May 22, 2012 - England    7 Comments

London’s Creative Guide

Have you ever asked yourself the question what you would do if you were homeless? There is a general opinion that homeless people are causing their misery themselves. Where in some cases this is certainly true, if you put yourself in the shoes of a person living on the street, you will soon realise how hard it can be to get out of this spiral state. Applying for a job might turn out to be less easy with neither an address nor appropriate clothes.

Passing by beggars, I often wondered if I would be more creative than just sitting on the street and literally begging for a living. Would I try to do something illegal or something really creative. I guess from my perspective it is easy to think in such a way, but really being a homeless guy is totally different.

Anyway, during my last visit to London, I decided to do this photographic project that has been floating around in my head for quite some time. The goal of the project basically was to go up to total strangers and ask them to pull a funny or silly face for my camera. Simply something that will make people laugh when they look at the picture. My goal was to get 30 people which turned out to be a lot, considering that about 50% of the asked persons didn’t want to participate. It was especially challenging to get some “advanced-aged” models for this project.

Getting to about 25 participants, my friends wanted to go to China town. Unfortunately I only knew which tube station we had to get off to get there. Luckily though, there was a guy in a yellow jacket who was offering free information for tourists. We asked him where we had to go, so the friendly guide explained it to us and drew the way on a map which he later gave us. During the conversation, our suspicion that he wasn’t an official tourist guide turned out to be right. He explained us that he was actually a homeless person. He added that this was his way of making some money but that we were totally free to give him something.

Because he was really polite and participated in my project, I decided to make an exception and give him some money, mainly because I thought it was not only extremely helpful but also naturally friendly and not at all deceitful. I just thought this was really different and more creative to other homeless people. Now, it might be that he chose to live that way, but maybe it was his strategy to get his life back together. Whatever his story is, he seemed really content and happy to help out some tourists in the great cosmopolitan city of London. My friends and I really enjoyed talking to a real Cockney (Londoner) and thought he gave one of the most hilarious “funny faces”.


I would love to hear  your experiences with a homeless person. Have you ever given them money or bought them food? What would you do if you were left on the street?

PS. Go here to see more of the funny faces ;)

May 19, 2012 - England    5 Comments

Get An UK Postcard and Win 40 Points!

Here comes the promised extra credit assignment. Considering the large number of points I will be giving out, this will take a greater effort than just leaving a comment ; ). This time around I want you to go old-school and actually send me your greetings through a real letter or postcard! For those of you who don’t remember, real-life letter/postcard is the funny peculiar thing with a stamp on it and no, it doesn’t go into or comes out of your computer’s DVD player but is delivered by postman. Alright?

Everybody sending me something will receive 25! points. In addition, the first card will get 40!!! points. Now, because you guys are from all over the world – how awesome is that by the way – I will not determine the first by its arrival time but by its post stamp which usually has the date of departure on it. Let me know if that’s not the case in your country.

You don’t need to write a six-page letter, as it would be a little bit overwhelming anyway. A simple postcard with a short greeting will already do. In addition to the extra points you’ll receive for the contest, I will send you back a card from the UK – how awesome is that! It’s like a children’s dream coming true. I think everybody always wanted to get a letter or postcard from Great Britian. So, what are you waiting for; grab a card, write something that comes from your heart – or is at least nice – and send it right over to:

Raphael Ammann
[Contest is over]

I am looking forward to hearing from you ;)

May 16, 2012 - England    4 Comments

The Butterfly Effect

Jessica and I had done a phenomenal job. Indeed, we had successfully accomplished David’s request to invite as many students as possible to the next international meal. As a result over 20 students ended up going to this hospitable and entertaining night of food, idioms and worship music.

Without giving it much thought, I decided it would be best to meet at 5.30 in front of the college. As it turned out it wasn’t the brightest idea I’d ever had in my life. After the bus showed up punctual as usual here in Christchurch, twenty students embarked on the yellow bus and waited to buy the tickets. In contrast to the very friendly and patient bus driver, we earned some tense looks from the other passengers. I took part of the blame.

We waited for about ten deadly long minutes until everybody had a seat. Furthermore a long queue of cars and other buses had jammed up behind us in that narrow road. Luckily they soon managed to overtake our bus, otherwise there would have been a tailback causing total chaos in poor little Christchurch! It would have been all over the Bournemouth Daily Echo.

At last, we arrived at the venue. It was supposed to be the night where I play the drum set during the worship time.* The drum set was ready to be played, unlike the drum sticks, which couldn’t be found anywhere. Really eager and wanted to hit some toms, I thought of tools which could be used for the same purpose. After a quick visit to the kitchen I came back with chopsticks and two large wooden spoons. As it turned out, the spoons proved to be more suitable for playing the drum set.
Afterwards my friends told me that the music had a delicious and tasty sound this evening. Indeed I wished to have a plate of soup next to the drum set. Maybe I started a new thing here: Play the drums and eat the soup. Yeah?

Considering all the events this evening I concluded it was worth all the palaver; David and his staff were delighted at the massive boost to numbers and I felt content after the spoon drumming. After eating some delicious Korean food and learning idioms, David admitted that the high number of students this night gave him some butterflies in his stomach. I felt exactly the same when I played the drum set after four weeks without one rhythm.

If you have a butterfly in your stomach because you found a mistake: Please comment ;)  

* The international meal is organised by a church. So besides providing food and teaching some idioms, they usually have a small input and after that they play some Christian music to worship God.