I shall certainly be looking like I took a trip down a flight of stairs with all the pinching that I’m finding myself doing: who’s life IS this anyway???

Whilst Darling and I are gratefully “gapping”, in a quest to live our lives to the fullest and at the same time to enjoy a little of our student days as more serious seniors, we find ourselves at the mercy of the kindness and generosity of friends who have become family and for that, our gratitude mostly fails to find adequate words to express what this means to us both.

What this opportunity of spending some time in beautiful Switzerland means to me is a reunion, 30 years later, of a ski season back in my 20’s! 

I had finished my five year stint at university and found myself employed in a remote game reserve in the far northern region of KZN, South Africa – a tale for another time – where I worked for almost a year in the main camp, in sub-tropical heat in summer and bushveld dryness in winter.  Towards the end of that year, I was approached telephonically by an old family friend who asked how I would like a white Christmas? What? In the bushveld of South Africa?  Pull the other leg, right!

Long story short, I hastily gave notice and before I knew it, was out of the bush and off to the big smoke and bright lights of the city of Johannesburg for a week of “training”. 

Apart from having to learn the basic layout of a ski village that I had never clapped eyes on, the bulk of the training was on how to entertain guests at “apres ski”, meaning, how to stay sober in order to get the guest back to their chalets!

Being a 100% pure Saffer, this work meant “illegal work” and we were cautioned that should we ever see any policeman, we were to whip our nattily reversible company ski jackets off and use the reverse side in order to pass as tourists instead of virtual slave labourers!  What we South African’s would do for a chance to see something of the wider world and how hopelessly naive we were too – senior moment eye roll and wry smile insertion!

That aside, I met and made some wonderful friends, as one does in these situations, not least of them being my bridesmaid and subsequent godmother to our eldest daughter.

Megan and I shared a room in the staff chalet and we worked in neighbouring apartments taking care of guests, cleaning and cooking. What a blast we had! What abuse we sucked up!!!

Meg was a Johannesburg city girl so knew all about the nightclub scene and I was the ex-nurse, country gal, trying to get everyone safely back to bed, before the next day’s early rising for the bakery run to supply the guest’s breakfast.  Followed by the day skiing, which was my primary reason for taking the job in the first place!

Being a little nostalgic, I wandered around the resort village of Verbier (side note: the village is ghost like in many ways, not only due to the seasonal change, but also to the global change with the onset of the corona virus)  trying to find all the spots that I knew 30 years ago, wishing for a little shower of snow to make it more of the same vibe… but instead, loving being able to see it in the glorious season of autumn with Darling to share it with – at least he is spared the tedium of a proper reunion!

2 thoughts on “Reunions.

  1. Aaah, a tale of nostalgia. My favourite!
    Interesting that you did ski season ‘on the black’ so to speak. I often wonder just how many chalets and boats get away with illegal labour in these times now. With insurance requirements and social security etc, it’s virtually unheard of!
    Reunions are something else too, aren’t they? I would love to return to those years I worked at Madikwe when I was 19,20&21 but how have I moved on since then? No longer could I get away with a shaved head and all night socialising!


    1. Back in the d… what rebels we tried to be, each in our own small way, only to find ourselves ordinarily adulting after all. Now I’m trying to turn back to a slightly more rebellious phase, if/when I have the energy…!!!


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