L'Abri: A Day in the Life
7:58 Throw some clothes on, stumble downstairs and grab a seat at the big table. You're hardly awake and don't feel like talking yet. Coffee first. It's mediocre, but it helps. Cereal, toast with margarine & jam. If you're lucky it's muesli day or granola with almonds.
8:23 Walk outside with coffee still in hand and marvel at the mountains, sunshine on your face. You're free until 9:00. Read, pray, chat.
9:00-1:00 p.m. Study time*. You walk down the path, across the road, and down another steep slope to the study area into the chalet. Wooden roof and walls, glass on one side, overlooking mountains. If it's nice you sit outside on the deck and glance up at the mountains between pages. If it's cold or rainy, you go downstairs to the comfy chairs, grab a blanket and some tea and try not to fall asleep.
11:00-ish. Take a stroll. Maybe with friend.
1:00 p.m. - 2:15 p.m. Lunch and (sometimes)** discussion. You look on the list and see who's house you're at for lunch. The food is always good. After some initial chit chat, someone can pose a question to be discussed. Sometimes the conversation is great. Sometimes it's frustrating. In any case thoughts are stimulated and people are wrestling in the best way they know how. After the formal discussion is over people walk home in small groups and often the conversation continues in a more personal way.
Free until 3:00pm. A nap is a nice way to go. So is some ping-pong.
3:00. Work time. Somedays you're working outside, trimming, raking, mowing. Other days it's inside work. Cleaning bathrooms, doing laundry, scrubbing ceilings, or vacuuming. Still other days you help cook dinner. It's a chance fr your brain to shut off. Sometimes the best conversations happen while working. It's good to have a body.
4:30-5:00. Tea Time. A cart comes out to the lounge with tea, milk, sugar and cookies. People trickle in, take a seat. You chat, stare outside, laugh, etc.
6:15. Finish chores.
6:30 p.m. Dinner. Everyone back together again. Out the window are the mountains, inside there are candles on the tables. You look for a table with friendly faces. You sit down hungry and happy. These people you just weeks ago were strangers now feel familiar, like family. Announcements are given and grace is said. A line forms for the food. You try not to be first, but not too far back either. Conversation varies from forced, to funny, to profound. Often all in one sitting.
It's your turn to do your once-per-day dishes that ends up being not-quite-once-per-day with all the people taking a turn. Post-dinner chatter and soapy water. Dishes aren't so bad when done with friends.
7:30. Free time. You play ping pong most every night. You're rapidly improving. Some people stay inside and listen while someone plays the piano. There's board games and card games. Occasionally, you go check your email on the ancient computer that charges you by the minute. You don't mind. It's nice to have a break. Back outside, the sun is shining on the mountains. It's a nice night so everyone walks down to the bench that overlooks the valley. Tall grass and wildflowers surround you all. You sit down on a blanket. Out comes wine, beer, (officially banned on L'Abri property but okay off property) and cigarettes. It's hard to miss home here. Sometimes people sing, or tell stories, mostly people just laugh and flirt and talk and feel occasionally awkward and do the things we all do amongst new friends.
The first stars come out while the sky is still deep blue high above the mountains. You look at the group of people around you and realize that this particular group is as fleeting as the spring flowers. And as beautiful. You try to soak up the richness of these people, in this place, in this moment.
11:00 p.m. You walk home through the small village. You climb the stairs, find your room, brush you teeth. You say goodnight to your bunk mate and think about what it would be like to never leave.
*Sometimes you study in the afternoon. This varies day to day based on assignment.
-Thursday= Free Day.
-**Wednesday and Friday. A lecture is held in the morning or afternoon, thus shortening your study period, or if you're lucky, your work period (Also no formal lunch on Wednesdays).
-Sunday. Breakfast is at 9:00 a.m. and dinner at 7:00 p.m. After an 11:00-12:00 Bible teaching, (don't' call it a sermon!) you are free until dinner. Hiking, cheese tasting, volleyball, walking up to the village for wifi, going to Lake Geneva to swim, or just staying in are all options.
-Once a week you meet with your tutor and talk about what you are reading and what questions you have.