Excited to be chosen for the EDI GSL Experience in Israel

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Week 1 Over Already!

Today marks the first week since my arrival in Jerusalem, and I can't believe I'm already 1/6 of the way done! The city is absolutely beautiful, and I've hardly scratched the surface of everything I want to see.

I arrived on Saturday, and it was still during Shabbat, which means everything was still closed. Rivka, our student liaison, invited me to have dinner at her house. I had to call for a cab, which came with some language barriers, but thankfully it went smoothly and he took me to the right place. During dinner I met Rivka and her family, who were all absolutely wonderful people. Rivka then told me she would take me around the next day, since I would only begin working on Monday. So we did. She showed me how the train system works and then we went to the Old City. I got to see the Tower of David Museum, which was really really cool. Usually when I go to museum, I have little to no knowledge on the subject of the museum. However, this time I did because so much of it related to the Bible! It's actually very interesting to notice how different the experience becomes when you actually understand many of the references. On Sunday we also did a walking tour of the Old City and I got to see all four quarters.

Monday and Tuesday were my official transition period days. These are the days I get over my jetlag and homesickness. This basically meant that after work I would just go home, talk with my mother on Facetime for a while, and go to sleep. On Wednesday, Rivka took me to see the Light Festival in the Old City. Apparently this is a festival that started a few years ago, and they basically put lights all around the Old City. It was really interesting and I had a really fun time!

Thursday I went to Tel Aviv for work, and I think it's the first time I've ever commuted! It was pretty interesting and Tel Aviv is beautiful as well. I got back in time to go to a Youth Group meeting at King of Kings church that one of the people I met at the bed and breakfast told me about. It took place on a Prayer Tower on Jaffa Road. It was wonderful meeting people my age who had similar interests and values. In fact, I met two girls from Finland who are currently volunteering for Elwyn, which is one of the places I'll be working for while I'm here! I could hardly believe I met them. They were also super sweet, and I hope to meet them again soon.

Friday I was off and Rivka took me exploring again (she really is amazing at her job!). She introduced me to another student who has been here for 7 years. First we went to Ein Karem, which is the place where Mary stayed with Elizabeth for a few months before John the Baptist was born. It was a gorgeous place, and it had absolutely breathtaking views. We also visited a few other places after, including a spring, the Menorah behind the Knesset, and a hiking area with awesome views where we had our picnic style lunch. It was a really fun day.

Today is Saturday once again, and I'm actually heading to the Old City to have lunch with Judge Adler. After that I plan on exploring the Old City some more. I do have only 5 weeks left after all!


  1. Giovanna,
    Thank you for this wonderful post and updating us on how you are doing! The pictures are wonderful and we're so glad you've met Rivka and some others that are working at Elwyn!

  2. So glad you are seeing and doing so much and making such great connections to people and the community! Thanks for posting this- keep them coming ! :)