Thursday, April 9, 2009

Because I am down to only TWO WEEKS left here in the Holy Land (I'm already having to fight back the tears), I refuse to spend a large portion of my remaining time blogging; sorry everyone. So instead, I don't want to just leave ya'll hangin, especially since I went to Galilee!, I am just posting random pictures from the last couple of weeks with a caption. Contact me in two weeks for elaboration of events...
This is obviously not in Galilee. This sunday was Palm Sunday so we went to a Lutheran service processional, and later in the day we went to the real Palm Sunday walk and made our way from Bethphage to Lion's Gate in the old city with 50,000 other people. It was a really great day. It was so fun to see so much celebration here in honor of our Savior's triumphal entry to the Holy Land... it was pretty awesome I'd say.


Girl Fun on the beach right before our bonfire! Bonfires on the sea of Galilee... *sigh*

Stephen Wilkenson and I among the raging tempest on the Sea of Galilee

Caeserea Philippi waterfall

Frolicking in the Golan Heights

Church at the Tiberias branch building, it was gorgeous with a perfect view of the Galilee. These are all the fabulous girls in my group!

Oh yea... I ate that. We went to this fish restaurant on the Galilee and ate the "Galilee-Saint Peter" fish. I had to cover the fishes eyes with my napkin though, it was watching me...

Saturday, March 21, 2009


So this week and part of last week was all study all the time... well sort of. We have taken six tests in the last two weeks. By the middle of this week, we were starting to get a little crazy. Wednesday we finished class before lunch and had the whole afternoon free to study for a final the next day in our Judaism class. Some friends I were just sitting around during lunch and thought it'd be a great idea to study outside... at the beach... in Tel Aviv. This was at about 1 o'clock already and it takes an hour to get there from the center. So we made quick arrangements, changed clothes and headed for the coast. I mean, I thought it sounded like a good idea. Funny though, we didn't really study much.
The beach was beauuuuutiful. It was a little chillier than I wanted it to be, but fun nonetheless. We did have some educational fun, however. We made a sand Herod's temple along with the complex surrounding the temple with accurate steps leading up to the temple. Then we filmed the second temple destruction. I mean what better kind of studying could you do? Then we went out to eat and walked around Old Joppa. We saw a whale dedicated to Jonah, since Joppa is where he left from before the whale got 'im. Somehow we even ended up in a wedding march and had to get out of it... fun times kickin it in Joppa.

Of course, who can go to the beach here without getting a little gelato? All in all, it was a great day, and waaaaay better than studying.


Day in Bethlehem...
We spent our morning in Bethlehem on Tuesday at Bethlehem University learning about the Palestinian/ Israeli conflict from the students there and getting their perspective. I met one of the students Bassel and he told me all about his studies there and what they do for fun. It was really interesting. He lives in Jerusalem and he has to wake up at 5:30 everyday so that he can get through checkpoint to make it to class by 8:30. The separation wall surrounds Bethlehem so it was interesting just getting in for us. Anyway, after our time at Bethlehem University, we ate at this restaurant in a tent. It was AWESOME. The food was great and weird things were going on with nuns smoking hookha... weird. Then we went to the cave were Christ might have been born. Interestingly enough it really wasn't that cool. I mean it was, but I just kept getting yelled at by monks and there were SO many people there. When I saw the place where Christ was born, I didn't even know what it was... sad day.
This is where the manger was. I at least knew what this place was all about!

The best part of our trip to Bethlehem wasn't even in Bethlehem. We went back about half way between Bethlehem and Jerusalem to the Shepherd's Fields to have a Christmas program. It was great! We sang Christmas songs, which I totally loved and read Luke 2 and I signed up to read our family's favorite Christmas story, "Trouble at the Inn". See Deaver family for further details of this story. A few people bore their testimonies and it was really cold and dark out so it felt like Christmas. I LOVED it! The stars were out and I can definately see the upside to being a Shepherd. The scenery was beautiful. The best, most coolest part of being there was that a boy walked up with a lamb and I got to hold it! It was so cuddly and adorable. Isn't he cuuute? I want one I think.

