STAFF: I did not expect… – Natalie (NZ)

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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!

Natalie

  • 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!

spring vollie group

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

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One thought on “STAFF: I did not expect… – Natalie (NZ)

  1. Elizabeth Field

    And 14 years on you will still be surprised it made such an impact on your life, those other vollies where ever they are still part of your life as if you had just shared a hot chocolate or a if bowl of ice cream, our chalet will become as spiritual to you as Aotearoa is. Enjoy your time as a vollie, be re. or another kiwi who was there 14 years ago.

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