Friday, September 5, 2008
Where in the world is Jacob Rennaker? (Hit it Rockapella)
Here's the latest update of Jacob's travels in the cradle of civilization:
Well, the good news is- if I don't come down with anything serious from Egypt, I think I might be immune to every disease imaginable.
That's what EVERYONE in Egypt says after they've offered to help you. It kind of got on my nerves. It was interesting living in a country that was so devoid of selflessness, benevolence, charity, or any other shade of altruism. It really got me thinking about the principle of helping others without expecting anything in exchange. In my mind, I compared my experience with the people in Egypt to my experience with the people in the Philippines. The people living in those two countries had very similar economic circumstances (i.e. poverty-stricken), and the cities of both were crowded and dirty (with crazy traffic- trying to cross a major street to get some food was like playing a game of Frogger on cocaine. Or maybe some really bad crack). I marveled at the incredible difference between the attitudes of the people. Like I said, the people in Egypt were looking to get as much as they could from you, even in the guise of being helpful. On the other hand, the people in the Philippines were very accommodating and willing to help you with whatever you needed, asking for nothing in return.
The sights of Egypt were fun. There were a TON of tourists, though, so that was a bit annoying. I guess I got spoiled when I visited so many places in Northern Israel where I was the only person there. The pyramids were probably my favorite places, despite people trying to hound me for money and super-ghetto souvenirs. Attached are a few pictures for your enjoyment. And if you don't enjoy them, deal with it.
It's really nice being back in Israel. Just crossing the border was like walking into a whole new world (with new horizons to pursue). Now I can eat pretty much anything I want and not have to seriously disinfect my toothbrush if I accidentally use the water from the sink, and then drink a whole container of hand sanitizer. Oh- and the money here doesn't resemble used toilet paper. THAT was pretty gross.
Anyway, church at the Jerusalem Center was amazing. The view from the seats in the chapel makes it very difficult to concentrate on the speaker, but it's a burden I'm willing to bear. I was actually asked to bless the sacrament (white Nikes and all), so that was a really good experience, being so close to the places where Jesus' body hung and where His blood was shed. Brother Huff (my first religion teacher in Rexburg) just moved to the Center with his family, so I met them and was invited to their apartment for Sabbath dinner. It was really nice being around a family again. It'll be even better to get back to my own in a little over a week.
So that's whats been happening in a nutshell. I'm still staying with Tom, one of my classmates at BYU who's at Hebrew University right now. That means I'll have internet access pretty much every day (but probably still only a limited time).
Thanks for praying me back to Israel.
(Sunset at Mt.Sinai)