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 schedules 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
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.
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