other cities have that same problem. *le sigh* It just irritates me to no end. It just was not a great way to be introduced to Jerusalem.
I will let the rest of the week decide for me what I think of the city, but I am sure I will love it. Tomorrow, we have a very busy day. But tonight, I am considering doing some parkour on the rooftops around the city like Jason Bourne… Nah, not really. Just joking. Goodnight!
Following His Call,