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Up, Up and Away... In My Beautiful Balloon

by Mia Sampson in June 2013 - Miscellaneous

I never expected to win… from becoming a finalist to taking part in the competition. You see, we get nominated by our friends and then we may decide if we want to take part. I truly never had any expectation that I could win! I
was astonished. How? Why? I couldn’t even model properly!

At first I wanted to withdraw my nomination. I was worried that I might fall off the stage, and I really did not want THAT happening to me! Not again! I had fallen off the stage once in a concert and it was most embarrassing…In the
end I decided to take part and just have fun.

That night came far too soon… Everybody was nervous and suddenly my best friends seemed so far away. But I wanted to have fun and did. It was a blast!

When the five finalists were announced, I was astounded when they called out my name too. Then it was time to announce the winners. There were all sorts of prizes and categories, but the main issue was: Who would wear the
crown of Miss Labori 2012?

And then the presenter said: “…and the winner of Miss Labori 2012 is… die mooie Mia Sampson!”

My heart pounded and I thought the guy was joking, but he was not! I had to walk the ramp, claim the crown and get the sash and flowers – all in a daze! I was just so lucky!

THE prize for the winner was a trip in a hot air balloon. Udo and Carmen of Wineland Ballooning, who sponsor the prize every year, were judges that night. For one who has a fear of heights, I was not exactly thrilled about the
prize. I was actually a bit scared!

When they phoned me I had so much doubt and at one stage wanted to say I didn’t want to go. But I said yes.

The next morning I got up at 4am and I was on my way to the Grand Roche Hotel in Paarl. There I met up with four other tourists and we were off to the airfield. They started setting up everything and let me tell you, I had never seen
such a huge, gigantic, mammoth balloon in my life before!

They filled the balloon with hot air and soon we could climb into the rather small wicker basket. We were ready to set off on our flight.

It was amazing! I literally felt as if I were floating on angels’ wings. No, I was the angel floating on a cloud. It was beautiful. I never imagined that nature was so exquisite at that time of the morning, so high up in the sky. It was probably the most amazing experience I have ever had.

Would I do it again? For sure! I would like to thank my teacher, Mrs. Swart, for giving me the opportunity to take part in such a glamorous event and that I could meet such amazing people as Udo and Carmen, who are pretty much two of the most inspiring people I have ever met, and have given me an experience of a lifetime, flying in a hot air balloon!

No matter what life throws at me now, I will always remember this as one of the most special memories ever. I suppose this is how you handle life.

Congratulations to the winner of Miss Labori 2013, Keshia Emily Kock.

“Miss Labori is held at the Labori High School in Paarl every year, and has been an annual event for the past
18 years. Grade 11 and 12 girls are encouraged to participate and in the process develop their confidence,
composure and self-esteem, while having an opportunity to wear glamorous gowns. They are encouraged to
work as a team, but with an understanding that every game has a man-of-the-match.”
- Yvonne Swart, Teacher and Organiser, Labori High School.


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