Eye of the Tiger

English

As promised, here are some more details about the big zombie event on Sunday. I first heard about this event from Eduardo. He told me all about the competition and made me curious to know more. So where do you turn to when you need all the facts? Yes, the Internet your trusty friend and advisor. So I learned that “Run for your lives” is a 5 km run where the idea is that you have just survived an apocalypse and that you have to escape the zombies together with the other survivors. What a blast! And there are obstacles, too! I love running events, I love zombies and so it was only natural to sign up for this brilliant combination of sports and alternate reality.

When you sign up you have to make a choice: Go as as a survivor, or go as a zombie. Zombies have to pay a higher ticket price because of all the makeup etc. and anyway because Eduardo and his friends wanted to go as survivors, that made the choice easier for me.

Zombie vs. Survivor

There’s also a facebook page with lots of background information and tons of pictures. Can you spot me?

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Click on me!

The event took place near Malahide Castle, which is about two hours from where I live. Sadly, my LEAP card picked just this day to stop working and so I had to pay the full fare. The card still has 12 Euros on it and I really want to get it fixed or get a replacement. One of my friends lost his wallet on the trip and couldn’t make it to the race.

Zombie Map!

It turns out that “Run for your lives” is quite a popular event. We had to stand in line for half an hour to sign up and to get our three red stripes. The stripes represent your “lives” which the zombies have to try and end prematurely. Eduardo forgot mention that you have to be at least eighteen years old to take part in the run. So I asked myself: Would real zombies in a real apocalypse care about my age? No, they would still tear out my flesh and eat me, regardless. With this in mind, it was easy for me to sign the statement that I’m old enough.

After signing up we had to wait another hour. The reason for this was, that they let the runners start the race in small groups so that all the zombies have a good chance to get their share of runner’s flesh. Each group has to wait in a black box until they get the signal to start running for their lives.

But you’re in luck: I was able to borrow a GoPro camera from my roommate and so here’s a clip of the major highlights of my brilliant experience:

Because the Malahide Castle is nearby, we went to see it after the race. Malahide Castle is a major landmark and tourist magnet, so they can charge anything they want. For us that meant that we only got to see the castle from the outside but for free.

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We made a lot of new friends that day at the event and we all went to a pizza restaurant together to celebrate. Irish restaurants offer a mix of great food and affordable prices so people here tend to eat out more often than we do in Switzerland. Don’t get me wrong, we also have great food but we’re still working on the prices.

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After the pizza we got on the bus back home and had a short stopover in Dublin where I bought postcards and stamps to send to friends and family back home.

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Eduardo, lost in the Forest

English Version

Welcome back my faithful readers. You probably wonder why I didn’t write anything for the past two days. The mid-term holiday has started and I had one of the best weekends ever.  On Saturday, I went to the cinema together with a couple of friends. We wanted to see the “Annabelle” movie. This time we agreed to go to a cinema in Dublin. I forgot to look up the cinema address on Google Maps so when I got to the city, I had no clue where to meet my friends. As I was walking past the post office on one of the busiest streets in Dublin, I suddenly see a couple of my friends standing there. What a stroke of luck! Soon after we made our way to the cinema, but first we had to stop at a convenience store to buy some food. The cinema ticket prices are low but the food is overpriced. So it’s better to get your own food in advance. The convenience store had an excellent candy selection and I just couldn’t resist! So I really bought a lot of candy, probably enough for ten people! I also bought my favourite chocolate “Raffaello”. I could eat “Raffaello” every day, it’s so tasty and delicious.

As we left the shop it was already quite late and we had to rush to the cinema. We didn’t want to miss the start of the movie!

Because “Annabelle” is a horror movie, you can only watch it if you are at least sixteen years of age. In Switzerland, this means that you have to carry an ID with you and the age limit is strictly enforced. In Ireland, they ask you: “Are you all sixteen or older?” and of course we all answer with a hearty “Yes!”. It’s a bit like a gameshow on TV. There’s no need to show an ID.

