I have been told that Switzerland is one of the most beautiful countries in the world. Can you believe I was going to give it up for Spain to be an au pair? After getting my acceptance letter into the Autumn Season, I knew that it was now or never. Not to be cliché, but it was possibly the quickest and best decision I have ever made.
As my time here at Our Chalet is drawing to a close, I’m starting to ask myself why I do things the way I do and consider things that I achieved here. Usually, setting my goals does not happen beforehand; it takes me time to survey the landscape. Well, Adelboden is definitely one of the harder landscapes to get used to. Within a few weeks, I had already hiked mountains like Tschenten, Engstligenalp and Bunderspitz, which I ascended at an ungodly hour (2:30am). Anything for that sunrise, right! It was amazing, I must add, and should be done if you ever get to come to stay at Our Chalet.
The three C’s of Switzerland – cheese, chocolate and cows – are a major highlight of my time here at Our Chalet. Watching cows descend Engstligenalp at about 4:30am with other volunteers from Chalet was truly a magical experience. We listened for bells in the distance, as the cows made their way down the ever steep alp. The migration of cows happens twice a year, so it was a rare opportunity.
I always seem to get up at strange hours to venture into the Swiss ways of life. I have based my life on the notion of saying yes and taking every possible opportunity as it comes. There have been some crazy, wonderful and physically and emotionally challenging experiences. Life here as I know it will always include a hike. I have spent many a day off drinking in all the sights and adventures that the Bernese Oberland offers.
I recently dropped about CHF500 on a ski pass, so I’m ready for my next adventure and a lively Adelboden. I’m also looking forward to meeting all the new people who will leave their own mark on Chalet and put up with the staff house shenanigans. I’ve provided my fellow staff members with endless Steven Irwin references and facts about Australian wildlife!
Being a part of WAGGGS in my Member Organisation back in Australia, I didn’t see the impact globally that Guides and Scouts had on individuals and on the world. Working at a World Centre and seeing the impact of WAGGGS’s work has really put into perspective what it means to be a global citizen. I love Our Chalet and all that it offers; the opportunity to meet new people, contribute to the lives of others and be a light for more Guides and Scouts to volunteer.
I have some advice for the new vollies; it’ll be hard work but worth it. For every toilet you clean, meal made and bed set, there will be a new challenge and experience to be made. Push yourselves because you might not get another opportunity to do it again. To my follow Autumn Volunteers, I have loved every minute working and living with you. You girls make it all worth it. Every single second.
It never ceases to amaze me that I get to live, work and play in this little slice of heaven. When it comes down to it, I’m not ready to go. It is not just the landscape and ever changing weather patterns that make Our Chalet. It’s the people you meet. Switzerland and the people make it worth returning for another season. Luckily for me, due to my dual nationality, this will be a reality. So I’ll see you in the winter!
Ines, Australia – Our Chalet Autumn Volunteer, 2018