End of the First Week of the Dig!

This first week was a bit crazy. Monday was almost a complete waste of a day because for Field B we didn't know exactly where we were going to set up squares and everyone needed to put up the shade cloths. The first thing was to figure out where the squares would go, which took a long time and a lot of discussion between Sam and Steve and Elliot and thinking about what the Park's Authority would say...I think they even called them up at one point to try to get permission for something...

While half the group in Field B set to work clearing the brush around the site, the other half worked on shade cloths. Didn't work very well and we spent the entire morning on Tuesday doing the exact same thing with the shade cloths. After second breakfast we were assigned squares and I was going to work with Mendy...until right before fruit break. Then I was told I'd be getting my own square...but only two volunteers, Roger and Lan, who are about 70 years old each. They live in Canada, but Roger is from Germany (whoop!) along the Rhine somewhere near Dusseldorf, and Lan is from Philippines but only the 4th generation born there; her family is originally from China. So we worked on measuring and stringing out the square for quite literally the rest of the day. I hate stringing balks. Thank God that only happens once during a dig.

Wednesday I worked on pilfering another volunteer from another square and got Peter, one of the Danes! Unfortunately, he leaves on the 4th, but the other Dane (who was here last year! yay for Hans!) is supposed to be arriving that weekend. So I'll be taking him. whoop whoop! We moved slowly on digging since none of them had ever worked on a site before and I had to teach them the ropes. We're on a teaching dig, so I have to teach them anyways. Lan said I was a good teacher and very patient. That made me feel good. We also moved slow because I wasn't sure how exactly to run the square and I was afraid of making mistakes. I asked a lot of questions of Elliot, Sam, and Lynn, and a few times from Mendy. Whenever Jason (who's all the way on the other side of the field) would walk by, he'd stop and ask me how things were going and if I had any questions or needed clearing up of things. He was an assistant supervisor last year and made quite a few mistakes himself, so he understands what I'm going through. I ask him a lot of questions about paperwork when we're back at the dig house.

Haha, one of the volunteers on Friday jokingly asked Sam why the directors never do any work in the squares, so Sam came into my square quite often to help move dirt. He said he felt a little guilty...but I didn't mind the extra help. Especially because I'm very wary about moving too much dirt at one time and missing something and my volunteers are even more cautious. Sam comes in and just blows us away, so we're getting more confident. We found a huge chunk of plaster about 1.5m x 1.5m near the NE corner of my square. Sam got all excited and said it was a floor surface, but Elliot wasn't so enthusiastic. He said it was probably tumble destruction. He says we'll find the extents of it, measure it, take elevations, draw it, get quick photos, and then rip it all out. haha. I was starting to feel a bit more confident about things that day, especially when Sam said I was doing well and all the other supervisors praised me on I was keeping my square very level (we're supposed to dig level).

Just as I was feeling very comfortable about everything, we came out for first breakfast on Friday, and Mendy came up to me in her PJ's still. I think I probably went white. Mendy found out a few weeks ago that she's about 2 months pregnant and has been suffering from all day nausea for the past 2 or 3 weeks. She handed me her Daily Notes and said, "You're going to also be in charge of my square today." I could have thrown up. I freaked out. I was just starting to get comfortable with everything and then a wrench was thrown in. I ran around the entire morning before fruit break like a chicken with its head cut off. I told both squares to move slow for me, and they were all totally understanding. Luckily, Mendy's square is just moving fill, so they're only blowing through dirt, but they also have a Hellenistic wall that I was awfully cautious about. My square was still removing top soil, and I had them all slow down from time to time to articulate the plaster and brush up the square. Sam probably spent half the day with either one of the squares to really help me out, which is awesomely amazing of him. I told him at second breakfast how much I appreciated it and nearly broke down in tears. I was on the verge of break down 2 other times during the day. After fruit break, however, I was starting to get it all down. I made a few mistakes, like forgetting to take some elevations or labeling the soil for a specific basket the wrong thing. I was more worried about messing up Mendy's square, though. She has a very set and specific way she does things and I didn't want to lose that. I felt much better when we got on the bus.

But then I found out we had pottery reading to go to immediately after lunch. This meant no time for a shower. But pottery reading is always a blast. Sam, Gary, and Steve are the most amusing group ever. They sing songs and say funny things. For instance, they're looking at the pottery, and this one piece came out that's shaped like a blunted end of a bullet. Sam held it up to his chest and went, "Look! Nipple Ware!" We nearly died.

After washing off the dirt from our bodies, we headed up to the pool and had a blast. Then I got some laundry done, went to dinner, Skyped with Stuart (FINALLY! Haven't been able to talk to that boy in forever...), and then bought an ice cream bar from the lobby, and bunch of us hung out on our porch. Every room has a little porch out back with a little table and some chairs. Lesley and I realized that we got the same room as the Danes from last year. Everyone would convene on their porch, drink a bit, sometimes they made us tea or Turkish coffee, and they'd smoke like fiends while 10-20 people would pack on the porch or hang off around the railings. We decided to keep this tradition going and last night about 10 of us hung out talking and playing card games. It was fun.

The volunteers went out to the Negev, Masada, Arad, and the Dead Sea for the weekend. Those of us who stay back at camp for the weekends were thinking of going out to Jerusalem or maybe Elvis Burger for dinner, but we found out that most of the cars would be taken or were already taken and we couldn't get a ride. So we're at camp here again for another weekend. I have to do my paperwork, anyways, so maybe that was a good thing. But NEXT weekend, we're going to plan on going to Tel Aviv. Not sure how to plan this out, so we're going to ask around, I think.

Alright, well, that's all for now. I've been online for an awfully long time, so I'm going to move along. Hopefully more updates later today or tomorrow with the rest of my Germany pictures?

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