All horror movies follow a basic script. In the beginning, the cast is introduced and we get to know how everyone is connected. This part of the movie is usually a bit boring but it’s important to know the people who get killed! And with “Annabelle” the killing starts soon enough. And there is a lot of killing! My rating for “Annabelle” is eight out of ten stars. There are a couple of really good “jump scares”. Just when you least expect it, something truly horrible and disgusting happens. At one point, I was so surprised that I choked on a piece of “Raffaello” chocolate! I don’t think I will go into the basement for a couple of weeks.

On Sunday I went to the “Run for your lives” event. You may have already seen the music video I posted on Saturday. Participants can sign up for one of two roles: You can either be a zombie or a survivor. I picked the survivor role since that way I don’t have to dress up and because I think I can run a lot faster than a zombie.

As a survivor you have to wear three red stripes around your hip. The stripes represent your remaining lives. The task of a zombie is to try and grab as many stripes as possible so as to kill the remaining survivors. Survivors need to run as fast as possible along the five kilometre track filled with obstacles. What kind of obstacles? Well, there are pits filled with mud, labyrinths, steep hills and more. While you climb, run, slide along the path, the bloody zombies are always right behind you.

The whole experience was one of a kind and the best thing is that I made it to the finish line with a stripe left and I got a really cool T-Shirt. And as you can see on the picture, I’m not even that dirty, but I have to say, that I changed my clothes before we made that picture…

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Eduardo was there too but he wasn’t fast enough and some nasty zombies grabbed him and dragged him into the forest, never to be seen again……. until much later. “We must never speak of what happened here…”, he said to me but for some reason he still got a T-shirt.

Stay tuned for more details in tomorrow’s blog post.

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Dodgeball explained

English

As promised yesterday, here are all the details about dodgeball.

Gameplay

There is no fixed number of players, it’s up to you to decide how many players you need. Obviously, you’ll need more than one player or the game will be very boring. But you shouldn’t have too many players. How many is too many? If you can’t move your arms freely, that’s a good indication you’ve overdone it. Once you have enough players you should divide them into two teams of equal numbers.

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Red BallIn Switzerland we play a similar sport called “Völkerball”. Only in that game there’s just one ball at a time. With dodgeball you can play with up to ten balls simultaneously.

You start by placing the balls in the middle of the playing field. Then each team has to move back to their end of the playing field. The referee will blow his whistle and that’s the signal for everyone to run as quickly as they can and to grab one of the balls. The goal is to get their first and to throw the ball at the opposing team.

keep-calm-and-play-dodgeball-9Each team has a reserved area on their side of the field. This is called “the prison”. If you manage to hit a player with the ball, he or she has to go to prison and stay there. You can break out of the prison if someone from your own team throws you a ball directly and you can catch it.

If you try to free another player from prison and an opposing team member catches the ball instead, then you have join your imprisoned friends.

Rules

  • Before the game starts, you have to keep one hand in contact with the wall on your side of the playing field
  • When the referee’s whistle sounds, you have to run to the middle of the playing field as fast as you can
  • If you get hit, you have to go to the prison area
  • You can also get hit by a ball bouncing off the ground
  • You cannot get out of prison by catching a ball if it bounces off the ground
  • Running around with the ball in your hands is allowed
  • You are not allowed to move into the opposing team’s part of the playing field
  • You must try to dodge the balls that are thrown at you by the opposing team
  • Don’t go inside the prison area unless you are a prisoner yourself
  • Headshots are not allowed and don’t count

Winning

These are two ways that you and your team can win the game:

  • You hit every single player of the opposing team
  • At the end of the game, you count the players on both sides and the team that has more players in the field wins

I really like the game, it’s fast and requires a healthy mix of running and dodging.

So that way yesterday but now let’s talk about today. Not much happened except that I had to sit in chemistry class for two hours but didn’t learn anything because our chemistry teacher didn’t show up. So we watched some funny videos instead. Generally, if your teacher is unavailable for some reason, you still have to stay in calls even if you don’t do anything useful.

imagesThe temperature has dropped quite a bit this week and we try to stay inside as much as possible even during the breaks. It’s freezing! We had another one of the principal announcements over the speaker system today. It’s a friendly reminder to wear the school jacket and ONLY the school jacket even in the coldest winter!

