STAFF: Gaenor (UK) This is not a holiday

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Firstly a greeting from 2011 as most who read this will probably do so in the year 2012, as today is New Years Eve!
I felt it fitting therefore to let you all know what the last month of 2011, but first month of my volunteer period here at Our Chalet, has entailed…

Gaenor Harris
Let me start off with who I am though!
My name is Gaenor and I am a Guide from the United Kingdom, and live practically as close to the middle of our Island as you can get. This means we are far away from Ocean just like here in Switzerland, but also at home we are a long distance away from the Mountains unlike good old Our Chalet.

Therefore, I am loving living at this altitude and trying to make the most of the privileged opportunity to be here, as one of my passions in life is all things ‘mountainous’, and by that I mean hiking and climbing anything with a summit! In short the mix of Mountains and Guiding is just perfect, and as always there are many new and exciting things to try out in such a setting.

It seems hard to know where to begin explaining the last month and all that has happened over the festive time. We have been trained from everything like cleaning toilets and cooking traditional Swiss dinners, to using a snow-blower (very cool!) and learning to read the ski map. All in all I feel much more domesticated and I may even go as far to say useful! It is hard work volunteering here, and mustn’t be described as a holiday, but it is all tremendous fun as between the other ‘Vollies’ and Staff members it feels like a true and proper family, and we are definitely all very comfortable in each others company, smelly feet included!

Talking of families, I was very pleased to have my Mother and Father visit Switzerland and Our Chalet over Christmas time. It was particularly lovely to be able to have them here to celebrate in our usual ways as a family, but also and especially special to share with them the magic of Our Chalet in the Winter along with celebrating Christmas at a very large dinner table with so many new friends from around the World. My thanks go to Mum and Dad for joining me at Christmas and exceptional thanks for all those at Our Chalet who made this year’s festive season so memorable and unique!

It is now less than twelve hours to go until the end of 2011 here in Switzerland so I shall leave you all with my very best wishes for the New Year and I hope you are or will be (depending on where you are in the World!) celebrating well this evening.

Yours in Guiding and Scouting,

Gaenor Harries (UK)
Winter Volunteer 2011-2012

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