I never really realised how insane six year olds are until I spent a week sitting with ten of them for every meal. Let me tell you, you’ve peaked when you’re simultaneously picking food up off the floor from one kid, telling another that he doesn’t need to scream while he’s eating and finally listening to a story about soup that goes on for half an hour. Its safe to say I leave dinner more exhausted than when I sit down. Funnily enough, its been pretty worth it this week. Despite the week beginning with the shittiest (and I mean literally three kids shit their pants) camping trip and ending with the sweatiest day at the Cailler chocolate factory known to man, it wasn’t too bad.
Monday blues manifested itself in the form of the two children I had to literally drag up the mountain for three hours on a hike that usually takes a third of the time. That night didn’t get any better, as we managed homesickness, bed wetting and three separate incidents (if you can believe it) of kids having a very smelly accident. Oh, the joys of working overnight with young kids! Lucky enough, we all made it back down to camp in one piece after which I had what was one of the best sleeps of my life.
I spent my day off tagging along on the excursion to the swimming pool, fully intending to find myself a quiet spot on the grass to finish my book, but the kids were so cute I ended up hanging out with them most of the day anyway. Sidebar: if anyone is looking for a good book to read, pick up Less by Andrew Sean Greer. Shoutout to Will (who I miss too much) who recommended it to me! That night, Torgon transformed itself, and it felt like the entire mountain had come out to celebrate Swiss Day. I parted with an empty bottle of wine, a stunning hangover and a swiss flag candle that inebriated Beth decided would be a good idea to put into her bag.
Thursday was, in a word, grim. I spent most of the day fully convinced I had caught the vomiting bug currently circling the camp until I realised it was probably my own doing. The goon I’d drank the night before had transformed into what I can only describe as a debilitating hangover. I managed to feel sorry for myself all the way through a morning bushcraft session, and was incredibly thankful when 10.30pm rolled around and I could finally put myself to bed. Don’t worry mum, its put me off drinking for a good while!
The schedule was in my favour the next day, as we headed to Bouverait Beach for the day. With lifeguards manning the pool area and the slide, the beach is the best place to recover from a long week, as we only have to supervise the pool (by swimming) and the shop (by tasting the ice cream). What a tough gig.
Like clockwork, by Saturday it was Olympics day once more and I managed to lead the Belgians to an astounding fifth (out of eight) place. I’m calling it, its definitely because Australia cheated in the tug of war, and not at all because we failed miserably at Petanque. That night was one of my favourite evening activities to date: staff vs. campers football. Having not played in close to 5 years, it felt incredible to be out on the pitch again, even if we did lose 8-6 to a team of 14 year olds.
When you hear your week is ending with a trip to the chocolate factory, your first reaction would be one of excitement, but on a 35 degree day with a group of 6 year olds Cailler is anything but fun. We spent our day herding cats – I mean children – around Cailler, and then with bags of steadily melting chocolate around the traditional town of Gruyère. By the time we packed them all back onto the bus, I was sweaty, exhausted and never wanted to see chocolate again (though knowing me that’ll last about five seconds).
Sunday night was staff volleyball night, in which I was able to show off my incredible lack of skill for any sport involving hand-eye coordination. Little do they know its not because I’m half blind in one eye, but simply because I’m terrible at the sport. Shh.
With a 5.30am glacier wakeup looming tomorrow and a long day of hiking behind me, I’m going to sign off with some pictures from our sweaty Sunday. I hope everyone had a lovely week and a Merry Swissmas!