WPC – Humanity

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“Special days”  were when all the program staff took a day off, and were bereft of any structure or routine, having to make do and entertain the kids for an entire day. Normally we do big all camp activities such as cops and robbers or the olympics. Rain puts a stop to all that, resulting in restless little packets of near-infinite energy confined in small sheltered spaces. Chaos. The rain got so bad we couldn’t even forecast an end, and so we had to make do. Luckily, we have a DVD player on the hill, and so we used that to solicit their good behaviour. It worked.

One good thing about hot countries is that the rain is amazing in its extremes. On this particular day, it almost flooded the cabins with that little river that’s visible in the photograph. It was unbelievably intense, and beautifully warm. So we stood outside and soaked it all up.

A wonderfully simple pleasure.

B

Check out the rest of this week’s entries, here 

The last one

What struck me most about the third was the fact that I was super emotional watching the kids go.

I had quite an odd tent, with a mix of seven and nine year olds. This was initially quite a challenge, given the mental age gap between the two, but they have been absolute angels in comparison to the other two sessions. Don’t get me wrong, there were still times where J and I got mad, but they were just being kids!

I felt like a proud dad when one of my kids passed his blue level swim test, allowing him (and us, finally!) to swim in the deep – the first time it’s happened in years. I also managed to teach two kids how to ride a bike for the first time with no training wheels which filled me with relief more than pride as biking with the young ones often involves us doing 95% of the work whilst they sit there enjoying the ride.

We were also the first little johns in a long while to have an entry in the talent show! They all got together and did a cute dance to Bruno Mars. If I’m honest, in comparison to the other entries, ours wasn’t great, but I’m just amazed that this was something they really wanted to do and pulled through with it, despite nerves and tantrums.

The talent show this session was actually one of my favourites. Despite the circumstances of some of these kids, there is some absolutely amazing talent. I’m struggling not to use the diamond analogy, but being pressed in at all sides does sometimes yield gems!

These were some of the Sherwood boys

I loved this because it was so different from the other dances. It’s rare kids this age would try contemporary!

This was my favourite act of the night. One day during music, JJ, the girl, started singing this song. T, the guy, then hopped on the piano and started singing and playing along whilst another girl made a beat tapping on the acoustic guitar. The result was enchanting. We had a talent agency visit from across the way a few days ago. They loved his music so much they donated a piano as he only has a chance to practice on sundays at church. His passion for music is absolutely astonishing.

The banquet that follows was also one of the best. Our unit leader staged a wedding with the unit leader of the oldest girls’ hill as everyone said they should get married. It was hilarious, and genuinely would have made a lovely real wedding ceremony! sherwood sherwood-2

I didn’t really expect to get so attached to the place when I first arrived, treating it more like a job than camp, but everyone is genuinely like one big family. Yes, like any family, it has its cracks and flaws, but then you have moments like this when everyone gets together to have fun. Those are the memories I’ll be taking back with me!

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The one with the cabins

Everything is really hectic at the moment. The season is coming to an insanely quick end, and classic Bryan has left all his planning to the last minute. As it stands, I still have very little idea of what I’ll do after the next four days, ha!

For our last day off, we went to a camp up the road on Seabago. It’s odd thinking I’m leaving one camp and going to another (out of choice!) but with no kids around, it was serene. We had a really nice group of people who were up for just relaxing, making it one of my favourite days off. And It would have been too, had we not been forgotten by the staff who came to pick us up five hours late!

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Their lake was gorgeous

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We found some coal and had a beach fire

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And used the rest in the cabin. Falling asleep to a roaring fire is one of the most comforting things ever.

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Silence, no one needing to pee, having nightmares, falling off beds, nothing but the sweet chorus of nature tells you its time to get up

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The deer sure are a lot nicer without hundreds of kids running around

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So are the hummingbirds!

Blogging has been slow and laboured, there are a lot of posts to catch up on, hopefully they’ll come soon, but that’s all for now!