Women Empowerment

This week we did probably the neatest thing I have done with the people here. We went to the women's Gypsy community center (I love the Women's Empowerment part) to help teach their kids english and help them with their homework. I helped two little girls and they were so dang cute. Laila was the name of one of girls, she was 13 and she needed help learning when to use who or which. Um... that was kind of hard. She needed me to make up sentences to quiz her on which to use and it took me forever! The other girl I never understood what her name was but she was fun to talk to. Both of our favorite colors were pink. Then we chatted about nail polish and playing outside. She was about 8. Then I got to help teach the alphabet to this little tiny boy that was precious. It was such a fun afternoon and I realized, maybe I like kids after all!!!! What a break through!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Jordan Joys Part II

(Jessica, Stefanie and me at the temple of Diana)

Our third day in Jordan we went to Jarash which is a Roman village with a bunch of ruins. I looooved Jarash. It was so green and smelled like grass and the day was beautiful, it was just a great day walking around looking at ancient buildings. We saw the temple of Diana, a Roman Theater and the hippodrome where we watched a Roman show. The show was awesome. We learned about Roman Legionnaires and watched gladiator fights. The fights were awesome. My favorite part was the creeper gladiator with no shirt who asked to take a picture with me after the show… creeper. When one gladiator beat the other one, the audience had to vote whether or not to let them live or die by showing a thumbs up or thumbs sideways (for killing them). We let most live but one gladiator we gave the definitive thumbs sideways and crazy fake blood sprayed all over. Needless to say, the show was pretty dramatic… I loved it! After the gladiators, we saw a chariot race. Great more horses… We got some pretty awesome pictures with the cast after the show. Apparently this is one of the best Roman shows in the world, hm.

Day four was my favorite. It began at the Muslim mosque in Amman, where Moon Cate and I did a little mediating under the gorgeous ceiling. It was very relaxing. Check out our Harry Potter uniforms we had to wear too…

Then we went to the River Jordan. I loved the River Jordan. The water was pretty dirty but the day was beautiful and it was humid with a sticky breeze, just like the beach or something. Ryan, Bryan, Kara and I rolled up our pant legs and got right in the river. It was FREEZING… reminds me of when I was baptized in the Church. The water was really cold then too, so it was fitting. Then we got to have Brother Skinner, one of our teachers here, talk to us about the scriptural account of John the Baptist baptizing in the River Jordan. We talked about how Jesus was baptized in the lowest inhabited land on earth, which is the River Jordan. He descended below all things in his perfect state, and was crucified in the high mountains, rising above the sins of the world. Even though I’ve been in this amazing land for a couple of months, it is still hard to believe that I am right here where the scriptures I love so much happened. I saw where my Savior was baptized and it was so neat to remember my own baptism and how special it is to me, to be baptized in His church.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Jordan Joys

Before I get to the good stuff let me give background for the pictures I took in Jordan. Day before we left it had been rainy all day and a few of us were feeling a little cooped up in the center. To release a little pent up energy we decided to play a round of body ball. For those of you who don’t know this Olympic sport, it is where you take a large exercise ball and play with it like soccer, with a goal on each side of the gym, but you can hit the ball with any part of your body. Ten seconds after I walked in to play MATT MORGAN (shout out) told me to hit the ball with my fists when he kicked it to me. He kicked with all his might and instead of my fists hitting the ball, the ball hit my fists and my fingernail went up into my eye… causing me to look like a hardcore fighter. I had quite a shiner during our trip; needless to say, no one in Jordan messed with this! Elyse also received a black eye from BRYAN BOZUNG. We were a pretty sad sight.

