Saturday, 4 January 2014

Bonne Année!

Here's wishing you a very happy New Year from the depths of the French Alps!  I should probably also wish you a Joyeux Noël too, but that seems like a distant memory now!

(Christmas day ski!)

As you can see, I am in fact still alive despite the radio silence (internet silence?), it's just that I barely ever get 5 mins to myself to sit down and write anything ... when I get 5 mins I sleep!

Life here is chaotic and fun, and the unexpected happens all the time.  If there were an official mantra, I'm pretty sure it would be that you can sleep when you're dead.  The work is sometimes thankless, and quite often seems unending, to the point where we all think about quitting ... or just curling into a ball and rocking in the corner.  But then some amazing friends, that you feel like you've known a lifetime but in reality have known little more than a month, will drag you out and shit goes down.  A lot of the time I just can't remember it in the morning!

(Pints of gin and tonic - deadly)

Once in a while there's even time for some skiing, which I was highly relieved to find I'm still absolutely in love with.  I haven't been out as often as I'd like (although still more than I was initially told to expect for the beginning of the season), but my progress seems to be measured in terms of increasing speed and lessening style.  I'd like to take advantage of some of the free lessons we have access to and try and rectify that a bit!

(Happy days - finally up the mountain!)

The festive season has passed in a blur of demanding clients, hungover Christmas dinners on Boxing Day, Christmas day skis and drunkenly sliding round (or down) in the snow in slightly weather-inappropriate clothing on the way home in the small hours of the morning.  New Year involved some champagne, a piste party, getting accidentally set on fire and a lot of subsequent free drinks.  And the absolute worst hangover the next day.

But you can't complain too much when this is your playground:

In fact, I've even got to the point where I can afford to be snobby and say the conditions aren't nice enough or the lift queues are just too annoyingly long and full of punters, and I'm not skiing today.  Spoilt, that's what I am!

It's a funny old life when part of your job is to go out drinking in a company jacket and get your clients drunk(er).  Although the young lady below is in fact one of my closest friends in resort and not a client.  That's another funny thing - how quickly you become friends when you all live in each other's pockets.  In my case, my best friends here have come about through chance - a random dinner at a neighbouring company's chalet turned out to spawn at least 4 excellent friendships which will make my season an altogether better experience!

One funny thing out here, is that despite all of the drinking I do, I think I've actually lost weight since leaving the UK.  It goes against everything I expected - before I came away I was really worried about how I would maintain my weight out here.  I'd lost before I came away obviously, and packed a lot of my "smaller" clothes and I stressed over what I'd do if I put on weight.  The first 10 days of training we were eating full three course dinners every night, plus cooked lunch and dinners ... and the wine ... always the wine.  But I wasn't snacking and days were long and somehow it balanced out.  When we came to resort food became somewhat of a luxury.  Before the resort opened we were living on a staff food budget of about €19 a week each, which isn't a lot, and after that I moved to my own apartment and had to start fending for myself.

In theory, I can of course eat from the chalets - ring one and tell them I'll be popping by for dinner and to leave something out. But in practice, my time is so precious (and I'm too lazy) so I survive on what I can afford to buy and cook in my apartment.  For someone who loves food so much, a bizarre thing has happened - I quite often forget or can't be bothered to eat.  I had 3 meals the other day, breakfast, lunch and dinner, and couldn't remember when the last day before that was when I'd done the same!

It's an odd thing because it means I get away with eating a phenomenal amount of crap, because I'm not having big meals as well.  Today is a good example - I had some left over veggies in my fridge from Christmas dinner at mine last week, and a rare quiet hour, so I bodged together a vegetable soup / broth to use them up.  So today I've eaten two bowls of vegetable soup, one small petit pain ... and a whole box of 12 cookies.  It's not exactly the healthiest use of 2,000 calories (in fact, I'm not even sure it was 2,000 calories - the cookies would have been 1,000 but I doubt two bowls of soup and a small bread roll is another 1,000) but this is what tends to happen.  I might have something small for breakfast if I have time, and then I usually have one meal round about 4 or 5 which lasts for the rest of the day.  Morning's are busy and if I'm out and about running round then eating just ... kind of gets left.

I do get some nice food though - mountain supermarkets cost a small fortune, but it does mean things like baguette, pate and camembert is a standard lunch / tea.  Vegetables are a veritable luxury because they're either expensive or just not available.  I can't get fresh mushrooms in resort for love nor money!  That soup today was so damn nice as a result and I know I'm going down the mountain on Monday so I have plans to buy more shampoo and some veg - priorities!

So that's a snapshot of life here in resort - I'll try and jump on here a bit more often to update, but for now au revoir!


Seren said...

Wonderful to hear from you and glad to hear you're having a good time! Hope 2014 continues in the same vein.


Love Cat said...

Bon Annee!

It sounds like you're having a blast! So pleased to hear it's all going so well.

And huge well done on the maintaining the weight loss! Very impressive.