 

B

 

The one in Brooklyn

This intersession was spent in Brooklyn, one of the boroughs of New York City.

In all honesty, the prospect of staying in “the hood” chilled me to my very core, but we left planning to the last second, booking the apartment less than 24h before we left. I was expecting a dingy flat in a neighbourhood filled with people that look like they could eat you up for breakfast. I was mostly wrong, mostly.

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With some chocolate from Duane Reade, the only corner shop that stocked more than Hershey bars, this happened! Put some hot chocolate on a double boiler, add milk, stir until it’s all dissolved and the result is this incredibly indulgent drink that warms you to your very core!
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The apartment itself was stunning. for $40 a night between us, it was an absolute bargain. Having a bed of any description, after sleeping on a creaky bunk for two weeks feels like a cloud. And don’t even get me started on real showers. The real bonus, however, was the fact that we’d have a kitchen and could cook food for the first time in five weeks! The neighbourhood itself was pretty sketchy, however. The sort of place that you wouldn’t want to walk through alone at night. But we did. 

This was breakfast for the first day – the sketchiest pancakes I’ve ever made, no measuring cups, cylinders, just a little bit of everything in a bowl. Plus syrup.

Williamsburg

Brooklyn is a fair way away from the hustle and bustle of central manhattan. It’s had its fair share of rough times, but we got to find gems in the borough, one of which is Williamsburg. In a similar fashion to many areas of East London now such as Shoreditch, Hoxton and Brixton, once rough, now the hipster capitals of their cities!

There was such a different vibe from the whole place, everything was smaller and weirder, there is a complete change in pace compared to the city – no yellow cabs in sight but everyone cycles and longboards; I was home.

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The first thing we saw when we hopped off the Subway was this junk shop. These are about a dime-a-dozen in this district, but we decided to give it a look. Inside were these two huge bins filled with old photographs.

Christmas, birthdays, graduation family shots, scenery, everything! It was really surreal being involved in so many different people’s lives, to be privy to all these different moments in time. Some were absolutely beautiful, and made you wonder why someone would ever let it go. Others had lovely messages to a loved one or a family member, like a picture of this woman to her lover during the war.

I looked at this one picture, and asked someone who I thought worked at the shop for the date. He was deaf. What proceeded was a really odd moment where I shrunk back in my awkwardness and aversion at the whole thing, and his genuine attempt to communicate with us, despite our lack of sign language knowledge. I expected him to get on with it and just leave me alone when he found out I couldn’t sign, but he kept going, making a real effort to get across what he was trying to say. He was super knowledgable about all the photographs, and was probably a master photographer back in his day. He then proceeded to show us how he knew it, bringing out the camera that took the picture and showing us how to use it. I didn’t manage to get the make or name, but it was shot “from the hip”, as the viewfinder worked quite like a periscope, and had two of them, for shooting portrait and landscape

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Lunch that day was a small Italian on the corner of bedford. It was amazing. The first healthy meal I’ve had out in five weeks. I’d had pizza the night before, and admittedly, it was delicious, but in a greasy, carnal fashion. This had considerably less meat, but the combination of fresh mozzarella and basil leaves was a good antidote to all the America iI’ve ingested. To top it all off, every pizza was $10, so we got half and half. Life was good.

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If you’re ever in a new big city., check out whether they have a TimeOut, it’s a great way to discover cool things to do. It recommended a place called Mast Brothers – an independent chocolatier that specialises in dark chocolate.
The first thing you notice is the, near overpowering, smell of melted chocolate. Caustic to your nose, initially, then gives way to a warm sweetness that leaves you begging for its source! I have never paid so much for a bar of chocolate in my life, and I’m not sure I will ever again, but my gosh it was incredible. It was 72% with hints of maple – ravishing

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This was the coolest urban outfitters I’ve ever seen. It was in this derelict building along with some other independent brands. There were a few floors littered with the usual UO affair, but at the top was, amongst other things, a photo booth! The results were spectacular!

