First off, HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!!! May 2014 hold things great and magical and swell for all.
The day before yesterday I got home from a RIDICULOUSLY great week in St. Gervais. I feel like I say a lot on my blog that everything on exchange is the best thing ever... but this truly has made it to my top 3 on the list of exchange highlights. It's not going to be a week I forget.
Friday morning at 7:30am, my third host dad (Thibaut), host sister (Alix), her cousin (Thaïs), and Rika all piled into the car and left Roubaix on our 8 hour trip to the Alps. It was a long drive but with some good ol' reading and napping it didn't drag on forever. And soon enough the sweet glorious sight of the mountains graced my vision and struck me speechless with awe at their magnificence (WOW is that an award winning sentence or what.) For real though, I had a moment where I was super happy and wanted to scream but kept it to a muffled giggle-squeal because at that point my fellow road trippers were still kind of strangers and I wouldn't want to freak them out. We drove out of a tunnel and suddenly there were mountains EVERYWHERE. It filled me with the bestestestest feeling. Apart from my family and friends the mountains are one of the biggest things (literally hehe) I miss about home, and it felt like being back in Canada when I saw them come into sight.
|we almost there and we happy|
We arrived in St. Gervais and drove to the chalet to drop off all our baggage, then headed right up to the ski hill to rent our skis and take touristy photos and freak out about being in the mountains and stuff (the last part was mostly me).
|that's one happy Canadian|
|Standing on the terrace just outside our room in the chalet|
|loving that rental gear|
|introducing the newest and most fashionable goggle re-awakening: VINTAGE|
|Shameless selfies in the Alps|
Yeah. It was delicious. No wonder it's famous.
The rest of the week consisted of the same sorts of awesome. We'd wake up early and breakfast at the chalet, walk to the gondola which took us up to the ski runs, get on our gear, and hit the hills. Every day at lunchtime the whole group from the chalet gathered on the same run to eat our ham and baguette sandwiches with the occasional clementine orange and gateau. HEAVEN.
New Year's Eve came along and a big group of us hung out on the mountain later than usual to watch the 2013 sun set over the Alps for the last time ever. It was really cool, there was a great group, and just as the sun disappeared behind the peaks we all got up and started sliding down the runs in our ski boots. Total shenanigans but totally awesome. There was about maybe 15 of us who skied down together then in the dark (questionable safety-wise) and we did this hilarious thing where we'd make our skis into "pizzas" and go one behind the other holding on to the person in front's waist. We made one long chain and skied a good little while like that too before breaking up (even more questionable safety-wise).
|Thaïs and I|
|Alix Thaïs Siobhan|
|COUSINS! We hung out with these three lots. L2R Joseph, Athénaïs, Charles|
The rest of the evening was a blast. Everyone got dressed up, and there was a happy and excited air about the chalet as we got ready to welcome 2014. Dinner started late and lasted well into the night, with the striking of midnight celebrated with dancing and cheering and walking around kissing everyone you see on each cheek and saying "BONNE ANNÉE!"
|Alix, Thaïs, Joseph|
|moi et Rika|
The next day, I will admit, we slept in. But we still got up and out to go for a ski, even if we were looking a little bit tired........
That night big things were planned. The woman in charge of organizing everyone at the chalet had signed us all up for a stellar night. The plan was that we'd be taken up the ski hill on ski-doos, eat at a restaurant up top, then "luge" down. The ski-doos came to fetch us, and it was basically one ski-doo with a wagon attached on the back. 2 people in the wagon, and 2 people behind the driver on the ski-doo. I took one look at the wagon and hopped myself onto the comfy seat of the ski-doo. The drive up was way too much fun. Then we arrived at the restaurant.
|We got there early, the place filled up later|
Dinner was delicious, then we suited back up in our snow gear for our "luge" experience. I was expecting something along the lines of the Olympic type luge because what other luge is there, but when I saw what we were really doing things made sense. We were told we had to have headlamps, then we were basically set free on a good 5-10minute carnage on these one man sleds down the steep ski-doo trail at 10:30pm in the pitch black forest. There were a good 30 of us swerving left and right and trying (sometimes not succeeding) to break at the right moment and not go flying face first into a ditch or tree. I laughed SO hard the entire time. It was so much fun and such an adrenaline rush, not to mention it was just so funny watching my fellow chalet friends get flung around on the steep slopes, laughing the whole time. I honestly felt like we were doing some real live Mario Kart.
|The ladies getting prepped! (CANADA REPPIN)|
|This was my face the entire way down accompanied by giggling|
The next day we woke up and it was pouring rain in the village... didn't exactly get any of us revved to hit the slopes, but we got out anyway because it was our last day to ski. Things turned out alright though because there was a moment as we took the gondola up to the runs, where suddenly the rain changed into these huge fluffy flakes of snow that took my already good mood and skyrocketed it. There is no greater sight than heavy fluffs of snow on a ski hill.
|goodbye hair... hello snow cone|
|hot choc gang|
And Charles busted out the goods...
The rest of the day was a blast because the snow was better than it had been the whole week. I skied right to the end with my new friends from the chalet, and headed back to the village for the last time feeling exhausted but supremely content.
It was such a great week, and when I woke up from my nap on the car ride home to see we'd left the mountains behind... I was definitely sad, felt like a tiny little piece of me had died I won't lie, but it's alright because there are some AWESOME things planned for the next 6 months... I'm going to Ireland, my sister and mum are coming to visit, I'm going on a Euro tour with exchange students... I really can't complain, life is quite fantastic.
ps. CRAZY FACT: Two weeks from Thursday is 5 months of exchange... aka... HALFWAY THROUGH. Can't wrap my head around it. Let the 2014 shenanigans commence.