If I had to live somewhere here in the Middle East, I would definitely choose Jordan. We spent our first day in Petra, which is one of the modern 7 wonders of the world. Even more importantly, Indiana Jones (The Last Crusade) was filmed in Petra. We saw the treasury where Indiana passes the tests to get to the Holy Grail. It was pretty rad and I took a picture as Indy Jones for dad, because as most of you already know, my dad IS Indiana Deaver.

Cate, Jessica and I were feeling a little USA pride at the monastery for some reason, so our red white and blue was a tribute to the land we love and miss!

Speaking of the monastery, we had to hike up 850 stairs to get to it, then we hiked up to the sacrificial high place and tested it out. Good times hiking my tail off in Petra.
(thats me in the green shirt)
Dear Aunt Jeannie,
I tried to ride a horse just for you... I failed.
My voyage to Jerusalem was all for the purpose of learning a new culture, trying new things, and learning to appreciate everything possible in this amazing land! After conquering my camel in Egypt I knew I was ready to retackle horseback riding. For those of you who don't know, I have had a couple of "near death", as my family likes to call them, experiences with horses and have been deathly afraid of them for sometime now. So on the way back from Petra we had the opportunity to ride horses up the path. Shelby, Angie and I all started the trek together and were having a grand time when they asked me about my fear of horses. I explained my bizzare encounters with them when suddenly my horse started bucking! no joke! I asked for my money back because I was definitely given a defective horse (jk). It happened three times where my horse just started going wild when another horse would pass us. It was kind of ridiculous. Once I got off, I treated myself to some ice cream since I could barely walk I was so shaky and vowed never again!

More Jordan fun to be continued...

Friday, February 27, 2009

City of Davy Gravy

Yesterday we took a field trip to the City of David. After just having read about David in the Bible for my Old Testament class, it was amazing to put a picture with the stories I’ve learned about for so long. The city is on such a huge hill, it makes total sense how David could see Bathsheba… scandalous. I loved it.

My favorite part of the day was wading through Hezekiah’s tunnel. Hezekiah built a tunnel under the city to run the water from the Gihon springs to the Pools of Siloam. The water was pretty brown, luckily it was so dark I didn’t find that out until the end, and it went up to the top of my thigh. It was a blast! At one point, Brother Wilson commanded us to turn off our flashlights and walk through in the pitch black. YEAH! It was so fun. Luckily, there weren’t any rats either… to the best of my knowledge. Then we saw where the Pool of Siloam probably was. I LITERALLY WALKED WHERE JESUS WALKED. We got to walk on the steps that were around the pool at the time of Christ and most likely, He would have walked there as well.
So the water was pretty low here, but you can see how high it went by the dark line located on the upper thigh of my blue jeans. It was awesome.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

A Little Me Time

So one of my favorite things to do is to look at each week. I don't remember every week but sometimes it makes for a few mins of fun. The concept is that people send in a secret written on some picture found in a magazine or anything they think describes their secret and they send it in on one side of a postcard to the owner of this blog. Then each Sunday he posts new secrets. I've submitted a few myself but never made it on... *disclaimer, if you're going to look at it, some may be inappropriate, quickly move on to the next* I thought this one this week was hillarious and is soooo something I would do. It's like living your life in a movie, its fun, trust me! So, just a quick post not involving Jerusalem to share this awesome secret of my long lost best friend somewhere out there!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


Some friends and I finally made it to visit the Dome of the Rock. I've seen it everyday since I've been here and have been dying to see it. It is quite a magnificent building. The Dome of the Rock is located on Mount Moriah and is built on top of a huge rock where Muslims believe that Abraham almost sacrificed Ishmael (we believe it was Isaac). So it was pretty cool to be there as well.
So I learned about the Dome of the Rock in my humanities of Islam class this fall and got to see pictures of the inside, amazing. But pictures are not as cool as the real deal. Can I get an amen? So I really was dying to the inside for my very self, and I think as a humanities major, I should be given more consideration to get inside. I confidently walked right up to the man standing outside the door and he said, You Muslim? and I said, No but I... Then you can't get in, thankyou for visiting! DANGIT. Shot down. I even asked a tour guide to go talk to him and he got no further than I did. Don't worry though, its not over until the fat lady sings. I have connections in my branch here so I'm hoping to get in that way. I'll keep ya'll posted on what happens with that.