Just behind was a bar, which led to a further section on the roof. Not the best rooftop bar I’ve seen (that being the Abbey Tavern in Kentish Town) but it had amazing booths. A small problem with NYC is that you’ve got a lot of vertical competition to get a good view in from the roof.

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The street art in this area was incredible! NY-60

I’ve really tried hard not to climb the empire state building. I don’t really know why, but something about having to pay to climb a building really gets to me. Besides, you’re gonna get a much better view of manhattan from outside it! I’ve yet to find somewhere to see the sun rise – maybe next time, After spending almost the whole day in Brooklyn, we crossed the Williamsburg bridge into manhattan. It was absolutely full of cyclists, skaters and long boarders, graffiti and stickers – such an odd image set against the clean and sterile backdrop of downtown. The views were incredible, however, and you got to see all the cool art on the rooftops as you climb over. Shopping in the city is pretty dire. There’s not a Sainsbury’s in sight. Instead, you have lots of “delis” and grocery shop equivalents. They’re usually pretty small and contain sweets,, snacks and beer. Any actual food is hot, from a deli counter, or tinned – you have to look far for fresh ingredients.

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However, we were really lucky and managed to find a nice Chinese deli which did the trick! It’s still cheaper to cook food than to eat out in the city, it is just a lot more effort. This came out at around $9, but having to walk by Five Guys, Wendy’s, and a myriad of other fast food eateries on an empty stomach because of it was no easy feat. In the UK, machines like this would be like £1-2, but $.25?? Crazy! Safe to say I had a fair few goes, but couldn’t even touch the high score!

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We hung around union square for a while to see all the street kids. Loads of people were hanging around this huge space, skating, dancing and playing hackey sack, and they were amazing! I’d pay to see stuff like this.

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The first ever shake shack, incredible! NY-47 NY-48 NY-49

The feel of this intersession break was just so different to that of the last. Less of the deer-in-the-headlights tourism, more relaxed, taking the day as it comes. Yes, I didn’t leave the house until around 2 and didn’t really have much to show for it at the end of our ridiculously long day. No majestic landmarks of complex itineraries ticked off either. But it was a lot more relaxing than trying to go all out.

It’s also a lot more fun when you explore with other people. Logic tells me to get up at 4 to take the metro over to the west side and catch the sunrise over manhattan, return, crash for a few hours and then leave before everyone else wakes up and hit everything the city has to offer as it’s the only way to make the trip “worth it”. One thing that made this break particularly fun was getting to know other colleagues who I’d never normally run into, and the collective discovery of new places and experiences is definitely better, shared.

This was a holiday.

B

The one where we had fun!

The last few days have probably been my favourite at camp, so far – prepare for an extremely erratic summary of this week!

When applying for camp, there was a huge focus on what “skills” you can bring. As a general counsellor, we don’t really get a chance to teach much, as we’re constantly running after our own kids! Every day at camp we have the chance to run a club in something we’re into and think the kids would love to learn. A lot of the things on my list when applying wouldn’t really do, as either there’s already a class in it (photography and music) or it’s impractical (science), so I tried my hand at teaching an anime class. I love drawing, and doodle on just about anything, but teaching it is a different thing entirely. It was scary, I’ve never appreciated how much planning goes into it as you have to try and cater for every kind of student, and acknowledge that not everyone is going to be super keen and into your lesson. However, one kid, G, absolutely loved it, and improved his drawings loads! Some kids that came didn’t want to do what was on the lesson plan, and were happy to do their own thing. Initially, it was frustrating because you’re trying to teach the rest of the class but often they were actually incredible little artists at their age, and hopefully I’ll get to show what they did at the art show! I definitely don’t think I’m cut out to be a teacher though, it’s way too stressful.

