Shalom, my friends! (insert cheesy smile here)
As magical forgein countries may seem, nothing beats the comfort and warmth of your own home place. Agreed? Traveling out of the country is always a blast, but it also makes you appreciate living in the States more. I assume it’s because the lifestyle we portray is very dear and close to our hearts. It’s all we’ve known. But it’s not all we’ve adapted. Traveling allows us to be more open to opinions and opportunities. It’s a big world out there!
This particular “vacation” for my husband and I has been unlike anything we’ve done before. It wasn’t just the two of us enjoying overseas; it was an entire tour bus that consisted of 45 people. It was a pleasure meeting new faces and getting to know new souls. Although, we did take a day off for the two of us and took a train to Haifa. That was perfect! It was exactly what we needed. The 10 days flew by quickly due to a packed schedule. In conclusion, 10 days will only show you 10% of what Israel + Jordan has to offer.
On our first morning in Israel, Teddy and I woke up very early and walked to Yad Hashmona (our wedding venue) to renew our vows. We couldn’t resist but to document this special moment, so we invited our favorite photographer, Steffen Sharikov. Going back to Yad Hashmona was so enchanting. In our heads, we replayed so many beautiful moments. I walked down to aisle to my wonderful husband who stood there and accepted me once again, hehe. It was so much fun creating NEW memories that associate with that location. Someday we will take our daughter there. And hopefully ONE DAY she can get married there too. Oh, that would be a dream!
During our ten day stay, we managed to cover the major parts of Israel. We started off our trip in a relaxed state of mind. Our two day stay at Dead Sea allowed us to unwind after our long air flights. West of the Dead Sea is an oasis and a nature reserve called Ein Gedi. We had an entire morning devoted to a hike in the trails that David took as he was fleeing from King Saul. Then, we took a road trip down to the southernmost point of Israel to witness a beautiful, life-size tabernacle. That was truly one of my favorite experiences. It was a great reminder of how to purely serve our Holy God. After that, we crossed the border and arrived to a Middle Eastern country called Jordan.
We begin the new day by boating on the Red Sea where most of us enjoyed snorkeling. Four of us made a choice of going deep sea scuba diving. So brave of them!
After spending several hours under the sun, we became SUPER hungry. We switched boats on water and had an appetizing grilled lunch. Right when we thought the day couldn’t get any better, we get informed that we are about to watch the sunset on our camels.
Wadi rum is a breathtaking desert valley in Jordan. We checked into our modern tents that surprisingly included air conditioning, king-sized beds, and even showers. To be honest, it was a bummer not to have wifi connection in that area. Except that didn’t seem to bother the local Bedouins. Other than that, they can take all of my stars for rating.
Their camels where something else! We rode at dusk and it was epic! Except the camel behind me seemed to have an attitude and I was praying so hard for it not to spook the camel I was on. I wasn’t in the mood to perform karate.
My MOST favorite moment of the tour was the time we had a group prayer night under the sky with our bare feet sinking into the desert sand. The stars shone brighter than ever while our prayers were stronger than ever. Our pains and needs were lifted to the sky and God was right there! He felt so near. He touched us. It was glorious!
On our last day in Jordan, we took a road trip to Petra (one of the seven new wonders of the world). I was in AWE! Despite the grueling 8-10 mile hike, I couldn't keep my mind and sight off the blush pink stones and the world-class archaeology. But then again, everything in a middle eastern country is so aesthetically inspiring! Teddy and I were taking notes for our future home design.
The next day we returned to Israel. Israel recaptured our hearts all over again. We’ve arrived to the Northern side of Israel and visited Capernaum. Walking the same ground that Jesus and Peter once did surely humbles your soul. It was a blessing. Next, we went on a boat on the Sea of Galilee. Remember that sea that Jesus walked on? That’s the same storming sea that Jesus calmed. With Jesus’s command, the apostles captured many fish there.
We spent the last two days in the Bible’s dear Jerusalem. We visited Jesus’s childhood town where he helped his parents and spoke to the crowd. You can almost hear Jesus in His childhood running around, gifting people smiles. We also got to see the full length of the Western Wall of Jerusalem. Yad Vashem, the Holocoust museum was sorrowful but crucial. Our quiet moment in Garden of Gethsemani was powerful.
There was so much more to this tour, but then I would have to write a book. It would be easier for you to just join the tour next time. God-willing, that next time will happen in October. As well as next year, and the year after that. As long as our wonderful tour guide (aka Vladimir Sharikov) lives, the tours shall continue.
God bless your decision to visit Israel. I hope that it was God’s plan for you all along.