You’ve got the love

I’ve yet to meet someone who truly enjoys Valentines Day.  For those of us who are single, it serves as a harsh reminder of the fact that there’s no love in our lives.  For those who are in relationships, there seems to be an awful lot of pressure to do something beautifully romantic and special and touching, and going on stories I’ve heard from friends in the past, expectations are rarely met.

Personally, I take a very cynical approach to Valentines Day.  This may stem in part from the fact that there’s only been one year in my life where I’ve had someone to spend V-Day with, and therefore might feel slightly bitter about everyone else’s loved up status on February 14th.  However, the overriding feeling I have is one of slight incredulity that we need to have a set date and to be told when to come over all poetic and soppy.  If you’re in a relationship, surely you can make an effort any day of the year.  Why do we need Hallmark and ridiculous amounts of pink to dictate when we should be romantic?

Apparently this has been going on since the 15th century, so we can hardly blame modern consumerism and brash advertising for this yearly influx of chocolates, tacky teddy bears and hasty proposals.  Blame Geoffrey Chaucer and his merry band of poetry-penning pals with their culture of courtly love for the annual pressure to spend lots of money on flowers and restaurants.  Even Google’s got the bug with today’s schmaltzy animation.  For some reason, I feel rather let down.

So, all moderately jaded and sarcastic opinions aside, what is the point of Valentines Day?  For something that started out as a celebration of Christian martyrs, how has this one unremarkable day of the year turned into such a hyped-up thing of romantic pressure?  I realise that there may be some people out there who genuinely enjoy February 14th, who look forward to devising special ways of saying ‘I love you’, and who don’t begrudge the commercial aspect of the whole thing in the slightest.  After all, we have specific days in the year to say thank you to our parents, to dress up as witches, to give each other presents, and to get rip-roaring drunk and bring in the new year, so why not have a date every year where we should all say or express how we feel about someone?

In truth, I don’t think that there’s anything wrong with this, so long as Valentines Day is not the only day of the year where we make an effort.  One couple I know do their own V-Day celebrations on August 14th, which is an effective way of cutting out all the consumerist crap and focusing on the real matter at hand.  The fact that they’re nearly always on holiday together at this point makes the whole thing far more special and appealing.  After all, you wouldn’t want to dine al fresco mid-February.

Perhaps one year I’ll have an amazing Valentines Day and my opinion of this ‘occasion’ will change.  But for now, I prefer to treat February 14th like any other day.  I’m in the Alps, so I’m going to go skiing, do a bit of work, and then go out and get drunk with my friends.  Sounds like a plan.

 

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Once winter is over…

It may sound obvious, but life can change drastically in a short space of time.  This time six months ago I was sitting in an exam hall, struggling with the last few days of university finals.  I had little idea as to what the next year would bring, and while I had various hopes and aspirations, nothing was set in concrete.  There was a vague plan of finding a job in London, of moving into a flat with friends, of going straight into the ‘real’ working world…

And yet here I am, living in Courchevel 1850, almost rubbing shoulders with celebrities, skiing six days a week, and generally living a lifestyle I hadn’t ever thought of.  It’s not all champagne and caviar, and working as a resort rep certainly has its downsides.  Anyone who’s been on a ski holiday to the Alps via Chambery airport will know what I mean.  The pay isn’t as good as it could be, especially when living in the most expensive resort in Europe.  And there are certainly times when sharing a room with a fellow single girl causes slight logistical issues.  Additionally, all of my customer service roles thus far have been the type where interaction with a client lasts a maximum of one day, which is ideal when people are difficult and demanding.  Here, the polite smiley face needs to stay on all week long, which can be rather trying when certain individuals love to moan and complain.  But overall, I’d say life is pretty good right now.

 

However, this doesn’t answer the question that nearly every seasonnaire has: what happens next?  When the snow has gone and we all make our way back to the UK, what will life have in store for us?  There’s the simple option of doing a summer season, but the thought of organising bar crawls and wet t-shirt competitions in Malia makes me die a little bit inside.  I could probably go back to working in a pub, as I was doing before moving out to the Alps, but sleepy country life doesn’t really appeal any more.  Having spoken to friends working out here, most of us are reluctant to start a ‘proper job’.  We’ve been spoilt by being out here: we have responsibilities but not too many, we get to ski six days a week, we can go out most nights a week without it affecting our work the next day, and there is little variation in our work on a weekly basis.  Having lived an active outdoor lifestyle, the thought of moving back home and spending 5 consecutive days in an office is somewhat hard to stomach.  Having spoken to various friends and colleagues, everyone is rather vague about plans for the future.  The idea of travelling gets thrown around a lot, a few have jobs waiting for them in the autumn, and several have little or no idea what will happen once the winter season ends.  Then there’s the issue of the lack of jobs out there for graduates.  All in all, it’s not surprising that the vast majority of people my age out here are probably going to end up bouncing from one season to the next.

And yet, personally at least, there’s a part of me that relishes the thought of a more grown up life.  Even though I love the lifestyle here in Courchevel, I’m excited by the prospect of having a job that doesn’t require 20-hour shifts every Saturday or dealing with drunk locals on a Friday night.  In an ideal world, I will move to London in the summer, do the internships I’ve already organised, and then with a little bit of luck find myself some sort of permanent paid employment.  I’m well aware that this plan of mine may not work out, and there’s every possibility that come November I’ll find myself packing up my ski gear once more and heading out to yet another mountain resort.  But for now, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with having a plan and trying to stick to it.  I need to stop living like a student at some point after all…