Today was a lovely and slow day, something that I think that we all really needed. It was the only entirely free day that we’ll have this trip, though there was a party that we got invited to tonight that almost all of us decided to go to (and none of us regret that choice – it was SO fun!).
We had the privilege of going to a Sunday mass at the Benedictine monastery in Abu Gosh. It was done in French, had beautiful music, and offered communion to ALL CHRISTIANS THERE (!!!), which is a huge deal for a Catholic Church. There’s special permission from the Pope for pilgrims in the Land to be able to take communion, so that may be the only time in my life that I get to take communion at a Catholic mass (rather than crossing my arms, signifying that I would prefer a blessing from the priest instead). After the service, I spent some time preparing for the upcoming semester by quietly reading and enjoying a slower afternoon.
At night, we went to a party in Bethlehem (part of the Palestinian West Bank) hosted by one of our wonderful tour guides, Elias. It was an absolute blast! There were two groups of American tourists and we gathered in a large restaurant, where we got amazing salads, grilled meat, drinks, baklava, and even a hookah. The food was just one part of the party, though – the best was that we had students of traditional Arabic dance perform for us and then get us involved by teaching us a few moves!
After we learned a few of their moves, we decided it would be fun to teach them a few American dance moves. Someone put on the Wobble, and then I had the idea to put on the Cha Cha Slide. They caught on quickly! It was so fun to get to share cultures like this. It was a wonderful Sunday.