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Below are the 6 most recent journal entries recorded in kathryn_b's LiveJournal:

Sunday, January 28th, 2007
12:19 pm
Home
I'm finally back at home with the cat who was spoiled rotten over the past week (after being looked after by mum for the previous two weeks).

The three weeks in Israel was emotionally and physically exhausting. It takes something to make 26 people from 12 countries cry at some point or another. For those of you who have not been to the new Yad Vashem museum, you need to go. When we were listening to survivor testimony (heard about 8 across the three weeks) we could be sitting there fine and then they'd say something that would set many people off. I'll post a summary of the trip soon when I can get my thoughts into order.

Below is my sage about getting home from Israel.....

I had over a 12-hour sleep Friday night, waking at 11.30 on Saturday morning. It was so required after our horrendous trip. The flight from Tel Aviv to Bangkok was fine, but in Bangkok we had to go through passport control and collect our baggage. And the transit hotel that we thought existed, didn't. So we had to hang around the airport until 6.15 pm (the earliest we could check in: 6 hours before our flight, about 3 hours after we landed). Helen wasn't well and we ended up going to the medical centre so she could get some antibiotics. In a way this was good as it used up time! But Helen's voice was a whisper and she was struggling to stay awake as was I at certain points. We had to pay 500 baht departure tax to get through passport control so it was just as well I got 1500 baht out to fund our afternoon tea (snack rather than drinking any tea) and tea (dinner!). Helen ended up going through to the gate while I wandered around the airport (I didn't want to sit down as I'd fall asleep). I ended up standing in a bookshop for about an hour reading a book. They must be used to that sort of thing as I wasn't kicked out. We actually got some work done at the gate, trying to compile our presentation for our welcome back from the group that sent us. We went down to the gate (had been working upstairs) and ended up being the first on the plane after priority passengers. We just acted like Israelis and pushed to the front....Not really, we just happened to have positioned ourselves at the front. After tea I had a sleeping tablet and slept most of the way. Helen didn't sleep as well as I think she didn't take a tablet considering the antibiotics she was on.
We made it out of baggage claim and customs at Melb pretty quickly (after a side trip to duty free) and were met by our respective parties (parents for me and family for Helen) and parted our ways. After inflicting the photos on the parents I crashed into bed. I made it home to Kyabram by about 5.15 Sunday after struggling to stay awake for about an hour on the way. I should have stopped but I really wanted to get home. Next time, I won't come back from overseas only a few days before school starts...
Monday, January 15th, 2007
8:26 pm
I've finally managed to get onto Livejournal and post something. The missing days will be filled in later.

A bunch of us are at a cafe with a free wireless connection, so we are all catching up on the outside world. We were in Tel Aviv/Jaffa today, a break from the classroom. That was particularly needed after Sunday's sessions. The lecturer was unable and unwilling to listen to anyone's opinion and people were getting quite annoyed. I stopped listening in the first of his three sessions and got on with my own work. The organiser noticed and thought that I was upset by it. I just thought it would be better to stop listening to avoid me saying something I shouldn't! Course isn't bad, just not as intensive or new as I thought it would be. Most of the stuff we have done is not new, though the development of anti-semitism through the ages filled in a few gaps. And we are being talked at rather than having the opportunity to say much or contribute to a discussion. Hopefully that'll change tomorrow as we're getting into the Holocaust proper. We've been through the Jewish and Christian sites of the Old City. Our tour guide is an archaelogist and while it is interesting, he can't stop talking too much about the stuff. Hopefully he'll not be so bad when we go to Masada on Sat.
We had the Western Wall tour last night. This was going under the Western Wall in the tunnels, rather than outside. It was the first place that it felt like it was 2000 years old. Jerusalem is a great city, but as they build in the same stone as centuries ago, it all looks similar.

