Monday, October 5, 2009

1 Year!

I have officially lived in Jerusalem, Israel for a whole year now. I can hardly believe it. Has it really been a year since that horrific plane ride? I remember when I first got here I would think about what it will feel like once a whole year has passed. It didn't seem like it could ever become reality. My mind was still in America with my family, friends, and a Walmart in every town. I used to long for all the things I left behind. My regular dreams at night were often about being in a Target store, and those dreams haunted me once I would wake up.

But now all that seems so silly to me. I love it here.

Some things that used to seem weird but that I'm completely used to now, include....

- wild, disgusting cats everywhere I look.
- there is no such thing as one-stop shopping. If I need an extension cord, milk, envelopes, and band-aids, I better plan on a whole day of shopping because I will have to go to four different stores, on opposite sides of the city, all by bus (or on foot).
- constant fireworks at night. Big, loud, wake-you-up-at-night fireworks.
- people here don't seem to have a concept of racism or discrimination. People openly talk about their hatred for people different than them.
- BIG guns.
- milk sold in bags.
- little to no rain.
- no customer service.
- when planning a fun day out with the family, we choose from possibilities like the Garden Tomb, Megiddo, Gethsemane, Masada, and the Dead Sea.
- metal detectors.
- overlooking the Old City and the Dome of the Rock during sacrament meeting.
- baking cookies in a toaster oven.
- no air conditioning.
- dirty looks from strangers.
- starting most conversations with, "Do you speak English?"

I remember having almost no concept of what all the discord in the Middle East was about, despite the coverage on the news. None of it made sense to me because I couldn't visualize the different countries, religions, and people. But now I see it all with a new eye. I have a new appreciation for minorities, the possibility of war, and the reality of fear. These things can be hard to swallow, but I have a new empathy for people here and I am grateful for that.

I will forever be grateful for the small presence of the LDS church here. We love our little branch like family. We get together for holidays, birthdays, and Sabbath dinners. We serve each other, love each other, and appreciate each other. It's the way the church should be everywhere.

Best of all, Tom and the kids have never meant so much to me. We have experienced all of this together. It has been a great year.

Western Wall
Western Wall


Diamond said...

Thank you for sharing your year with all of us. I love reading about your life and every day there.

Shane and Geana said...

I am not sure how you feel, but I feel like that flew by. Man life passes us by way to fast. It has been so nice to read about your adventures. If you did not have this blog I would be so out of touch with your life, maybe an occasional e-mail, but this is just awesome to read. Thanks, and good luck with the next year!!!

Brooke Stoneman said...

I may never go back to a regular oven, in fact. I think the toaster oven is a fine invention.

Can I just say that we love you guys? You have made our transition SO much easier than it probably should have been. You up for Settlers this weekend? Wednesday or Thursday?

Devon said...

I love your blog too!

Congrats on making a year, and thriving!!

ted1207 said...

I am absolutely not biaed, and of course you're all awesome as always, and my heroes too, even Tom.
Crampa B

ted1207 said...

Biased, biased, biased, you goofball

Alexandra said...

Congratulations Amy!, and with children - it really is quite the accomplishment! I loved reading your list of things you've gotten used to, haha, I empathized with every one. Thanks for a delightful post!

Erin said...

I can't believe a year has already gone by. I still remember reading about your plane ride over and feeling sooooooooo bad for you. Well you survived a year. What an accomplishment!!! Your kids are so adorable.