The fact that I have now been living at Our Chalet in the Swiss Alps for almost a month leads to a lot of different thoughts. First of all, I cannot believe that it has already been that long. It seems like I just recently stood in the airport in Aalborg saying goodbye to my family. When walking towards the gate, two and a half months sounded like such a long time, but now it feels like time is passing far too quickly. Yet I have experienced so much that everything before that morning in the airport seems so far away. It is surprising how fast you get used to life at Our Chalet (apart from the view which will never stop being impressive). I remember going to bed on my second day here, reminding myself that I only just got here, and I could hardly believe it.
One thing that I have learned about Our Chalet is that it is a great place to challenge yourself in many ways. This applies both to the guests who can proudly talk about how they completed their personal challenge, and to the staff. When living and working here, you get the opportunity to be a part of an international team which opens up new possibilities to learn about other cultures and about yourself. We also learn skills that will always be useful such as cooking, cleaning and being responsible and dependable as well as being the leader of a group. Being from Denmark, my time at Our Chalet is also a chance to improve my English.
Not only do we get to make new friends and develop our language and leadership skills, the area is also perfect for challenging ourselves and each other physically. For people who live in countries without any mountains such as Denmark, going on hikes here is very different from what we are used to. But the opportunity to challenge yourself is not enough. You also need the will and the courage to face those challenges and to try something new. For this, I believe that the strong friendships that form here at Our Chalet help a lot, because we do not have to face these challenges alone. I experienced this myself when I went on a cycling trip recently with one of the other volunteers. 25 kilometers in the mountains is very different from 25 kilometers in Denmark. If I had been on my own, I do not think that I would have chosen a route with an ascent of 1200 metres, but that is what we did. With that said, I am really glad that we went. Even though we agreed that it was really hard and probably also harder than we expected, we also agreed that it was worth it!
Our Chalet is also a place for having fun and for being creative together. An interest that takes up a lot of my time at home is music, but living in the Swiss Alps far away from the choir I usually sing in has not been a limitation. Instead, I get to share this interest with some of the other volunteers, and together we have learned new songs in new languages. This also includes the many new campfire songs that I have learned from both guests and other volunteers.
I still have a month and a half left, and I am really excited about getting to explore even more of the area, meeting guests and running activities for them, and spending a lot more time with my new friends from all over the world. Being with the same people all the time may entail some challenges since we are all different, but I have no doubts that we will all rise to the challenge and have an amazing season together.
Louise (Denmark) – Our Chalet Assistant, Autumn 2018