Living the Dream Life in the Swiss Alps – Vikki (HK)

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Watching the last Swiss Challenge group of this summer leave Our Chalet also means that the time of me leaving Our Chalet is getting closer. As people say, we are living in our own little world in Our Chalet, not much in the real world worries us, and now it is time for me to go back to reality, and I will miss my times here dearly.

Summer is a hectic season where the Chalet is bustling and full of guests nearly every single day. Then what are our days like on a normal working day? Summer highlighted programmes offered to guests are the Swiss Challenge events, lasting for 8 days, and our working sVickichedules basically are set around it. Either, we will be doing guest services, or leading programs for that Swiss Challenge. Leading programmes are loads of fun and immensely satisfying as well, having to getting to know the guests and watching them challenge themselves through the high adventures and the hikes and grow and develop individually and as a team. It never fails to amaze me how people from
different countries could bond so well just within a week. There are lots of tears shed when the last Swiss Challenge group leave. But I am sure the friendship formed here are lasting and the memories created here are ones that would stay with them the whole life and are life-changing ones. It is intense having to live with the same people and work with the same people every day, seeing them 24/7, especially this season we have people from very different and diverse cultures. I have heard so many wonderful stories from everyone and learnt so much about different cultures, which is both eye-opening and inspiring. For sure, what makes the Chalet so special to so many people
must be the people here.

One of the most important memory during my three months here would be the near shot of reaching the peak of Bunderspitz. It is quite an experience to be caught in a thunderstorm up on a
mountain, hiding behind a wall of snow and waiting for the thunderstorm to pass. The peak is just there! So near yet so far away at that time. Well it is a bummer, but safety first and we hiked back down, slipping and sliding down the slope, which is quite a funny sight, thinking back. It is a pity in the end the weather doesn’t allow me to climb to the top of the Bunderspitz the second time and enjoy a sunrise on top of it, perhaps that would be one of the regrets that would lure me back in the
summer time.

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The other most important memory is the night when I slept out in a bivouac to watch shooting stars (at the same time completing the staff challenge :P). That night is the first time I see actual
shooting stars. We could not hold in our whoo and aaahhs whenever we see some good shooting stars. Then sleeping in a bivouac overnight is extremely cold despite having three layers of clothes plus sleeping bag. But watching the sunrise from behind the mountains, gradually lighting up the whole sky pink from the little dodgy bivouac is immensely satisfying and once again made me in awe of the amazing nature Switzerland had to offer.

Vikki Sunrise

This summer has been a blast for me, trying so many different things, ticking so many things off my bucket list, meeting so many amazing people and hearing so many inspiring stories. Volunteering at Our Chalet certainly has been once in a life time experience and nowhere could have offered the same experience that Our Chalet gave me. Alas, it is time to say goodbye and hopefully, one day, our paths will cross again and I will visit my home up the the Swiss Alps again.

Vikki Shum (Hong Kong) – Our Chalet Assistant Summer 2015

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Our Chalet – A place I will never forget – Cathy (HK)

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Hi, I’m Cathy from Hong Kong. I waCathys a summer volunteer at Our Chalet. I could not believe that I have already been here for three months. It was an amazing and unforgettable experience that I have even had in my life. 

Before coming here, I has just graduated from university for a 3-year study of social work. Before finding job and starting work immediately, I want to let clear my mind about what I want and to pursue for my own dream before it’s too late. Therefore, I was here being a summer vollie.

Cathy OC

Our Chalet is an amazing and magical place. It is a place that help push yourself out of your comfort zone and let you unleash your potential. I have done a lot of incredible things here that I have never thought I could do. I am now able to cook dinner for more than 90 people, to abseil in a fast speed without any hesitation, to hike up a mountain over 2500m, to try many adventurous activities and to chat with the foreign smoothly. Many of my first experience also happened here, for instance, making snowman, hiking overnight, swimming in glacier lake, rafting, paragliding, scootering, seeing shooting star, etc.

Within all these, my most impressive moment must be the pendulum swing that I did with other vollies’ support and encouragement. I was really scared and terrified when I need to jump off the bridge. But it was worthwhile! It was so much funCathy swing and awesome to swing in the sky and enjoy the swiss alps surrounding me. Another impressive experience was I hiked four Swiss mountains peaks which over 9,000m in total. I was not a keen hiker and I did not go hiking a lot in Hong Kong. Luckily, I found my hiking buddy, Katie, another summer vollie, so that we can go hiking together often and make me realized how fun hiking is. I enjoyed the journey during hiking and also felt great satisfaction when I stood on the top of the mountain and looking the fabulous view.

Cathy jump

With these experiences, I am now braver and having more self- confidence. Instead of being fear and worried, I am excited to face my next challenge.

Apart from surprised by my own potential, I was amazed how the guiding and scouting make us all gather in the first world centre of WAGGGS this summer and create such a great memory to me. At the very first beginning, when I arrived, I felt lonely and hard to make friends with others. It was hard for an Asian living in environment where most spoke English as first language. I need time to think about how to reply and what to say every time. But, when I stayed here longer, everyonCathy Vollie teame was nice, helpful and supportive.

And I realized that no matter where are you from, what languages you are speaking, how different your culture are, we are all a big family under guiding and scouting. We helped each other, finished work together, hanged out and enjoy days together. All the staff and guests made my days here in Our Chalet and I will definitely remember you all, especially my lovely and awesome vollies, the time we watched Sound of Music in the first moving in day, time that we played “cows cows”, the time we worked hard in cleaning th
e chalet, the time we hiked the thunderspitz :P, etc…Cathy Guests

Just like what Helen Storrow and Falk said, Our Chalet did offer adventure and challenge but at the same time, I could find peace for my soul. I am really happy that I’ve spent my summer here. I don’t know when I will come back, but I’m sure Our Chalet is always my home and I will definitely return

Cathy Steps

Cathy Au (Hong Kong) – Our Chalet Assistant Summer 2015