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Gulliver’s Travels

English

ee661831b246a5cfb838a05ae301375247007371549721cd86ae76d99598b623Today is a good day! Do you know why? Because as I was checking my school diary, I noticed that I have a holiday coming up. This is called the “mid-term break” and I’m looking forward to it. There is also a disadvantage to this because every teacher wants to introduce a final test before the end of the term. So it’s going to be a busy week for me but after Friday I have a full week off.

On Saturday, me and a couple of friends will be going to the cinema to watch a movie called “Annabelle”. It’s a horror movie about a supernatural doll with evil powers.  I’m not including a link to the trailer because I know that many of my blog readers are young children (including my younger brothers back home) and the movie is rated ’18 only’.

philosophy-vs-religionThe religion classes here are quite different from the ones in Switzerland. In Switerland we actually learn stuff about the different religions like Bhuddism, Hinduism, Islam etc. Here we just talk about gender roles, society and similar topics. Why do they call this ‘Religion class’? So far we have never even talked about religion.

Today is the 21st of October. I have been here for two months already. EF told us that we would experience homesickness, especially around Christmas. They gave us tips on how to cope, what to do etc. But so far I haven’t really missed home. Of course, I do miss my family but it’s not as bad as EF told us it could be.

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…it could be!

334194Remember when I told you, that our school is too poor to afford a sports hall? Today I found out that there’s another school right next to us. It is a primary school and they do have a sports hall. Apparently they have more money than we do.  When it’s very cold we are now sometimes allowed to use this hall and today was one of those days. I have not been to this sports hall before, I have only seen it from the outside. So I’m full of expectations. Will they have the latest and greatest equipment? How many minutes will it take to run from one end of the hall to the other? As we enter the hall, I’m disappointed. It’s incredibly small. In just seven tiny steps I can reach the other end. It’s for primary school kids, they have tiny hands and feet – I guess it makes sense for them. This reminds me of the story of “Gulliver’s travels”. For us “giants” there is not enough space even to play football. So we play dodgeball instead. Basically, this means that you have to try and hit your fellow students with a ball. I’m quite good at dodging the ball and my friends are annoyed as they fail to hit me even once.

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Stay tuned for more information about the game, it’s rules and highlights in tomorrow’s post.

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Victorious Saturday

English Version

396878_352513241489391_429753844_n (1)It’s Saturday and I’m still sleeping. It’s great to sleep, I really love it. The best feeling is if you can stay awake until 2 o’clock the night before and know that you don’t have to get up the next morning. I know it’s not the healthiest habit but the best things in live are unhealthy, don’t you think?

But Margaret wakes me up early because today I will finally get the chance to see Conor playing football. So far, whenever I wanted to go, it didn’t work out for one reason or another. I’m sure you remember Eduardo my Mexican roommate. He is also going to join us. I quickly put on some clothes and then we all get in the car together and drive out to Conors game.

1f860ec481bf93be785a77e9ddb7922f8ef777842a12a4c8d799142ca75296baAs we get out the car, it’s quite windy and cold. Some would even say it’s freezing cold. It looks like it’s going to start to rain very soon. The playing field is nothing special, there are no benches to sit on or anything. So people just stand around the field and watch the action. Conor joins his team and they go through a training and warmup session before the start of the game.

While Conor is getting ready we are preparing our cameras for the big moment. Shortly before the game starts each of the two team gets together and discusses some last minute strategy options for winning the game. Soon after, the referee blows his whistle and that’s the signal for the kickoff. Conor plays very well and after just a couple of minutes he takes a first shot at the goal. The goalkeeper is ready and catches the ball. The game continues with a few attempts on the goal on either side. Conor’s team wins 1:0 in the end. Well played, Conor!