G features twice in this list because he was the inspiration behind the bucket spaceship. A couple of nights ago, just before my day off, we were super short staffed, and so a friend of mine and I had to stay on after we clocked out because there was almost no one else. I walked around to find G sat in this huge bucket, there was another bucket next to it so I thought it’d be funny to put it on top of him. Instantly he started making revving noises. Have you ever been in those Virtual Reality machines in arcades? They’re always really overpriced and pretty terrible. They did, however, give me the idea to tip the bucket over and see what he’d do. Before long, a huge queue of kids formed to get into G’s bucket spaceship, and so myself and another counsellor made the rides increasingly more elaborate, adding asteroid belts, meteors, black holes and landing sequences! They did whatever we asked, fights stopped, they shared, they listened,  just as long as long as they could have another go at being an astronaut. I miss my imagination! NY-2They loved light sabres too!

Program staff and lifeguards collectively form the pillars upon which all the structure and order on camp stands. Therefore, it follows, that “special days”, when the program staff and most of the lifeguards have their day off, is hell on Earth. Last session, during the first period of soccer, we had to break up around 11 fights in the first fifteen minutes for the Little Johns and the Merry Men – kids that age need constancy and regularity, without it it’s chaos! This time, however, they managed to get their acts together and instead of the normal “international day”, we celebrated Holi, the Indian festival of colours. I don’t really know much about the actual tradition behind it, I just know it often involves lots of paints and powder! We turned the hill into a giant water slide by placing some mats from the gym down under a huge tarpaulin and hosing the entire thing. We then got the powder paints and mixed them in with water (and a little bit of poster!) to make neon coloured water pistols, sprays and bottles, which we let the kids loose on! I can’t describe to you how therapeutic it is shooting three foot kids with paint, until they turn around and empty entire buckets of the stuff back on you! It was madness, but everyone went nuts for it!

That night, when everyone came back, we had Counsellor Catwalk. The kids get to pick a counsellor from their travelling tent on the girls/boys side to dress up as a member of the opposite sex. Last time, K, our floater, got picked and the result was incredible. Sadly, I was the favourite, and was promptly shipped off to Fairy field, where a multitude of little girls got to work on my hair, nails, makeup and dress, this is the story of how Princess Bryanna was born. Following our (torture)makeover, we had to strut our stuff down a red carpet, trying to win over the judges with our fabulous moves, amongst other tricks everyone had up their sleeves. And I won! NY

Yesterday, we got back from dinner at Rhodes (which was fantastic!) And my friend L asked me whether I’d ever seen the lake at night. I hadn’t. So I walked with her down to Fairy field, as Sherwood is up on the hill so we can’t see the lake, and it was breathtaking. The lake itself took a backseat to the fireflies. Against the pitch blackness of the trees and bushes on the road around Ramapo, hundreds of fireflies blink asynchronously to create this brilliant light show. Think starts 10ft in front of you. I’m not sure whether it’s a good thing or a bad thing that I didn’t have a tripod or a good enough lens to film it, but it was honestly one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen in my life. The lake was good too, I guess. NY-3 NY-4 NY-5

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The one with the new kids

Second session for me started off with the incredible news that, yes, we would only be having five kids! The delight between my co and I was tangible, as we fist pumped out of the gymnasium with our new crew in tow. There was an odd shift in numbers, meaning that this session, there were a lot more girls than boys, so from a hellish first of seven, five with extra staff on hand should have been a piece of cake. Should.

Of the five kids, one, D, is probably the best child I have ever seen, he listens, does what he’s told, and is all around a total boss!

Of the five kids, one, S, is probably the funniest child I have ever met. He had this hilariously air-headed accent and comes up with the most fantastic lines. He becomes passionately fascinated with various things, currently Legos; “I love Legos. Legos is like a part of my life, I just can’t stop thinking about Legos”. I would love to take a peek into his brain and see what goes on as the world must be a wonderful place through his eyes! “Do you know that life is like minecraft, but you dot have any weapons”. I asked him the other day whether he’d like to be a counsellor when he grows up to which he replied: “I don’t want to be a counsellor, when I grow up ima be the president!” Look out, America!

