Nature

It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade. Great Expectations

As the weather increasingly gets better, I become less inclined to want to stay in class! Thankfully, this is the last week of class, and then I have about a month and a half of my own free time to maybe volunteer, definitely explore, travel, and enjoy myself. I have really loved my Arabic classes, don’t get me wrong, and I have definitely learned a lot from them, but as the last week winds down… I feel that common desire of all students to just.be.done.already.

So this past weekend, a bunch of us took advantage of the good weather and went out to nature (yes, the second weekend in a row for me!). Really, we hiked a little to a patch of grass where we could set up our bbq and blanket, and I looked out into the hills of the outskirts of Ramallah, and thought to myself, “How am I supposed to go home after all of this?”

There aren't any words

It was a great afternoon of sun, laughs, friends, and food. Hard to disagree with that.

Even though at one point, we were literally surrounded by sheep. There are lots of sheep that roam through Ramallah and the hills surrounding the city (it still amuses me when our service back from university in the middle of the day is stuck behind a herd of sheep just meandering their way down the road). So it shouldn’t have been a surprise to get invaded by sheep, not once, but twice, this past Saturday! And yet, sheep look really adorable in pictures and from far away, but they are kind of frightening animals when they’re that close to you – and that undomesticated! They are eating machines.

the shepherd definitely didn't care about our freaking out over the close proximity to the sheep!

Really, they surrounded us on all sides!

Even though it got quite chilly with the wind, some of us braved it out (honestly, I’m always cold anyway!) and stayed to brew coffee over our homemade bonfire (no, I had nothing to do with that construction) and watch the sunset. It was definitely worth it.

Happiness

Perfection.

Then on Sunday some friends and I went to Jerusalem, walked around the old city and a little through West Jerusalem. Surprisingly, there was no trouble at the checkpoint and life seemed back to normal (after last week’s bus bombing attack). I bought two homemade leather bags at this stall in the old city, and my friend, the bargaining queen, struck such a deal with the owner I almost thought he was going to cry (whether out of lost sales or because he was so happy she could bargain so well, I’m not sure). I got my two bags for 300NIS, or about $85 – really, in the States, each of the bags that I bought would probably have been sold for $200 each. My friend got three bags, including one messenger bag to fit a laptop and all, for 600NIS, or $170. Ridiiiiiiiculous. And amazing.

(I actually started writing this post a couple days ago and just realized I never posted it, so I’m finishing it now!) I made it through this week’s classes, finished my 15-minute presentation on Algeria in my amiyya class, and now just have my final in my fusha (modern standard Arabic) class on Monday! So tomorrow, it’s supposed to be like 85 degrees in Tel Aviv, so some of us are headed there for the beach! Saturday, I think we might head to Bethlehem in the morning, do some walking around the wall and some sightseeing, then it’s our friend’s going away party in the afternoon. Sunday… I should probably study!

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