Kia Ora all, I’m Naomi from New Zealand. I’ve been at the Chalet for about two months now, and thought I’d take some time to write to you all. Hope the weather nice at your end, it sure is shining here.
Our Chalet was not what I expected. But it has turned out to be so much better than anything I could ever have hoped for. I’m the baby of the group – even though I’m also one of the tallest. I finished high school in November and while many around me began to look at university classes and figure out dorm rooms, I spent my days dreaming of leaving New Zealand, discovering other places, and finding myself. I’m the cutie with glasses.
Our Chalet seemed perfect; a chance to stay in Guiding, but experience it a whole new way. So I bundled up my life into one bag, and set sail (or flight if you want to get technical). I met a few other vollies on the bus into Adelboden, and when we got to the bus stop, myself and another vollie Cate, tentatively decided to walk up the hill with all our stuff. It’s been non-stop since then.
Our Chalet brings together cultures and backgrounds from all over the world, and that’s one of the things I love about it. Already I’m learning new things about new places that never would have interested me if I’d stayed home. Stereotypes of other countries have been knocked down – especially America, as I learn that what I’m shown on television, isn’t quite what everyone in their country is like. It’s quite refreshing meeting some Americans who aren’t 100% patriotic.
It’s a chance for me to show off New Zealand a little bit too, which has been fun. For my international food I made a pavlova, and a few nights ago I did a power point on Godzone.
My favourite thing about the Chalet this summer though, is the programme. The constant activities all week long, with many of them pushing people above and beyond their normal day to day life. I am absolutely, 100%, no-doubt-about-it scared of heights. But, even after only six weeks, I am learning that all my fears are only hurdles, never walls. It’s a work in progress, but slowly and surely I am become braver and more confident in myself. It’s so different from my life back home. I never would have gone looking for a rock climbing course, or a gorge to abseil into. I was content with being scared. But now, I have goals for the summer. By the end I will be able to do all the climbs, and even come down smiling.
I’m developing a new awareness for the outdoors as well. A knowledge that the Great Outdoors are actually great. You might think coming from New Zealand, I’d be all active all the time, in touch with nature and all that. But the truth is, I’m not. I grew up in a city, and I thrive in one too.
But here at Our Chalet, I’m learning that I enjoy being outside, not just for a few hours, but all day. I like the feeling of the sun on my back and the wind in my hair. I can learn so much by just being outside, amongst it all. Suddenly tramping isn’t something I’m just dragged along to by my parents, but something I’m actively seeking out to do by myself. And I love it, I really do.
Our Chalet”s changing me for the better. Being surrounded by inspirational and passionate women 24/7 has something to do with it also. It’s a very special experience to be working and living in a place where everyone is as passionate for adventure and challenge as I am. I’m also becoming more aware of the work WAGGGS is doing, and how I can be a part of that change. Already, I’m contemplating changing what I study when I get to university (going from English literature to women’s studies). But while I’m getting excited for my future, I also have to keep reminding myself to stop and take a look at where I am. Appreciate what I have and everything I’m doing.
But really, with a view like this, it’s not that hard.
Naomi Peacock – New Zealand
Summer Volunteer (2012)