The Beginning of the End
I'm Pol and I come from the imaginary fairy tale country of Luxembourg, although I haven't been living there the past 2 years. Instead, I spent the past 21 months in the middle of the Swiss Alps. In this time, I was elected Smile of the Week three times: the first week as Short Term Staff in Spring 2011, last winter for the first time as Long Term Staff and now, pretty much exactly a year later, this honour was again bestowed upon me. So far, there was always a clear reason why I became Smile of the Week. The first one was because, unexperienced as I was as a Shortie, I got a terrible sunburn on the first big day out on the Gemmi Hike'n'Sled. According to my fellow Shorties, I looked like a pink raccoon and apparently this made a lot of people smile, hence my first election.
The second time I got the Smile of the Week was after a party we had in the Kander-Lodge Staff accommodation on Nordic Day and because of some rather interesting developments over the course of that party involving myself, I could collect most votes on that Monday's Thought for the Day. But now, this time I don't really see why I was chosen again. I don't think I was funnier, wittier, more smiley or awesome as I usually am, and with all the Helpers around for Ski Weeks 8 & 9 there were also a lot of other happy people to choose from. As most other Mondays, I also voted for myself (if presidential candidates can do so during elections, I most certainly can do so for Smile of the Week), so that can't be the reason why either. But considering that last week's Smile was Melanie (UK) who, just like me, is leaving KISC two weeks from now, I can see a pity vote pattern there: People think we must be sad to leave and use these last opportunities to make us smile. But weirdly enough, I'm not sad about leaving.
Like everyone who has ever been at KISC, be it as Pinkie or as a guest, I will miss this place a lot. But more than the place itself, I will be missing the people I met and friends I made here. Sure, the mountains are amazing, they make for awesome skiing in Winter and are just waiting to be climbed up or hiked over in the warmer months. And yes, the international atmosphere here is stunning and the different aspects of Scouting I could witness here will never cease to amaze me. In short, I wouldn't want to miss my time and experience here at KISC for the world. But still, the thing I liked about Kandersteg the most are the people - an awesome, crazy bunch of like-minded dudes and dudettes. If it wasn't for KISC, I most certainly would never have met those people and I'm really grateful for the fact that I did. We shared in adventures together, spent our working days and free time together, breathed the same Kandersteg spirit together and shared way too many things to count here without making this more cheesy than it already is. But here's my point: Unlike the mountains here that I won't see for a while either, people can move and travel - it truly is a great thing this ability of motion that humans have if you think about it. With the world and Europe even more so being basically only a global village, visiting people is rather easy and that's why I'm convinced that I'll keep seeing my Pinkie friends in the coming years. And that's a great thing, seeing those guys outside of KISC while at the same time travelling and seeing more of our planet. Already now, I have several trips planned the next few months, visiting other former Pinkies. This will keep me busy until going back to university later this year.
The other reason, I'm not overly sad, is because I'm really looking forward to the next step in my life. KISC kind of was an unexpected break in my "life's plan" and I don't really know what is going to be next for me. Although this is somehow scary, it's also a great opportunity to have some sort of a blank page ahead of me - I don't know yet what will be written onto that page, but I will enjoy watching text appear on it. And I'm sure while travelling for a bit the next couple of months, I will get plenty of inspiration for this.
And finally, I'm also looking forward to seeing friends back home again that I haven't really seen while I was here and I'm sure there's a lot of catching up to do!
I'm fully aware that once the day is here when I'll step into the car and look back at the valley, driving away, I will have a huge lump in my throat. But I know that I'll take all those great memories with me and that's a very comforting thought!
Pol Felten (LU)24.02.2013