Thursday, February 19, 2009


So my roommates are photographers. Moon is in the photography

program and Richelle will get into the program in April. They take amazing pictures everywhere we go and I've been pretty jealous so today Moon gave me a lesson on how to take pictures and then we practiced around the old city. Here are some of my creations... (though they may not look all that great, its my improvement that matters!)

Yad Vashem

Yesterday we went to the Holocaust museum in Jerusalem. It is the Holocaust museum of all Holocaust museums. The museum was a large triangular shaped building, representing half of the star of David. Only half the star is represented to show how the Holocaust had left the Jews, dehumanized and broken. The beginning of the tour took place above ground, representing life, specifically life before the Holocaust. Then the tour takes you underground for the Holocaust years and then you end up above ground again where life after the Holocaust was shown. The first thing we saw was a projected collage of film clips taken throughout Europe in the years preceeding the Holocaust. There were two beautiful little girls waving into the camera, the most adorable girls with big bows in their hair and precious little dresses. Just as I realized that they were about Ellie's age, the tour guide reminded us that these girls did not live to see the next decade. I knew it was going to be a long tour at that point. The biggest thing I learned during the tour was that all of this horror was caused because Germans put their trust in a man, Adolf Hitler, who promised (and succeeded) in pulling Germany out of a depression. A bad economy... ring a bell? Because these people had no where else to turn, their children were hungry, so they were loyal to an evil man. It made me really think about the decisions I would make in desperation, which made me so grateful that the church tells us to be prepared for an emergency.

On and on we walked through the exhibits of the museum, moving through history. I am such a girl and am thereby affected by different things than most people. Shoes. Shoes got the best of me. There was one room that had a whole pile of shoes under the floor with a glass you could stand on and look down into. As I looked at the shoes, I began picking out the ones I thought were cute. I could just picture a girl dressed fashionably with shoes that I would love, being told to strip and get into the gas chambers, and never returning to get her shoes. I can't explain it, but through looking at those shoes, I understood that these were real people who never did a thing to deserve what horrible things others inflicted on them.

My favorite memorial was a room dedicated to the children who died. It was a room filled with hundreds of mirrors, and pitch black with one single candle burning in the middle of the room. The tour guide said the mirrors made the candle reflect about 5 million times. It was so beautiful. On the speakers in the room, childrens names were being read with their age of death. It was such a peaceful room, I actually loved being in there. After the emotionally draining museum, this memorial was so calming and beautiful.

Freaky Friday

For Friday the 13th last week we decided to have a freakfest party here at the Jerusalem Center. As ya'll hopefully know by now, my roommates and I dominate at any dress up events. We got really into this whole scary party and our room transformed into the dressing room fit for Guns & Roses. I did the hair and Moon did the makeup. I'm pretty certain there is a hole in the ozone layer above our bathroom due to all the areosol used to create hair masterpieces. My best work was Suzie Skinner's mullet. David Bowie would have been proud. I dressed up like a dead baby doll... and I was pretty creeper. It was AWESOME! My lifelong goal of being a creepy rocker was fulfilled. The black lipstick was my favorite part. The dance party was pretty fun but nothing beats dressing up for it! Friday the 13th is my new favorite holiday. I love JC parties!!!!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A Lil Bit a This and a Lil Bit a That