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Margaret asks me if I would also like to see Sean playing and of course I’m interested to compare the two brothers and how they play. Sean’s match takes place on another football field not too far away. It’s only a ten minute drive from where we are. Because Sean plays in one of the higher leagues, his game takes place in one of the local stadiums. Sean is there but he doesn’t actually get to play today since he has to sit on the bench all the time. He plays a bit for fun during half-break and I can see that he is quite a talented player. It does actually start to rain during the game and we even get to see one of the well-known Irish rainbows. The playing field is always nice and green in Ireland but the disadvantage is that you have to play in the rain a lot. Sean’s team wins too and so it’s a successful day for my host family. Both sons win their game!iStock_Goal

112315Sunday comes around and I’m preparing for a typical homework day. But then something funny happens: One of Eduardo’s friends comes to visit him and he is from Switzerland! For the first time in several months I get to speak Swiss German again. The funny thing is that I didn’t really remember everything and it was difficult to form German sentences because I haven’t spoken German for so long. Eduardo’s friend attends one of the schools in Dublin so he was only able to stay for one hour. Still it was a fun experience to speak a bit of German again after almost two months of speaking only English.

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The School Circus

English

Yesterday we finally had our ‘Pink Day’ at school. I didn’t want to put on my uniform by mistake, so I hid it under the bed, the night before. I’m not really a morning person. As a faithful reader, I’m sure you remember the time when I forgot to wear  the required shoes to school.

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Click on it 🙂

By the way, I often use old Blog posts to explain and compare past incidents to new events… From now on when I refer to previous blog posts, I will use this old watch image on the left hand-side. Just click on the watch and you will be taken back in time…

And now: back to the future! Or should I say “Days of future past”? I’m on my way to the bus stop and I’m wearing the pink shirt that my blog readers have asked me to wear. What will the other students do? Will I be the only one wearing a pink shirt today?  Just a few more steps and I will now… As I walk around the corner and see the students waiting for the bus I can’t really tell because it’s a chilly day and everyone’s wearing their school jackets. So I do the same, and zip up my jacket and get on the bus.

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No one sees my pink shirt 😀

I usually sit on the lower level of the double decker school bus because I’m too lazy to climb the stairs in the morning. Today I walk up to the second level because I want to have a good look at what everyone’s wearing. There is a clear difference between boys and girls: The boys have just put on normal clothes and haven’t made an effort. The girls have really dressed up for the occasion and are wearing their best clothes. It’s one of the few days of the year when you can leave an impression since during the rest of the year everyone has to dress exactly the same way.

As I get to school, it’s really just like a big carnival. Some people have dyed their hair pink and some have painted their faces pink. Even the teachers are all dressed in pink!

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The lessons are the same as usual though, we have to learn French, English, Math etc. and it’s all business as usual. Still it’s nice when you don’t have to wear a tie for once.

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And as promised: Here is a picture of me in a pink T-shirt. It’s not as bad as I thought and it’s for a good cause, right?

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Happy enough?

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Pink Norris

English Version

Do you still remember the little game we played yesterday?

Unfortunately none of my readers was able to provide the correct answer! Here’s the solution I came up with:

Jigsaw_Doll_by_smthcrim8950 * 5 = 250

250 – 100 = 150

150 + 10 = 160

160 * 2 = 320

This is just one possible solution, there are probably a hundred other ways to get to the target number.

I finally found out why everyone was behaving so strangely yesterday and why we had to prepare the experiments during chemistry class. Apparently this was for the so called ‘open day’. This is an event where the school tries to recruit new students by showing them the classrooms. I don’t understand why they are doing this since our school already has way too many students. It’s hard enough to get from one classroom to another because it’s so packed with people. In Ireland every student can pick the school that he or she wants to attend. In Switzerland you have to go to the school that’s in your area and you don’t get a choice unless you go to a private school. Personally, I’m a big fan of the Irish system because that way you can avoid the schools with a bad reputation without moving to another city. The only disadvantage is that the popular schools here simply have too many students. But I really think that the competiton between the different schools for the best students is a good thing. That’s why they prepared the experiments yesterday, to impress new students and to get them to sign up for the next school year.

