I made it!

Well it was a long day! We had to be at Salt Lake at around 4:45 am and stopped in Chicago and Vienna before flying into Israel. My travel group was half of the total kids in the program so there were about 35 of us total. I'm sure we looked completely ridiculous since we all weren't paying enough attention to the signs in Chicago and we got turned around a few times. Israel is amazing! Flying into Tel Aviv was not what I expected at all. All of the buildings were exactly the same color, a tan stone color, and it looked like mass suburbia crowded around 4 or 5 high rise buildings. Luckily customs was not a problem and the airport was more efficient than the US in baggage. Out of 80 kids, no one lost any luggage and it all arrived on time! 

Couples from the Center were holding huge signs and waving madly for us when we all got out. It was so good to see people excited to see you, even if we were all smelly and very tired. Riding the 45 miles to Jerusalem on the bus was nothing like I imagined. I thought it would be a large sandy desert, much like the picture we see of Iraq. This is nothing like it. There are large forests and every where is green with trees and other foliage. It makes it feel more like home. 

The Center is amazing. It is officially in the West Bank, or Palestinian side of town. We sit on a huge hill over looking the Old City with the Dome of the Rock literally less than a mile away. The view makes you literally stop and just stare. It is so overwhelming to be in a place with so much history and such an importance to the whole world. 

For all those worried about safety, President Bush is staying at the Hotel David, which is also less than a mile away. From my room, the Old City is to the left and his hotel is a few blocks away to the right. As we were sitting in orientation tonight we watched the helicopters patrol the sky and noticed the many cars that were basically circling the hotel around the clock. We don't really know if he'll be in the city for a few days, but tomorrow we get to go out for most of the day into Jerusalem, so there is always a chance of seeing him. 

I am going to try to post a few times a week, maybe less, and but will check email every other day or so. I hope everyone keeps in touch, my email is mollyhuish@gmail.com

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