Egypt Night/ Night of Nefertiti
Apparently after our trip to Egypt, some people just couldn’t let go, so activities committee planned a night to show off everyone’s souvenir purchases… little did these people know that my purchase made theirs look like cheep Chinese-made stuff. Not really but mine was pretty amazing. Moon, Cate and I gave each other Egyptian nicknames while we were in Egypt so I decided to use my dress bought in Egypt as a costume for my namesake, Nefertiti. Bryan jumped on my awesome scheme and dressed as Nefertiti’s husband Akhenaton. Moon was my makeup artist, which completed my ensemble. Everyone looked AMAZING! I’m pretty sure we became Egyptianized while in Egypt. Bryan and I walked the runway in the fashion show and I won “the most suggestive” award… oops. (That’s not what I was going for Mom and Dad). However, we decided that we should take full advantage of this award and take Biblical pictures of Potipher’s wife and Joseph. I think we’ll be contacted by the church soon for the use of our picture…

Pita Murderer
Who knows how these things get started?! Bryan, Shelby, Richelle and I were having a peaceful lunch on Sunday, discussing how we eat waaay too many pitas here, one thing led to another and we decided to have a pita eating contest for dinner. Weren’t we just saying we eat too many? Hm… Anyway, we spoke with Jimmy the chef about having an ample supply of pitas for dinner. With a skeptical look on his face, he agreed to have a separate batch prepared for us at dinner. Of course, I can’t do anything without dressing up for it, so Richelle and I suited up for battle ten minutes before dinner began. (Embarrassingly, we forgot that Bishop Burton is staying at the Jerusalem Center… he definitely saw us in our sweet outfits!). With war paint under our eyes and marathon numbers taped to our shirts, we rushed into the cafeteria to the song “Eye of the Tiger” while Moon announced our fighting names. Richelle, aka the Pita-nator and I, the pita murderer, sat down to a table full of pita and two boys looking up at us very afraid. I’m still not sure if they feared our pita eating or were just afraid of how we looked, but nonetheless, the games began after hands were shaken. The rule was that there had to be something on the pita, so I loaded a plate with peanut butter and honey and lightly dipped my pita into it from time to time. I tried the whole dipping it in water thing, with the hotdog eating contest as my guide, but that is NASTY! Hot milk was a little better… only a little better though. Finally, at pita number 8 I started slowing down. The branch president came over to cheer us on so I took another… I have too much pride to quit. Then on number 10, the Jerusalem Center Director came over to make us stop. I think he was embarrassed since we had Bishop Burton staying here. I’ve never been so happy to be stopped from an activity. Who knows how many I would have eaten for prides sake. The final tally was Shelby- 15, Bryan- 14, Richelle- 11, and me- 10. Richelle could have won it though. She was slower but she has total endurance, plus she only weighs about 110 pounds and the skinny ones are always the fighters! So in total, we four ate 50 pitas. Dad has been sending me e-mails threatening to fix pitas and hummus when I get home, maybe in 2 and ½ months I’ll be ready again… maybe.

Israeli Elections
My blog is properly named Miriam’s Shenanigans, because that is all I’ve posted in a while! Yesterday were the Israeli elections for the Prime Minister/ Parliament. Richelle and Moon saw t-shirts for the elections the other day, so we decided to find some to buy. Now, when we three put our minds to something, we don’t give up easily. Yesterday the weather turned chilly, while the wind blew hard all day and it rained/hailed continuously. Nothing could stop us from our journey though! We got a cab to West Jerusalem and began our hunt after picking up a scrumptious brownie filled pastry from our favorite shop… did I mention they have good food around here? T-shirt shop after t-shirt shop, rejection after rejection, we started to get down trodden. Finally we stopped in to see the Canon store people, because my roommates are good friends with them, and they told us to walk about 5 mins north on Ben Yehuda Street to some headquarters. After just about getting blown away by the wind, a total Mary Poppins experience, we found this shady looking place with campaign posters galore. So we waltzed all up in the headquarters of this man running for Israel Prime Minister, stuck our heads right into his office and received immediate attention from the secretary. She asked if she could help us and we said we’d like to buy some shirts. Having already gotten many strange looks, we got another one from her with a “why?” attached. I started getting slightly nervous that we were about to get into trouble until she continued with “why buy, I’ll give it to you for FREE!!!” We all cheered and she cheered too! People began sticking their heads out of offices and glaring, some old man even growled at us but then laughed ha… weird. Our new friend promptly returned with posters and t-shirts for us. We went outside the headquarters and were about to take a picture when some woman walked up and explained that she is from a newspaper in Texas and asked if she could take our picture. I guess we’re just dang photogenic because I have no idea why she would come to Israel and get pictures of Americans. So off we went, back to the cab, soaking wet and redeemed in our excursion with the treasure of unique t-shirts. Upon further investigation, the candidate, “he who shall not be named”- not because it’s bad but because I don’t know it, is kind of a communist. So I pretty much don’t want him to win at all, but doesn’t that make it so much cooler. I have a corrupt man’s campaign t-shirt from Israel… don’t get jealous ya’ll.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

