Mar 17, 2010 - England, Trips    1 Comment

Being a Monk

hallway in the monarchy With my school I went to a monarchy the past three days . In the 12th grade my school organizes a special week for every class. For the ones who don’t study economic: a week, where they about economic learn in a practical way , and the ones who study economic go to a monarchy for a change. It is a little bit ironical but it does make sense.
Anyway. This tuesday my classmates and I headed off to the monarchy in “Engelberg” (middle part of Switzerland). We got separated from the girls after a stop at Luzern. Then we went on with our teacher right to the monarchy. After arriving and welcoming we went to our first prayer. In a catholic church, which was part of the monarchy, we stood on two sides faced to each other and read some psalms for about 20 minutes. It would be our first prayer out of nine with the monks. The rest of the afternoon we received our rooms and got some instruction from one of the monks.
We ate dinner with the monks in silence. No word was spoken. Only one of the monks was reading out of a book. At the end it was a little bit humiliating for me. He stopped reading and you could hear every single noise. Of course I was the only guy who was still eating. I could hear myself cutting my potatoes, drinking water and swallowing everything down. Really uncomfortable! Especially because I knew everybody was waiting for me and kinda looking at me while I still was eating. Thank God we had another prayer and I could apologize =D
monarchyThe next day we had to get up at 5.00 AM!!! Not being a morning person, it was a really hard thing for me. At 5.15 the fourth prayer with the monks was on the schedule. Luckily the teacher informed us the day before that we wouldn’t have breakfast for another three yours, so I could get something to nibble before the prayer. This time the prayer was 45 minutes long. 45 minutes of standing without having breakfast before! Another great challenge for me. But I also succeeded over this great challenge!
After the prayer we had one hour quiet time for us where we could think about the prayers or sleep a little more. (I have to admit, I picked the second). After that we had a traditional catholic ceremony then finally breakfast!!!
During the day we went on a “spiritual hike”. Our teacher and a monk challenged us with questions about life boundaries, limits and what is important for us. The rest of the day we spent with praying, free time and in the evening going swimming. (The monarchy included a residential school with a pool.) We also had an interview with another monk. He told us about his time he spent in Kamerun, building up workshops and training the people there. He told us how important it is to have purpose to live and help the others us much as you can.
The next morning: 45 minutes prayer again. Then we got a tour through the whole monarchy: a really nice old library with reeeaally old books, a huge organ, prayer rooms, catholic church, huge baroque hallways, and stories about the Benedictines monks. All in all a nice tour through the whole area.
prayer placeAfter lunch with the monks again it was time to go home. We spent three days there. It was a quiet time with a lot of time to think. Also we got a little inside in the life of a Benedictines monk. For me the prayers were really inspiring. They cut our day down, and give you a nice little break the recharge and stop thinking about work for a second. Maybe something I should do more.

Mar 4, 2010 - England, Sport, Trips    4 Comments

Snowboarding: ALL WINTER LONG!

I am back! Yeah I was snowboarding again. This time two weeks with a part of my family. We were at our apartment in the Swiss Alp. When you are interested, it is in South Switzerland in the Kanton Wallis. My brother and I got two weeks off for winter break!

My daily schedule is easily told: morning snowboarding, then having lunch at an “alp restaurant”, going back on the slopes till 5.00 PM, going home for dinner, and then watching the olympic games in Vancouver all night long!
That’s really almost all I did the past two weeks. It was a relaxing and also fun! Only the book presentation I had to prepare was a little bit a pain in the a**. I could choose when I wanted to do my presentation. The ones who were going to do it first will get some extra credit. So, I picked the first date to do it,  which was the first day after the break. How stupid I was. But now I am glad I’ve already done it and I am happy for the extra credit since my teacher didn’t like my presentation (he really doesn’t like my american style of presentation).
Anyway, the olympic games where fun. Switzerland got 6 gold medals which is quiet a lot for a little country like us. I hope you all know the guy Simon Ammann! He is the one who won two of them in ski jumping! I am not related to him tho…
Alright, the rest of the post I let my pictures speak!
morning sunriseAnother nice viewAnother nice viewAnother nice viewAnother nice viewAnother nice viewa little pick of our ski areaAnother nice viewAnother nice viewAnother nice viewa baby christmas tree?Another nice viewAnother nice viewAnother nice viewAnother nice viewAnother nice view
Feb 5, 2010 - England, Sport, Trips    2 Comments

Study or Fail!

Hello everybody!

Yes, I am still alive and I haven’t given up my blog. The last 4 weeks were just really busy for me. So busy that I couldn’t even update my blog.

So, you are probably asking yourself what did Raphy do in January? Well second of week of Januray I went to a snowboard camp! I got suspended from school for a week, which was really awesome! In that camp I got trained to a snowboard instructor. We stayed in a really nice hotel! Twin rooms with televisions, bath and shower included! I expected some military barracks with really uncomfortable beds. The whole week the sun shone, the snow was perfect and I just had a blast in that snowboard trainee camp.

Third week back in school! I had to catch up with all the materials I missed. Or better I should have. Still I had to study for some exams and write two essays: one about the city “Basel” and second a portrait of a teacher. The teacher one was actually fun to write.

Week four of January I got the chance to show off all my new learned skills in snowboarding. I went to another snowboard camp, this time not as participant but as a leader. My brother came along as a participant. Sadly he does skiing and not snowboarding. (snowboarding is way better…) Otherwise I probably would have been his instructor. The camp was a snow sport camp of my school. Every grade until the 12th grade has such a camp once a year.

I had a great time. It was fun to teach some younger kids of my school some snowboarding tricks. Only bad part about the camp: There was some kind of virus going around. About 85% of all kids got sick and had to throw up for a day. panorama viewAfter having the virus 24h the kids were normally fine. Fortunately I didn’t catch the virus but my brother did. I am not telling you how many times he had to throw up that one night. It was just gross. But again, other than that, we had a great week!

Right now I have to catch up with a lot of materials and it seems like every teacher is just throwing around with test, exams, essays, books, and presentations assignments. So, right now I don’t see through the tunnel of school work, but I guess I will survive it. Since I have winter break in just one week!!!

Till then my motto is: Study or fail! :P