Of the five kids, one, Sh, is a …tricky. If you’ve ever seen the film Hulk, you’ll know what I mean when I say he’s like Bruce Banner; mild mannered and actually quite fun normally but when something sets him off, he becomes consumed with this terrible rage that takes several people to quell. He will run anywhere and everywhere and is really quite a handful when he enters these fits, pulling out every card in the book to manipulate you and get his own way.

If I’m totally honest with myself, life would be a lot easier if he did get sent home like one of the kids in the tent across from us who lasted little more than three hours. However, as hard as it is for us as counsellors, having to give him 2:1 attention at the expense of the other campers, this, for him, is a lot better than home. It comes through in a lot of what he does; he’s had to fight hard to get to where he is, and it’s hard to break walls down that he’s been forced to build over the last seven years.

We did see a small breakthrough though when he went around and gave us all hugs, and there were some really lovely moments watching him “play camping” on the bed under blankets with a few of the other kids, watching him having genuine fun and laugh his age! So, for now, we’ll fight to keep him.

I feel the worst of storming is now over. A few temper tantrums, lethargy, petty arguments over who’s soccer ball it is and some time outs are the worst we’ve had, and now we’re into norming, hallelujah! We didn’t really see much of this last session but the kids are becoming settled in their groups. You still have the odd child who just loves picking fights, but at least it’s not a whole tents worth. So we have more time to relax and actually have fun doing our job, which is nice.

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The first session

Despite the trials and tribulations of The First: the bedwetters, the runners, the fighters and the pouters, saying goodbye was more emotional than I thought it would be.

Some kids wanted to leave as fast as possible, and got their wish with my blessing! In fact, J, one of my campers, tried to walk home yesterday after a fight during story time; he packed up his bag at around 11pm, and stormed out of the tent. Halfway down the hill he began to ponder the various obstacles that faced a very small seven year old boy in the woods, with our help, of course; bears, coyotes, murderous people in cars he’d hitchhike, oh and hunger, no doughnuts for breakfast! After which he promptly returned to bed without another word as long as I gave him a flashlight!

Others, who I wouldn’t have even thought enjoyed camp were actually tearing up at the prospect of never seeing me or their other counsellor again, which was nice, because it showed us that they were, indeed, still children and not the hardened little demons that they’d been several minutes hitherto as we tried to get them to pack their stuff – never give water guns as prizes, it never ends well!

Reflecting back on the session as a whole during the bus ride into the city has been pretty useful. Firstly, I think there were a lot of things we overreacted about, because at the end of the day, they are just children! In the heat of the moment, we may get really mad at them, which serves to cement that behaviour. One day V, another one of my campers, was doing his usual stroppy run. Seeing this, a friend of mine suggested giving him some space. Now, considering I had six other kids/potential time bombs to look after, passively waiting around for one of them to calm down wasn’t very high on my list of possible options, however, I decided to give it a go, silently sitting on a rock and letting him do his thing. Initially he didn’t really know how to react to the fact that I wasn’t chasing him, but upon seeing my face, he began to flip and throw almost every rock in a 10 metre radius. After exhausting the quarry, he turned to large sticks, and kept at it. Eventually, he actually wandered over back to the spot where I sat, and we had a really good chat about a lot of things. Sadly, due to the insufficient attention span of that age, he was back to throwing rocks in no time.

