Thursday, September 5, 2013

BYU Jerusalem Center tour

Well, first of all...this is post #51 about my BYU Jerusalem experience, and I'm a little disappointed that I couldn't sum up my Jerusalem  experiences in exactly 50 posts. That would have been so satisfying. 

To check out all of the awesome things I saw and did this summer, click on the BYU Jerusalem tab above!

Anyways, this post will be dedicated to the building that I called home for the last 3.5 months: the BYU Jerusalem Center. We lived there, ate our meals there, and went to school there. It was basically like being at boarding school.

The Jerusalem Center is kind of between Mount Scopus and the Mount of Olives. So it's on a mountain that overlooks Jerusalem, and you can see it from far away in the city.

View of the JC from near Herod's Gate, an entrance to the Old City (it's the building with the arches!):



My bun was huge that day. I can't decide if I love it or if it's slightly embarrassing.

View of the JC from the roof of the Hurva Synagogue:


And I think the BEST thing about the Jerusalem Center is the amazing view of the city that you get from the balconies there.

From the 8th floor:



From my room on the 3rd floor:


That view is one of things I miss the most about Jerusalem!

Moving along to the actual building...I'll start with the signs.

There's this wonderful sign for the locals:


And this one for the Mormons:


The locals have no idea who Brigham Young is, and the "Jerusalem Center" is a really vague name when you're actually in Jerusalem. So the Arabs and Jews of Jerusalem call the building "Mormon University." They know who the Mormons are! It's not that hard... they're the young college students dressed in semi-Amish clothing. When you take a taxi to the JC, you ask them to drive to "Mormon University." It's fun.

Here's the lovely entrance:


This is the upper entrance on the 8th floor. It's the one that visitors come through, and where we came in after every field trip that was on a bus. When we walked back from the city (like we pretty much always did), we actually came through the 1st floor entrance.

On the 8th floor, there's the library and auditorium.


Library:


I didn't spend much time in there, due to a combination of senioritis and having a Kindle.

Auditorium:



This is where we had church. I don't think any ward building I attend for the rest of my life will ever come close to being this cool.

There's also a beautiful terrace on the 8th floor. You can enjoy the lovely arches.


And pose by them, if you want to. I did.


Twice!


Moving downstairs, there are administrative offices on the 7th floor.


And then on the 6th floor is where most of the important things are. 

There's the Oasis, our cafeteria:



I have lots of memories in the Oasis. A lot of them include me eating only some plain bread pita for dinner because I didn't want weird Middle Eastern mystery meat :)  The JC was a good diet plan for me (combined with walking miles up and down Jerusalem hills every day).

Here's a picture of dinner on my last night at the Jerusalem Center. 

Brianna, Kaitlyn, Lauren, Kelby, Me, Kendall, Karlie
My favorite people to eat with! Miss these people!!

We also had all of our classes on the 6th floor. We had our religion classes in this room:


8a.m. Every freaking day all summer. 

We had our Ancient Near East history class and our Palestine/Islam class in this room:


This picture was taken the day we got back from Turkey, and everyone wore their Turkey shirts! See if you can find Marissa :)

Also found on the 6th floor is the computer lab and the hangout/snack spot, the Shekel Shack.


Yeah, stairs are kind of a theme at the Jerusalem Center. So I'm going to keep posting pictures of them so you can see what me and my calves what through all summer. These are the stairs from the 6th floor. Can I just complain a little bit about the time when I had to carry a 50 pound suitcase from the 8th floor to the 3rd floor? (returning from the Turkey trip). 


There's a lot of extra space at the Jerusalem Center right now, because they're only doing programs with a max of 80 students right now. They used to bring 160 students here every semester. The JC was closed during the Second Intifada from 2001-2006, and since then they haven't opened it to full capacity yet.

So there's not much on the 5th floor. Some of the faculty families live there, but that's it.

The 4th floor is where all of the girls lived, except for me and my roommates. I have fond memories of the 4th floor because the 4th floor lobby was the closest spot to my room where there was internet access. Having no internet in our rooms was a major 1st world problem :(. If I ever become a millionaire, I'm donating 21st century internet to the BYU JC. Also, maybe a pool.

I lived on the 3rd floor. Here's my room!


It wasn't normally that clean, though. I usually had a nice pile of souvenirs, school stuff, and other debris next to my bed. 

Looking out onto our balcony:



I spy the famous Dome of the Rock!

So then there's basically nothing on the 1st and 2nd floors, except for a few more faculty families and the laundry room.

I thought I'd throw in one more stairs picture for good measure. This picture's from the 1st floor. I walked up this multiple times a day. After walking up a MOUNTAIN.



And that, is the BYU Jerusalem Center! I feel very lucky to have gotten to live and study there. It was a great summer.

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