The French Alps
My job as a nanny comes with a lot of perks. One of the recent perks was the opportunity to travel to the French Alps for a week with the family I work for. Yes, I would be working, but hey, I’d much rather spend a week working in Val D’Isere than in London! When I first heard about the holiday, my initial thought was that this would be the perfect opportunity to meet others abroad and hear more stories for my blog. What I didn’t think about was that I would be working the majority of the time. Holding up a sign that says, “Tell me a story, please” wasn’t the smartest idea when you had sole responsibility for two young children. But, of course, this didn’t occur to me until I was already in France.
So, I journeyed with the family to this beautiful location with my sign packed and my hopes set high. First off, if you ever, ever, ever get the opportunity to drive from Geneva to the French Alps, do it! And make sure you have a camera ready because it was absolutely breathtaking. Side note: check out Annecy, France. That place looks like a dream.
I really did not know what to expect from this trip. It’s always interesting traveling with a family that you work for. I am super lucky in that I am treated great by these parents. We get along incredibly well and I love these kids with my whole heart. But, the bottom line is, I work for them and when they pay for me to travel all the way to France, I need to be there for them when they ask. So, my sign came second that week.
Once we settled into a routine and adjusted to the altitude sickness, I realized that my sign would probably only make it out of my luggage for a photo. I blame my mother for raising me to be smart (or paranoid) in new locations. The reality was that I was responsible for two children that week. If I somehow found the courage to go to a café or a bar on my day off and hold up that sign, there’s no telling what would have happened. What if I was drugged? Or taken? Or both!? I was putting myself at risk.
If you read my First Sign Experience, you know that I asked Simon to come along with me. I think this was a very smart decision on my part! When I first started with this sign idea, I envisioned myself wandering around the world with this sign and having the guts to sit down on a bench in a foreign country and talk to all the locals. But here is that reality thing again: I’m a blonde, American girl in new countries and I need to put my safety first. Also, I’m paranoid and don’t want to be taken because my dad is no Liam Nieson.
Now, with all this being said, I still found some incredible stories while I was in France. The family I work for rented a chalet for a week and in this chalet was a chef (a brilliant chef!) and a chalet host. These girls (both named Laura) were absolute gems and I was so happy to get to know them for the week. They also somehow convinced me to join them on Friday night at a bar called Cocorico to experience the full Apres Ski experience. It was an experience, that’s for sure. So, I asked them both if they’d like to share a story for the blog and they agreed.
Laura and Laura had the week to think up a travel story and I would continue to remind them how excited I was to listen. They both seemed so nervous, almost as if they didn’t want to disappoint me with their stories. Let me make this clear: someone could tell me a story about how they picked their nose for thirty minutes straight and I would still find it hysterical. I had no doubt that these stories would be amazing.
So, on the last night in Val D’Isere, I grabbed my wine glass and walked up to Laura and Laura to ask if they were ready. The parents that I work for happened to be in the next room over and overheard what was about to go down. They came racing in the room to hear the stories as well. I felt like I was back at school with my friends waiting for the teacher to tell us a magical story. And WOW! These stories were better than I thought (not that I doubted you two!). But, seriously, one story has to do with a collapsing bridge and the other with a chef interview that made Laura cry.
My experience in the French Alps went better than I had imagined. Something personal that I have been working on is to let go of trying to control the future. I was anxious about this trip with my sign because I wanted it to go a certain way. I wanted to be brave enough to sit down with the sign in a new location and hear people’s stories. But this did not happen. Whether that was because of my lack of bravery or paranoid brain, it doesn’t matter. What does matter is that even though my plan failed, I created a new one and found remarkable stories anyways. And these stories are amazing! I am so proud of myself for continuing this journey.
Are you ready to hear Laura and Laura’s stories?!