THE Hike of my life...

Hiking Mount Sinai was the most difficult thing I have probably ever done. Not only am I a total wuss but it was 2 am, dark and freeeeezing. The night before, at the hotel I was already cold so my roommate Emma and I went to the shop to load up on gloves and hats. Good thing Jerusalem Center faculty told us not to bring a big coat... Anyway, it was the best 7 dollars I ever spent. As I said, we woke up at 2, and drove to the bottom of the mountain to begin our journey. We all had flashlights because it was pitch black. I think the dark added a lot to the difficulty of the hike as well, I kept stumbling over rocks that I didn't see. Of course you can't get away from tourist shops even on a dang mountain so there were men with camels walking up and down trying to get us to ride one and a few shops along the way even. Let me just tell you, there was not enough room on that path for me and a camel! One man told me to watch out for his camel and I said your camel needs to watch out for me! (Don't mess with me that early in the morning when I'm sweaty...) It was beautiful though. There were more stars than I had ever seen in my life. Every once and a while my group would stop and just take in the beauty of God's creation. After 2 and a half hours of this torture we finally reached the top just before sunrise. It was the coldest I had ever been in my life. It was at least -4 degrees C, we were later told, and we were all sweaty which made the wind even more chilling. Our group got so much closer as we waited for sunrise, literally. We were all just one big group holding each other. The sunrise was the most incredible thing I had ever seen. It was beautiful and totally worth the dang hard hike. As we started hiking back down, I guess my friends and I got distracted talking and realized the teacher that was behind us was no longer there. Come to find out we had taken a wrong turn and he didn't tell us, so he went the right way! We ended up having to basically scale down the mountain on a really steep incline, and it was pretty scary. It was quite the adventure though, it made the sacrifice even better.

Today in my Old Testament class, we talked about what our hike represented. The children of Israel wouldn't go up Mt. Sinai to see the Lord. Us hiking up that mountain showed symbolically how we are ready for Him. There was so much symbolizm in the darkness that we climbed up in compared to the light waiting for us at the end of the hard work. Some people (not people in the program) have fallen off cliffs while trying to make the hike early in the morning, so I felt like it was a real live iron rod experience for me. Needless to say, this was one of my favorite parts of my entire trip so far, even for a non-hiker like me!

Monday, February 2, 2009

“There Can Be Miracles When You Believe”- Prince of Egypt

I just got back to Jerusalem after the most amazing vacation I’ll probably ever have in my life. It all began last Sunday as we headed for Egypt making a few stops along the way. Among the places we stopped was the Valley of Zin, where Miriam died… sad. I made a tribute to her there, well by tribute I mean I pretended I was dead in honor of my namesake.

After going arriving in Egypt we woke up and headed straight for the Pyramids. They were AMAZING!! We saw Khufu’s pyramid first which was awesome, and then we got to go inside the pyramid of Khafre. It was a little Closter phobic getting in, and it was extremely hot inside, but we did what we could to make it just a little hotter. We played the hokey pokey while all the Egyptians looked at us like we are weird… I’m sure we did nothing to help the American stereotype.

