Monday, November 15, 2004

Hello again -
Just got back from the Italian Alps ...

This weekend was the spiritual retreat. All programs were invited, and most everyone was there. I think 36 came from London, all 55 of Heidelberg, something like 32 from Florence, and about 20 from Lyon. There was a total of 150 of us jammed into this ski lodge (yeah, i know my math doesn't add up, get over it). This whole weekend only cost me 70 GBP which included airfare, food and lodging. We Londoners flew (part of the reason why it was so expensive), the group from Heidelberg took a 10 hr train, Florence took a bus, and people from Lyon got there anyway they could (some took a train, some drove).

Anyways the whole weekend was a lot of fun. I got to see some cool people that I hadn't seen in a while, and I got to see some people again who I never wanted to see in the first place (mostly the entire Heidelberg group). I think the most interesting part of the weekend was just seeing how the different groups interacted. Each program has its own personality & reputation. There's been a rumor floating around among the different overseas programs that the London program isn't very cohesive, that we all don't get along and that we haven't bonded together. Well, i'm happy to say that we smashed that rumor! I think we surprised a lot of people on how close we all are. London is a very different group than all the rest, we have had in the past the reputation of being the anti-social group; the group that really didn't fit in. But we changed that this weekend. We are definately the coolest program ever! =)

Basically this whole weekend was focused on our 'vocation'. One of the faculty at Heidelberg spoke to us a couple times and then we broke up into small groups and discussed it and tried to apply to our lives. I lead a group of 5 other guys, one of whome was my roommate last year (which I think is ironic, and if you know Joey, you'll know why). I was personally against the whole 'vocation' topic, just because it's been talked about at length, and it seemed a stupid topic to be talking about at a spiritual retreat.

I did have a lot of fun though. I pissed off a lot of people from Heidelberg, because they deserved it. =) We had a picture scavenger hunt around the village, played ping pong, created and acted out a skit to make fun of British people, ate Italian food (some of it was pretty good... but some of it was horrible) and just generally had a good time! We had a dance party the last night (which many people from Heidelberg boycotted because 'dancing is a sin').

It's class time!! I'll write more later...hopefully....

A view from out hotel overlooking the valley below and the Alps in the distance.

Our Hotel Vittoria... it's really just a ski lodge. Behind it (you can't see it) is a ski lift and several pretty good runs. I think this is probably more of a local ski resort, it seemed pretty small to me...


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