Let’s just rewind back to last June… I was jetting off to Croatia to start an adventure that, to be honest, I was bloody nervous about. By the end of My First Week I was completely settled into camp life and my life became a flurry of paddle boarding in clear blue waters and popping water balloons over kids’ heads.
I was there for a total of 10 weeks more or less and I did ALOT in that short amount of time. Due to me being busy/lazy/otherwise occupied my blog was fairly low on my ‘things to do’ list, as it was so long ago I thought it would be good to summarise it into a (probably rather long) post.
First thing’s first. Croatia is BEAUTIFUL. Like seriously breathtaking, it’s nature and stunning views never failed to amaze me and I genuinely fell in love with the Croatian way of life. Within weeks I felt as if it were a home away from home.
I had signed up to do a summer at Camp California, an american camp on the Dalmatia coast. Like it’s sister camp’s in the US it focussed on a mixture of activities catering for 6-14 year olds. Though with it being in Europe the focus was on the kid’s bettering their English skills. I have never heard so many different; accents, languages and dialects being spoken in such a small space. It really makes you feel like a dumb brit when you talk to a 7 year old that can speak 4 different languages… Why did I not carry on with French?!
Anyway, after adjusting my accent to sound more “proper” (some kids thought I was Australian?!) I started learning about the kids in my cabins. They were so young yet they’d done so much, some had lived in 3 different countries at the age of 10 and knew more about the world than I do now. As we were told at the beginning of camp, it should be a place where kid’s come to be kid’s. The world nowadays is so focussed on likes and views and figures that in a place with no electricity and actual outdoor activities it allowed these tech savvy kids to let their hair down and act a bit silly. For them to do this it meant I had to do this too.
I’m quite a blunt person and in all honesty it take’s me a while to warm to people. I’ve never been around kids at all really so it’s safe to say it was a shock to the system. You are kind of like a surrogate mum/sister, this hit me in the first week when a kid woke me up to check if it was ok for them to use the toilet. It wasn’t until the morning that I quite realised my role to them. As much as I was their counselor I was the person they looked up to and relied on even if it was only for a week or two. That responsibility was scary and actually rather heart warming (the ice was starting to melt.) Sure there were times I wanted to throttle them but then I reminded myself that they are just kids. I know I was a little bugger at that age and sometimes I saw the little tom boy I used to be in some of the kids and I just laughed it off and remembered how lucky I was.
Every morning (well most mornings) I woke up to the sun shining and the Adriatic Sea on my front doorstep. I woke up to like minded people wanting to seize the day and enjoy life. I got used to the routine and fully immersed myself in the camp way of life. I sang songs, I dressed up as a boy, I giggled like a teenager and got the deadliest evil’s I’ve ever received from a Russian girl who wouldn’t give me her phone. I got to create videos and take pictures all day long in a rather undiscovered part of the world, and I bloody loved it.
Don’t get me wrong it wasn’t all rainbows and butterflies, like the time when 8 of us were in a cabin all puking up our guts because of some unknown virus that was doing the rounds. Or when one of my campers wouldn’t do anything because she wanted to go home so bad. Or when the hard drive corrupted and lost 80% of the photos. Yes it was stressful at times, but then I’d go and sit on the waterfront and put my headphones in and look out to the sea and I’d realise life was not too shabby. I met people that I will call friends for life, there’s a bond you make at camp with certain people that no matter how hard you try you will never get outside of that environment. The camp bubble is real, it’s a safe haven away from the real world for a while where materialistic things don’t matter as much and you forget to care about the latest celebrity trends. I would trade my warm, comfy bed at home for my cabin with no electricity any day of the week to be back there.
I loved it and I really can’t wait to go back.