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“Pink day” is just around the corner, in fact it’s going to be tomorrow. My friends really want to convince me to participate and wear something pink. They even try to make me believe I could be sent home, if I don’t do it.

Two things stop me from just saying ‘yes’:

  1. I hate pink!
  2. I don’t have anything pink!

I still don’t understand why the colour has to be pink, I mean that does seem a bit unfair. It’s obvious to me that the “Pink day” must have been invented by women and that they did not ask the opinion of men until it was already too late (the posters and flyers had already been printed).

I think I will stick with my original plan and just donate the 2 Euros. I have an idea on how to raise more money. Those who don’t want to wear pink can buy their way out of it. For example, if you don’t donate anything you have to wear a pink dress. For 2 euro you can wear pink pants, for 10 euro all you have to do is wear a pink hat. For 500 Euro you can ask the principal to wear a pink tutu.

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A note to my blog readers: Please check back on the “Surviving in Ireland” category where I have just recently added a new page listing the most notorious clichés and stereotypes about Ireland and the Irish people.

If there’s a cliché or stereotype about Ireland you would like me to write about, please drop me a note in the comments section.

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Chuck Norris doesn’t wear pink. Pink wears Chuck Norris.

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The Countdown Game

English Version 

tumblr_inline_ml7qkatDe31qz4rgpHave you ever heard an Irish teacher speak French? It’s quite an experience since they tend to have a bit of a strong accent. I know that I have an accent as well when speaking French or English but it’s not the same as when the Irish speak French. Anyway, we are just correcting our homework, when the door to the classroom opens and a new teacher enters. I have never seen this teacher before and I know all the teachers here on sight. She introduces herself and tells us that she’s just moved here from Paris. She will work side by side with our main French teacher and will help to prepare us for the Leaving Certificate test.  She is actually a native French speaker which is very good for us because this way we learn how to pronounce the words correctly. She is going to focus on French conversation while our main teacher will focus on grammar and written French. The new teacher speaks French flawlessly but she speaks English with a strong French accent. The lessons can be quite amusing especially when the two teachers switch between English and French. You can close your eyes and you still know exactly who is talking.

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e1657382542bfbe791e6ef0c6fc23769c5ca8434dfbc291546f04029cbb47d3eSoon after the start of the lesson we hear the familiar voice of the principal over the speaker system. He tells us, that he has a little game for us. He is going to read out five numbers and a result. We are supposed to: add, subtract, divide or multiply the five numbers to get to the result. He calls this the “countdown” game. We are allowed to work on the task during the French lesson. The teachers are unhappy since that means less time to study pronunciation.

Countdown game rules:

  • You don’t have to use all the numbers.
  • You can’t use the same number more than once.
  • Only +, -, x, ÷ allowed.

Here are the actual numbers as announced by the principal:

10 2 50 5 100

Target number: 320

I’m going to give you the solution in tomorrow’s blog post!

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During lunch everyone is excited because the economics lesson for today has been cancelled. We can all go home an hour early. This also means that I get an additional day to study for the economics test.

I think something’s going on because all the teachers are behaving strangely today. For example, during the chemistry lesson we are told to help the teacher prepare a number of experiments for a large group of people. That’s all we’re being told, but who is this group of large people and why are they coming? As a result we hardly learn anything new today since we’re all busy preparing for the big event. Maybe I can find out from some of my friends what’s going on.

funny-pictures-MEME-Would-You-Like-Some-TeaShortly after I return home, I have a visitor. It’s Brigitte, my EF contact or as they call it “IEC”. Margaret welcomes her at the door and offers her a cup of tea. Margaret always wants to give everyone cups of tea, but that’s an Irish custom. Whenever you visit someone the first question is always: “Would you like a cup of tea?”. Actually I don’t like tea, I prefer smoothies.

Brigitte only stays for about 30 minutes and after a short chat with both me and Margaret and two more cups of tea she says goodbye and leaves again.

Joke of the day: 

(suggestions into the comments, please!)

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.“Weiterlesen” für die deutsche Übersetzung…

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