Since I found out I was going to be a Spring Vollie at Our Chalet, I seem to have had countless people asking me about my expectations. To be honest, I only had a rough idea of what I’d be getting up to, and it just didn’t seem fair to build too much from that. So while I can’t tell you that life at the Chalet was or wasn’t what I expected, I thought I’d share some of the things I definitely did not see coming!
- I did not expect to find folding laundry so therapeutic.
- I did not expect to go hurtling down a mountain on a sledge in the dark.
- I did not expect to share a room and actually quite like it.
- I did not expect to meet so many people from the UK… but it’s like one big tea-drinking support group, which is lovely.
- I did not expect to spend kitchen time belting Disney songs and dancing to ABBA.
- I did not expect to win a free ski lesson, let alone find it actually quite enjoyable!
- I did not expect to be so confused when crossing the road…
- I did not expect to discover a talent for whipping cream into ‘soft peaks’.
- I did not expect to be asked if I’d like to go paragliding over the mountains – uhhhh yes!
- I did not expect to make such good friends among the other vollies and staff.
- I did not expect to spontaneously make chocolate brownie for said friends, just to make them happy =)
- I did not expect to become so skilled at folding fitted sheets.
- I did not expect to learn how to cross-country ski with a group of guides, let alone complete a 4km-ish circuit without falling on my bum!
- I did not expect to succeed in lighting a fire with only one match.
- I did not expect to feel so proud of my culture and heritage.
- I did not expect the snow to melt so quickly.
- I did not expect to become so attached to having cornflakes for breakfast.
- I did not expect to be acting as translator between US and UK English!
- I did not expect to feel such a sense of satisfaction after cleaning toilets.
- I did not expect to like popcorn with salt, cinnamon and maple syrup (although I did expect to like it with salt and chocolate fondue!).
- I did not expect campfire singing to sound so good!
- I did not expect to rely so heavily on masking tape.
- I did not expect to have such fun with a mountain, some dirty snow, and a bin bag.
- I did not expect to become so attached to Derek the Dishwasher.
- I did not expect to find myself retrieving a sewing machine from the bomb shelter.
- I did not expect to teach the Cotton Eyed Joe dance to a group of young leaders from around the world.
- I did not expect time to fly by so quickly!
We’re about halfway through our season already, with some big weeks ahead of us. I look forward to the many experiences yet to come that I did not expect to happen, and I hope you will take a moment to think about the awesome unexpected experiences you’ve had so far!
Natalie Watkin Ward (NZ)
Our Chalet Assistant – Spring 2014