Greetings from Nazareth! We’re off gallivanting around the Galilee region in the North for a few days. That photo above is our view from the guesthouse with the Sisters of St. Joseph. The church is the Basilica of the Annunciation, where the angel Gabriel appeared to the Virgin Mary and announced that she was with child and would give birth to Jesus.
Look out Holy Land, here comes Taria! My awesome mom (Remember her?) is visiting us this month! Today we took her to the Church of the Transfiguration on Mount Tabor!
Speaking of my awesome mom, remember how I mentioned last Mother’s Day that God continues to bless me and Rodolfo with people to take care of? We received another blessing a few weeks ago in Celeste, a really sweet American student that we met randomly on a sherut shuttle from the airport to Jerusalem when we came home. She later ended up in the emergency room due to what we believe was a rather nasty spider bite. We really enjoyed getting to meet her, and since she is starting grad school in Houston this fall, we may even get the chance to see her next time we’re in Texas! Plus, it is not every day that one gets the chance to complete five of the seven Spiritual Works of Mercy on one person, a person they meet on the airport shuttle, no less. After bringing her food and drink in the hospital (visiting the sick, feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty), we brought her home for the night (shelter the homeless, or the temporarily displaced in need of a warm bed relatively close to a hospital, just in case) and even lent her clothes (clothe the naked; actually, she wasn’t naked, of course, just in need of pajamas to borrow, but, well… you know). Luckily, no one was in jail (visit the imprisoned) or deceased (bury the dead) in this particular story. Read Celeste’s version on her blog, The Adventures of Freckles.
Speaking of sweet internet shout-outs, a few months ago (while I was AWOL from the blogosphere) the super-sweet Kelley Annie of Over the Threshold (one of my best blogging buddies) gave me a beautiful shout-out for a package I sent her of postcards and souvenirs from her favorite Gospel stories. I even climbed a sycamore tree (just like Zaccheus) to get her a really good leaf! Go check out her post!
Happy New Year! You may think I’m either pretty early or way late, but actually, Israel celebrated the arrival of the Jewish New Year 5774 this week. Some of our dear Israeli friends, Amir and Shani, invited us to their family’s house, where we crammed into a table with about 20 members of the extended family, and ate all the traditional foods (apples dipped in honey, pomegranates) and many other delicious homemade dishes! I was surprised by the number of the family members that had been to Ecuador; many young Israelis go on long backpacking trips after their compulsory army service and South America is a popular destination.
We bid farewell to a very good friend this week; our dear Danish friend, Bjarke (the surprise vegetarian of the fable, the biggest fan and eternal lobbyist for the ruined-brownies-rebranded-as-lava-cake, and the only person besides Rodolfo who has ever called me ‘principessa‘), who is headed to Sweden for his next postdoc. Best of luck and godspeed to you, Bjarke! Plus, our dear Italian friend Simone, who moved to Germany recently, was in town visiting, and we were also celebrating the arrival of Rongfeng, a dear old Chinese friend who has come full circle into our lives again! (Rongfeng was a grad student together with Rodolfo in Texas and now he’s the newest postdoc in the department in Jerusalem.) We were also getting to know Ben, a new Israeli grad student in the department, and his lovely wife Noam. There are a lot of great people to celebrate this week!
I have previously mentioned the Magdala Project, the archaeological project that our church is running in the Galilee. When the leaders of our church began building a pilgrim’s center in the North, they found an amazingly preserved first-century synagogue and the entire town that Mary Magdalene was from. Rodolfo and I volunteered on the dig for a week last year. The project is amazing and it was recently featured on the National Catholic Register! Let us know if you want to come volunteer on the dig and we will hook you up with our friends there; it’s free and a really amazing experience! And, by the by, we also know a really great guest room in Jerusalem, great for passing spider bite patients, Danes on their way out of town, or moms. All are welcome.
For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!