I know I’m a bad packer. It’s been repeatedly demonstrated to me that my talent does not lie in remembering what I need to take or leaving myself enough time to make sure everything is properly and neatly packed. This is despite the fact I’ve been packing my life up and moving it three or four times a year for the last four years. But today I think I finally did it. I’m all ready for the summer !
What I take to Camp:
Electronics: head torch (so essential for the walk back from the meadow) U.K. To USA adaptor, USB to USA adaptor, charging wires, phone (obviously), iPod, tablet
Clothes: far too many pairs of shorts, dresses (of appropriate Camp length of course), too my tshirts, sandles, climbing shoes, pjs, so many socks, swimming costume and bikini
Everything else: sleeping bag, water bottle, back pack, climbing helmet, notebook, makeup and toiletries, name tags, photos of home and most importantly a laundry bag that is big enough for alll my laundry.
2 Days to go!!
In 32 days I will be arriving in Asheville, North Carolina (fingers crossed for ontime planes). I’ll be saying goodbye to the cold and rainy uk and arrive in the hot, but also rainy, North Carolina.
I cannot wait.
A few years ago the sight of a waiting room board full of cancellations and delays would stress me out. But somewhere in between 8 hour flights, buses from stations in the middle of nowhere and the endless joys of coming from a place served by northern rail it’s lost its fear. I mean what happens when you miss a flight, train, bus or boat? You get the next one, maybe make some new friends or find a reason to stay.
The waiting room time of year is usually the one when I’m travelling from one home to the next. I’d say I have three homes,
One: My home town, the one i grew up in, the place where i know all the backstreets and shortcuts. The place my memories with my friends start as far back as I can remember. The place I was excited to leave but is the one I always run back to when I need comfort.
Two: My first away from home home, the one I have lived in the past three years. In a way the one I grew up in as much as my home town. One where I’ve made friendships I hope can last a lifetime. Where I’ve learnt happiness and harsh reality and how to budget my food shopping! My Uni city.
Three: My heart’s home, the place I’ve first felt the sense of really belonging, of being needed as well as needing others. A place that let me learn who I wanted to be as well as how to fix a toilet that won’t flush, jump start a car and how to hide my snacks well. Camp.
Travelling between these three (technically all in different countries) can be surprisingly easy or difficult. I’ve had flights over the atlantic less complicated than a northern rail and arriva train journey after north wales’s floods.
But as this is probably and hopefully my last year in two of these places I don’t resent any of these hours spent listening to music and waiting on rainy cold platforms; because in the end these journeys get to the places I have needed to be and to the memories I won’t forget in a hurry.
Don’t get me wrong I really love getting ready for the summer. The preparation, the packing plans and the conversations with friends from all over the world. However the paperwork is overwhelming. How I did it in my first year is beyond me because 4 years later I’m still swimming in visa forms, medical checks and the dreaded tax forms.
For the last four years I’ve be declaring everything from my lack of criminal convictions to the fact I have never been involved in a human trafficking scheme. I have been writing address, contact details of people I barely know and time after time entering the memoried mantra of my camps address. This is before I even mention my specific camps own selection of forms, ACA courses and my own folder of work for the summer ahead.
But so far the most complicated and confusing paperwork barriers (invented by little men in offices who I’m sure get a kick when someone fills out their birthdate in the wrong order and can’t remember how to spell their mother’s maiden name) are out of my way. My visa has been granted, my police check sent off and my long distance flights booked and logged. So with only a few minor piles more to wade through and a tentative navigation of the US tax system to undertake I am just about ready for the summer. Now I just need to figure out how many socks I really need for 3 months (while understanding I will lose them all to the laundry system because labelling my socks is beyond even me!).
All paperwork moaning aside I cannot wait to return once more! And yes I do once again promise that I am not some sort of internationally renound criminal mastermind (I’m far too broke for that!).
Three years ago I was getting ready for my summer job as a camp counsellor in a North Carolina summer camp. I was nervous, anxious, excited and very bad at packing. I was taking part in my first year at an American summer camp with CCUSA and now I’m about to undertake my four summer at that same camp. That summer job turned into a crazy adventure where I’ve experienced everything from finding the best place to eat Pad Thai in a small town in NC to hiking in the Grand Canyon in a thunder storm.
But this is very probabaly my last year of long waits at airport gates and even longer flights. So I kinda want to make sure I remember as much as I can about my last summer as part of a North Carolina sisterhood. Hence this blog of my summer at the summer camp where I learnt to fall in love with working with children and even more importantly learning to love myself.