Cat is ok and Mum seems to be enjoying herself house-sitting, though she did answer with: 'Oh, it's you....' when I rang the other day
Jerusalem is usually crisp and cool and lovely to walk around at night. No security issues at all, though most eating places have security guards and check your bags as you walk in. Hotel is central, just 10 mins walk from the Old City and not bad. Rooms are small, but no issue as i'm not sharing with any.
No worries about me hooking up with an Israeli (as some people at school were worried about). They are all shorter than me and hairy! Not my sort at all.
Anyhoo, I'll sign off and go enjoy Jerusalem's night life.
8:22 pm
10.23 am Sun 7 Jan.
Well, elles sont arrive. Hey, when in a foreign country speak a different language (bad luck that I’m not in France…..) Well, we (myself and Helen) arrived early at Tel Aviv after a flight that I really do not want to repeat in 3 weeks’ time.
Helen and I checked in separately and I ended up one seat behind her on the leg to Bangkok. Flight left Melbourne on time, no bad weather and it was a newer plane which had the individual screens and a vast choice of things to do when you couldn’t sleep. As the flight was landing 10.40pm Bangkok time (2.40 Oz time), I thought that I wouldn’t sleep and would hopefully sleep on the way to Tel Aviv.
The new Bangkok is huuuuuuge, but very useful if you want to walk off stiff legs from the Melbourne flight. And guess what, I was the lucky bunny who got chosen for special treatment by El Al security people! No great hassle, just having to walk off into the bowels of the airport and be x-rayed (myself and luggage) and checked for any explosive residue. And of course, when I get to the hotel, I discover that my padlocked bag has been searched. Again, no great hassle and at least they didn’t cut off the padlocks as the French did when I was Paris in 2000. It just added to the ‘when are we going to get there and I need some sleep’ attitude I had. And this was not helped further when, getting on the plane, my seat is occupied (after short tussle, it was all sorted and yah, aisle seat again!)
Flight from Bangkok to Tel Aviv, the longer flight and the one where, as Helen put it, ‘mother’s little helper’ was put to good use. As we hit the ground running (first function tonight), we both felt it was necessary to use sleeping tablets. Mine worked like a treat resulting in a solid 3 hour sleep and dozing for about another two. Out of a 20 hour flight, that is not much, but it is certainly better than nothing. It was certainly better than not having the individual screens (we had an older plane and had to watch the one video that EVERYBODY else was watching). At least I slept through Flicka (no great loss) and managed to watch The Illusionist.
Getting through Tel Aviv airport was no hassle at all, just through passport control, collect luggage and waltz through customs. We caught the shuttle to Jerusalem resulting in a scenic trip through the side streets. The shuttle taxi doesn’t drop people off at set locations, but specifically where they want, including down little side alleys where it required a contortionist to get out of!
Made it to the hotel and discovered that our rooms are not ready…… Boy, were we happy?! After some juggling by the desk, they allocated us our rooms and I am currently sort of unpacking some stuff. That and stretching to get all the kinks out. Being tall is fine, even when people are constantly asking me to get things from on high. But not when I’m stuck in a plane seat for over 20 hours. That’s when I want to be 4 foot nothing so I can curl up in the seat or sit on my legs or even have enough room to stretch my legs out straight without having to stick them in the aisle, tripping people up. Anyway, Helen and I are organising our rooms, having a brief rest and then going to have some decent breakfast (our reward for actually making here in one piece). Meeting the rest of the crowd tonight and starting the full on study tomorrow. Hope to keep you all up to date, but don’t expect an entry this long every day….

Later
Had a rest, went for a walk and had coffee in a hotel overlooking the Old City, went shopping for food, came back to find out that a room key had been handed out for my room (even though I was not sharing!), sorted that out, had to get a new key (swipe card) as mine was no longer working, had another snooze, met some others on the course and went for tea. We met the rest of the participants. We are a mixed bag: 12 from Australia, 3 from Poland and the US, 1 from Taiwan, Croatia, South Africa, Lithuania, Latvia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Romania and one other I think. It’ll be intense, but a rewarding experience!

Mon
Awake and watching CNN World News before breakfast and a morning session at Yad Vashem, followed by a guided tour around Jerusalem. The breakfasts are huge! There are a huge range of salads, cheeses, fish, and other things, in addition to the usual toast, cereal, fruit, yogurt breakfasty things

One of the things that I didn’t realise was that Jerusalem is so small. The fighting that happened in 1948 and in the Six-Day War happened in what are now part of the city. And some of the Israeli settlements whose existence is challenged are so close to the city. When you here it on the news it sounds like it is at least 100 kms outside the city. We were also shown the suburb of Gilou (sp?) which is quite close to the wall that was built recently between the Jewish and Palestinian areas. We were also taken to Mount Zion and a few other places.
The seminars are okay. The first one was presented with the presumption that everyone was religious and so could have been quite confronting to some.
Still a little jetlagged and not feeling 100% yet, but getting there.

Tuesday
We had the history of anti-Semitism from Ancient to Modern times in 8 hours today. It helped place a lot of things in context and show the changing face of anti-Semitism through the ages. It has been quite a whistle-stop tour of the foundations of the Jewish religion and anti-Semitism
Have bounced back from jetlagged and am actually taking notice of things as we walk down King George V St and Ben Yehuda looking for a different place for tea.
We’re situated quite well in the city, just around the corner from the centre and about 10 mins fro the Old City. We’ve organised a collective amongst some of us to get things for lunch, rather than having to buy it every day from the café. Internet access is intermittent and not free at the hotel as we were lead to believe. So posts will be few but detailed (hopefully). It’ll take ages to catch up on the board once I get back!
Wednesday, January 10th, 2007
2:37 pm
Having trouble accessing email and posting stuff on livejournal, so I may have to wait until I get back to Australia before posting stuff. We went through the Museum today and for those of you who have not been through it, you should try to at some point. It is the personal stories that impact the most, rather than the mechanics of it. Just off now to the Valley of the Commnunities and two survivors. We are all ready for an emotional session.
Friday, January 5th, 2007
2:27 pm
Well, am packed and ready to go. Just not looking forward to the 20 hour flight tomorrow. I've decided not to take my mobile phone as trying to organise international roaming is a pain in the neck! But as I'll have unlimited access to the internet at the hotel, no stresses about keeping up with everything. Writing from Israel next time!
Friday, December 22nd, 2006
12:54 am
First entry
Well, finally got around to using this! The aim is to use it to record my 3-week trip to Israel in a few weeks. So stayed tuned while I figure out all the fun bits here and hear about the trip!
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