Stepping into 2018, there are tons of things that I’m anticipating this year. (Not counting them for you though! Won’t be fun if y’all know what I will be doing) The six-day ski trip was first in line and I’d been super hyped about it for a long time already. Back in September when I first got to know my girls, news was flying around between the Juniors that we can also sign up for the ski trip, which is mainly for the Sophomores. Julie asked me if I wanted to go with her, and I hesitated at first. Don’t get me wrong, I love skiing and it is my favorite sport, but back then my French was horrible and I was scared that if I went on a trip with the school I won’t be able to understand what my friends are talking about. I obviously no longer need to worry about that anymore.
Elena also signed up, and she almost didn’t make the list of forty students. Me neither, because I had to wait for PIE to issue an official permission for me to go on the trip. On the day of departure, we found out that we were actually the bottom two on the list because we were the last to get on the bus. Phew!
The voyage began with a seven hour drive from Sarreguemines to the Châtel, a ski center in the Alps where we will be staying for the next few days. At one point we passed through Switzerland and the view from the pause station was amazing. There was also a small playground on the outdoor terrace, and we, as much as we were already teenagers, had some fun on the swings and seesaw.
Soon we were approaching the mountainous area. With our cellular services connected to Swisscom, we Snapchatted our way up the mountains, afraid to miss any beautiful scene. Elena, sitting beside me, told me that the view would be even more magnificent when we arrive and look out our room windows. With a promise as such, I put my phone away and studied the houses that passed by with my “real” eyes, but not through the camera.
Turns out, the Juniors didn’t have rooms to stay in – we had an apartment all to ourselves. Surprise surprise! We were literally squealing with excitement as we followed the teachers down the slope beside the house of the owner, dragging our suitcases along. The apartment was in fact the former basement of the house but it had glass doors that opened to the lower terrace of the property, which would be our front yard. It was also split into two areas so the landlord could accommodate two different parties. The Juniors got the large apartment, while the two female teachers – one sports teacher and the other our French teacher – took the one room apartment beside us.
There were two bedrooms in the apartment. One was at the end of the corridor, with two beds, which Nicolas and Joël took. The other one was to the immediate right of the door of the apartment, containing three beds, and obviously, for the three girls (Elena, Julie, and me). There was a bunk bed in the corridor, just across from the toilet and shower, which was later deemed “boy’s territory” because guess what… we had our own shower and toilet in the girls’ bedroom, installed with a large radiator to keep the place heated 24/7! Paul Ro (that’s not his surname but for privacy reasons I will not write it on here. I put it just to show the difference because we have two boys named Paul) took the lower bunk bed, while Paul Ra and Logan claimed the sofa bed in the living room. Yes, a freaking living room with a TV, along with a kitchen and a wooden dining table. Oh, did I mention that there was a jacuzzi right outside our apartment?
You may be wondering – so where are the Sophomores staying for the week? Their hostel, called “Val-Joli” (which means “Beautiful Valley”), sits right beside the house where our landlord lives. The Juniors would eat at the cafeteria at the hostel with the Sophomores, just that every time we would have to go out into the cold and run up the little slope to get to the main building. The hostel is also where we rented our ski equipments.
Which is what we did after briefly settling down in our very own apartment. Each with a pair of ski socks in hand, we walked to the rental area and got in line to get our boots fitted. When I received all the things needed – boots, skis, and helmet – I thought we could return to the apartment. But in fact, we had to wait for another half an hour because the skis were supposed to be “customized” for us by professionals. This is a first for me because when I went skiing in China they usually just give you the skis that fit your boot size. However, here they turn the screws a little tighter or looser according to your weight, so that the skis can work perfectly when you are skiing. After that, they find the ski poles according to your height, and you are free to go.
We set our skis in a long row on the rack just on the edge of the ledge. I couldn’t wait till the next day to start skiing.
The Juniors found a perfect dining table with eight seats in the cantine, where we had our first dinner in the Alps. After that we returned to the apartment and piled onto the sofa bed together to watch TV. Don’t even ask if we wanted to go to sleep early to feel energized the next day for skiing – of course it’s a no. Even if we felt sleepy for a moment, we still stayed up because our friends were also up. Some kind of peer pressure? But it was fun though. And besides, with ski being my favorite sport, all tiredness would go away once I step onto my skis and get pulled up to the top of the hill.