english

When a letter opens the door to freedom

I was 19 when I wrote my first letter in English. It was for the Ricker’s family in Vancouver, Canada. I had never heard anything about this wonderful town. Mr. and Mrs. Ricker were looking for a good skiing au pair girl for their two children: Jörli (6) and Maëlle (4). I was so exited and afraid they would not choose me. I don’t remember what I wrote, but I was selected! This was the beginning of my true freedom; I flew alone to the west coast. I was so lucky to go there. They took me everywhere. I was part of the team to help Karl to measure Wedgemount Glacier (he was a geologist), I discovered Whistler mountain, Vancouver Island, Okanagan Valley, Bella Coola, Mont Baker and so many wonderful places. When I had my days off, they sent me on exploration in every corner of British Colombia, letting me using their own car, it was just GREAT. This is the year I started to write so much, at that time it was quite expensive to communicate by phone.

Mr Ricker still writes me every year. He sends his Xmas letter before he goes to Lake Louise to prepare the downhill race with his team. I know that a few years ago, he has been recognized at Lake Louise as the “best course worker”. Maybe that’s what he gave me: PASSION.

The little girl I looked after, Maëlle Ricker, won an Olympic gold medal in the snowboard cross at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. I was so proud of her! Time goes by, but emotions remain.

Jörli has the same passion for the mountain as his father.

My son went to study English in Canada. He had the chance to stay at Karl’s cabin in Whistler. Time goes by, passion is transmitted.

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