Despite my previous existence as a writer, the only thing I've written in the last eight weeks is a shopping list. Shopping lists actually and they're a far cry from the ones I used to write at home which mainly read:
1) Pick up some discounted items in Waitrose organic food aisles
2) Re-order Thai takeaway from Deliveroo (if you don't know, you are totally missing out)
3) Keep plastic containers to take leftovers to work.
When watching Chalet Girl prior to my flight out here, I knew it wouldn't be exactly like the film (although, being totally awesome in a ski competition and meeting a hot, rich guy wouldn't be too bad...) but I struggled to make sense of a situation where a group of young people; most of whom would have just left home, could run a chalet and deliver utmost customer service to a constant flow of paying guests.
The irony of my situation has not been lost on me. In my Previous Life - hereafter to be referred to as "my PL" - my food was either delivered directly to me by young people in their first jobs or gap years or packaged for me by young people probably saving up for their gap years. Currently, my role as head host in chalet during a ski season means I have to order the raw ingredients for the food that is then cooked for me (and the guests obvs) by the young people I manage - all of whom are in their first jobs or gap years.
I'll be honest, and this is the judgmental side of me; I expected chaos. I prepared myself for tears, drama and high jinx. I knew nothing of seasonnaire-run ski chalets growing up and I've always preferred beaches and Ray Bans to snow and goggle tans so I'm still coming to terms with the fact that teenage run ski accommodation is a thing.
We’re now two months and a few hundred guests into the season and I’m shaking off the judgement clouding this experience and I’m re-learning that the God I serve is a God of surprises. I’m learning that is not necessarily age that bonds people together but willingness and acceptance. I’m learning that I have much to give and much to receive from living with a group of complete strangers. I’m learning that the maternal instinct I have nurtured since being pregnant with my own child but have been unable to act upon, can be re-directed towards the support of those whose own mothers are not around.
And I’ve learned that sometimes, it is possible to be the self-appointed “grown-up” in a chalet full of teenagers experiencing their first time away from home and yet be the only person crying homesick.
Sometimes I miss the Thai takeaways and the bargain Waitrose goodies snatched from under a lurking fellow shopper’s nose. I miss my wardrobe and my laptop and my social life. But I absolutely LOVE my team. I love the girls and their hair and outfit drama and the boys and their jokes and constant stream of bravado. I love seeing them step up to challenges and fulfil the high expectations set for them. They are all owning it and I’m excited to be on this journey with them.
NOTE: Currently taking a Sabbatical and working in a Christian run ski chalet in the French Alps. To find out more visit: www.richmond-holidays.com
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