The last day.
As much as we wanted to stay here forever, we had to leave early in the afternoon. So we made every minute of our last morning ski worth it.
People were saying that we had another evaluation, so as much I wanted to spend the last day on the trails with the teachers, I stayed, once again. Julie, however, skied with the teachers because the French ski degree didn’t really matter to her as she always skis in Germany or Austria.
In the end, I received a second degree in the evaluation. I read on the certificate handbook that it meant I had mastered all the basic skills, most importantly being able to ski parallel.
For most, the ski trip was over. Not for me, or Julie, or the boys, the teachers – instead of hauling our skis onto the télécabine and sit the whole way down, we took the descending trail. It was a (rumored) red-black trail, so I was super excited as I stood on the edge and waited for Julie to join me, and we took off together.
And then came the worst nightmare ever.
I fell. With an impact so large that both of my skis snapped right off my boots, and I tumbled a few more meters down the hill. My goggles were also pushed off my face from the force. It took me a few seconds to gain consciousness again and out of the corner of my eye I could see three or four people rushing towards where I fell. A Sophomore girl stopped to pick up one of my skis, while Julie retrieved the other. As I helped myself back onto my feet and tried to shake off the pain, I heard Julie calling out, “Annabelle are you okay?” The worry in her voice was evident and I looked up at her, smiling and said “Yeah!”
A few minutes later I was back on my skis again, thanks to the help of two teachers. However, I guess I was already too tired. For one thing, we missed the shuttle bus that morning so we had to walk uphill into town wearing our heavy boots. That pretty much drained most of my energy already and left a soreness in my legs. Fast forward to present time, I had just skied for two hours in the morning and fell super hard. Because of all that, I wasn’t able to control myself anymore. The trail started to get smaller and I felt like I almost skied off the edge multiple times. I could hear the little voice in my mind telling me, “You’re going to fall again.”
I didn’t feel like I had a choice. As my legs started to tremble, I gave in and let myself fall. Twice. I was way too fatigued to keep myself upright.
To put things simple, I could have died.
As much as I considered myself to be very pain-enduring, I found myself with a stiff neck once we settled down at the back of the bus that would take us back to our homes. At the same time I had a throbbing headache because of the impact when my head hit the trail. It felt horrible, and looking back I guess I was too hyped and went down the trail too fast. While calling my mom in Taiwan to tell her about it, she softly scolded me that this was exactly what she and my dad were worried about – that I’d get so excited that I don’t pay attention to my own safety.
Indeed, it hurt a lot. And it would later on bother me for many days. But the week in the Alps was probably one of the best weeks of my exchange, especially getting to live in an apartment. It almost seemed like we had a life there. Although it didn’t exactly end in the way I expected, it still made unforgettable memories.