What is the point of a yearly recap? Internally, it is obvious: to learn from what happened. We can spot mistakes and come up with solutions for them. We can also identify our strengths and organize everything so as to keep them. But when directed outwards, as is the case here, they quickly turn into a basic marketing tool. Everything was amazing, thank you guys, we love you, see you next year.
So let me try to give you an honest assessment:
After two years dealing with a lockdowns and flight restrictions, 2022 was hard to forecast. We knew people would come, but we did not expect a season like the one we just had. February and March were busier then usual, but nothing crazy. Everyone was still on holidays a few days prior to opening, so me and David spent a week scrubbing walls and cleaning windows. The kind of glamorous work that leaves you with a crook back and no smile whatsoever. But then the first intermediate courses came and guests started trickling in — and with them some sense of joy. It was nice way to sharpen tools blunted by the winter.
Everything was on auto-pilot, so much so that we had two back-to-back Maldives trips planned. Both head coaches would be gone late April and David would also be in one of them. We had one office shift planned per day — done by me — and Alizé was in charge of all house-keeping, volunteers and dinners.
Two weeks out we realized we were in for some trouble. The house was going to be full. We did not have enough teachers for all the expected guest. Plus, the ones we did have had never been in charge of lessons. Emails and requests were raining heavily and one shift was clearly not enough, so David spent his evenings dealing with what was left. Alizé was working god knows how many hours per day, climbing bunk beds, carrying 10kg bags of groceries and cooking 3 nights per week. Thankfully, we had amazing volunteers that were always ready to help.
We sucked it up and powered through. Everyone gave everything he or she had and, more importantly, everyone helped each other out. That’s when we became a team.
From April onwards our booking system looked like a giant wave, one that would last until the end of October. So we regrouped and began planning. Leenoy came from Israel and Loes from the Netherlands. Steph, Hugo and Pedro Bica were back in full swing and helped Pedro Villarinho and Bica run everything smoothly. We also realized that we needed help with the house-keeping and hired an extra person (first Lucy, then Britta!). We started looking for help in the front office and quickly found our lovely Romy, who shared the desk with me and Steph. Together with all the amazing volunteers we had — you know who you are! — we found our groove. Much more relaxed we became able to work better and to enjoy our days, both with each other and with you, our guests.
As we stand here in late November, everything feels like a blur. We are tired, but happy, just like you feel after a long surf in difficult, but fun, conditions. We are also thankful, both to each other and to all of you. You tested us and made us improve. But you also made us laugh and enjoy life, you showed us new things and interesting takes on life. All I wish is that we have done the same for you.
So yeah, it was amazing, thank you, we love you, see you next year!