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Saturday, June 10, 2017

Kalime'ra!

I have been totally MIA.. sorry about that! First off... shout out to Carly HAPPY 21st BIRTHDAY!!! I hope she has a fantastic day!!
As a recap of the past few weeks... I was in Greece for two weeks and then the past two weeks have been SUPER busy with midterms!  Greece was AMAZING!! The food, the culture, the sights... everything was amazing. We had this cute little tour guide with crazy floppy hair named Lena who came with us everywhere. She was like a Greek history book, she knew details and facts about everything we saw (which was a lot!). And then our bus driver was named Achilles and had Fabio style hair haha. My respect for bus drivers has grown exponentially since being in Israel and Greece. It would be terrifying! My favorite places were Meterorea and Nafplio.  Meterorea had this amazing rock cliff formation that monks had built these incredible monasteries on top of. Then Nafplio was this adorable coastal town with eclectic shops and classic European looking architecture.  I had heart eyes for dayssss. And ohhhh the food! The food was superb.  I remember we went to one restarting after leaving Meterorea that was in the mountains.  It was this cute little cottage looking place that was a family owned restaurant. The view was incrediable and it was fun to eat while looking at the mountain goats climbing up the slopes. We had the typical meal course of Greek salad, bread with tzatziki, then some sort of cheese dish, then the main meal of some sort of meat with either rice or potatoes or chips, and then a desert.  The best meal was at this place and the little old lady who owned it came out to say hello.  We all cheered for her and she started crying, it was the sweetest!
I realized I'm not really one for endless hours of sights and museums.  I love learning the history and seeing the sights but I just got tired very quickly.  It is fascinating but I'd rather spend time getting to know the living culture rather than the dead. The coolest sight was for sure the Acropolis in Athens with the Parthenon and other major sites located there. Greece is for sure on the list of places to visit again!
Getting back to Israel has been crazy what with midterms.  Long nights with lots of studying! However on last Sunday we had the opportunity to go to Eilat and swim in the Red Sea. It was such a fun experience.  We had a four hour bus ride each way... luckily everyone was either too tired and slept or we entertained each other.  I was reading a very inspiring book called "Unbroken" that I was completely absorbed in so I could have kept driving for hours (well until I finished the book anyways ha). Everyone who can stomach war novels should read that book, it literally changed my perspective on some aspects of life.
For field trips we have also been to Jericho and to the Shephelah.  Jericho is the famous site for Joshua and the battle of Jericho. And the Shephelah is the general area of where the battle between the Israelites and Philistines took place. This is the battle where David slew Goliath.  It was cool to visit such famous biblical sites. Visiting Jericho was a really powerful experience for me. Not the ruins of Jericho itself but we went to an overlook that overlooked the road from Jerusalem to Jericho. This is the site were the parable of the Good Samaritan took place. I felt the spirit so strongly as we discussed that story and how we can and need to apply it in our lives.  I realized that Jesus Christ is my Good Samaritan.  He stops and helps me, even when He probably has far greater things to do.  Just as the hurt Israelite was probably unconscious and had no idea he was being helped, likewise sometimes I am so blinded that I may not recognize my Good Samaritan picking me up and placing me on his donkey to take me to the inn.  The Lord has paid my debts to be healed.  He provides me with wise and loving inn keepers who watch over my recovery.  He asks for nothing in return.  He is. I can't even finish what He is because He is all. I feel so blessed to have Him in my life and to be able to pay the price to become better acquainted with Him.
On a different note.. last night I went with a group of us to go see Wonder Woman. WOW was it Wonderful! I want to be her! She is my new woman crush, and of course it was even better that my man crush, Chris Pine, was also in the film.  Everything about that film was perfection in my mind! It was nice to be at a movie theater haha. If anyone knows my family they know we are all big movie-goers.  Afterwards we just ate at McDonalds which was at the theater... my favorite (not). Ha. Anyways I met this really nice Israeli woman name Siggy and her daughter Kim. I sat with them and talked with them for a good 30-45 minutes.  It was so fun to talk to some local people.  Siggy use to work here at the "Mormon University" years ago and she said she just loves the center and our church.  It was cool to talk to someone who knows a bit about our beliefs, especially since we aren't allowed to discuss them here. It was such a fun night!
Lastly, I had to laugh today because I just got called as the Family History Committee Chair.  I laugh because I worked for Karen Clifford, the Genealogy Queen. She is amazing! I learned so much working for her, and now Heavenly Father is telling me to actually utilize some of those skills haha. I feel very blessed and hope that I will learn a lot from the experience.

Well I hope you all have a great Shabbat on Sunday.  I love Sabbath days!!
Love,
Ashley

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