The sphinx is surprisingly small compared to the pyramids but it was still pretty huge. The Cairo museum was incredible. I got to see the mummy of Ramses II who is believed to be the Pharaoh that Moses asked to let his people go. We all thought we were hilarious and kept saying to Ramses, "let my people go". All of you who know me know how prissy I am, so I wasn’t sure how I would feel about looking at mummies, but I LOVED it. They were awesome, and even better was an animal mummy exhibit. I saw King Tut’s treasure, ridiculous, and so much more artwork that I learned about in my art history class in the fall, so that was really neat. We saw the temples in Luxor, the Luxor and Karnak, and went on carriage rides and a faluka (sailboat) ride on the Nile. I saw where baby Moses was put in the water, not really but I told people that’s where it was… On the faluka ride I even found true love! Osama was his name and he had beautiful chocolate skin and huge brown eyes. My friend Cate and I were totally in love. After we got dropped off we were watching the boat drift off and he waved at us. So we waved back, and then he started blowing kisses at us… like I said, true love. Cate and I are pretty sure we’re going to have to go back and find him one day. Osama and Miriam… I think it has a nice ring to it.

One of my favorite things during the trip was the camel “safari” we took through a village in Luxor. Note to Aunt Jeannie: I decided to give horseback riding a second chance when I get home! I was basically a pro at riding my camel. My camel’s name was Rasta/ Bob (that’s right he had a hyphenated name) and the little boy who led my camel was named Muhammad. Most of the boys are named Muhammad. He was so cute. At one point he asked if I wanted to be by a friend who was way ahead of us, and I said no that’s okay I’m fine where I am, but he didn’t take no for an answer. So all of the sudden, my camel takes off and we passed four camels in front of us on a little narrow road. How do these things always happen to me? My camel was pretty rambunctious so he ran (would you say a camel runs…?) most of the time! I liked it though. During this expedition also, I decided I want to adopt an Egyptian child. They were so precious coming out to wave at us go by. They were pretty sad sights though; they looked like they were straight from a National Geographic. Being in Egypt taught me so much about the blessings of safe water and food and clean living conditions we have in the states.

If anyone out there needs a self esteem boost, I recommend a trip to Egypt. As long as you’re a woman, you will be told you are beautiful. Everywhere I went men were asking if I was married and telling me I was beautiful. My response was always that I am married and that I have a really jealous husband that I love so much. My friends and I really got into it at the Bazaar in Luxor. We told all kinds of crazy things. Everyone wanted to know if we were American and we always said no, because you never know who likes Americans and who hates them. We figured we were safe saying we were Canadian, and that way if we did anything dumb we could blame it on Canada. I also got really good at bargaining. I was the best at wingman bargaining and I helped my friends buy what they wanted. One shopkeeper shook his finger at me and told me I’m a shrewd bargainer… thank you very much.

Most embarrassing moment of my trip to Egypt:
We went to the Hard Rock CafĂ© in Cairo for lunch on our last day. All of our meals were already paid for when I paid for the program, but soft drinks were not included. And in Egypt, you just don’t drink the water. So at the Hard Rock I got a 7 up to drink with my meal. My waiter brought out the check which was 24.26 pounds which converts to about 5 dollars. I was still really thirsty so I asked if refills were free and he said no. Later, however, (because in Egypt blondes get special treatment I guess) the waiter brought out another 7 up and said because you are beautiful no charge. So I was all, yeeeeea blonde hair is payin off for once. Later he came back to collect the money and I was telling some people a really really awesome story and was apparently distracted. I went to pay him, counted out 25 even handed it to him and he walked away. On the way back to the hotel realization sunk in that I had paid in DOLLARS! not pounds! AHHHH. Best dang 7 up I ever had, it was worth 25 dollars to me. Word spread quickly about Miriam’s blonde moment and some faculty members assured me that my story would live on in the history of the Jerusalem Center for years to come… lucky me!