There were also things we may not have picked up on, that would have been helpful as boundary setters for the later stages of behavioural management. For example, our unit leader, on a particularly bad night where absolutely nothing would quell the random violent outbursts, suggested a points system, as the good kids weren’t getting rewarded, which is what might have lead to the deterioration of behaviour. Unfortunately, by that point, it was too late to properly instigate such a thing, and even if it wasn’t, where was the time to think it through! We did give them little sanctions and rewards, which worked well, even at a later stage, such as the aforementioned water pistols and other things such as a bubble machine. We also noticed they loved eating more bread at the salad bar (with cream cheese and this ‘jelly’ nonsense) so if they weren’t behaving, we used that as an incentive, to good effect, although you need to remember what you gave to which kid as they won’t let it go!

My hopes for the second is that we’ll manage to get on top of behavioural issues from the get-go, allowing more time for us to actually enjoy our job and talk about more important issues that might actually be the cause. I had a few opportunities, often with the naughtiest kids as I took them to the side to talk about the latest scuffle or dispute, hints being slipped into conversation that you attempt to purse open, although mostly they’re closed books, as are most boys of that age and upbringing, as they have real difficulties expressing more complex emotion.

I’d also love to foster an environment where the kids feel safe. On an end-of-session questionnaire, a lot of the kids said that they didn’t feel 100% safe (ticking the ‘fair’ box rather than ‘yes’ or ‘no’). Talking with a lot of them, the dog-eat-dog mentality is king. Yesterday, one of the kids wouldn’t get off the bed and stuff of J. Up he was and within seconds throttled the other kid, who may have done it as a joke. “He was messing with me so I’m going to mess with him”, “do that again and i’ma give you a black eye” and “thats what you get” were some of the quotes of his response, so it’s understandable that the kids don’t feel safe if they’re already always on the defensive. But how do you change something so deeply ingrained, probably as a mechanism of self preservation from their life at home?

It’ll be interesting to see just how everything pans out now I’ve had some exposure to the types of kids that I’m expecting. For now, NYC awaits, hooray for intersession!

The 22nd floor, what a view!

The 22nd floor, what a view!

The one where I lost it

 

During staff training, we spent a day talking about the various stages of group development: forming, storming, normalling and performing. The idea sounded a bit too theoretical, and I thought there was no way it would play out so well, but it has, and we’re currently storming.

 

The theory goes a little like this, initially, unsure of the new environment, kids get to know each other and are sizing one another up. Fights are rare during the forming period, as are cliques as there is no established alpha in the group. Behaviour is generally quite good. During the storming phase, you start to see dominant ones take up their role as the docile stand by the wayside or go with the tide. The rate of fighting escalates rapidly as they fight, tensions run high and cliques begin to form. This, so far, totally checks out with my boys. To further add to the madness, we’ve no got an extra kid, and he’s definitely eyeing up that top spot on the food chain.

 

The hardest part about what’s happening right now, I think, is the lack of gratitude. Now I don’t mean a camper not saying Thankyou when I tie his shoelace for the umpteenth time, although that would be nice too, rather, giving them chance after chance, and spending hours comforting them with their own problems, for them to throw it back in your face as they enter yet another fight.

 

I’ve never totally lost it with a kid, and I’m utterly ashamed to have raised my voice in such a manner, but I’ve had to do it at least two times in the last three days, all involving really serious fights between the four usual suspects after which I literally had to take five to cool off. It almost seems impossible, as the instant you diffuse one time bomb, three spring up in its place, all 3ft tall and running in opposite directions! This means that we never actually have time to spend enjoying ourselves with the well behaved campers who want to be here, as it’s all burned on brawlers or sulkers. And the sour cherry of this morose muffin is that they feel unappreciated and undervalued, causing them to resort to that same petulance as it’s the only thing that seems to garner our attention.

 

There have been a few rays of sunshine during the metaphorical (and literal) storms of late. The two that constantly behave well are lovely, and I treasure the precious few activities were I get to work with them because they’re actually enjoyable!

 

B
Pancakes

J, age 7

The one where we made s’mores

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Wandering up Amsterdam Ave. I spotted two beautiful churches, the architecture and design made me feel right at home

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Everyone drives wrong here!

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The view from Central Park Reservoir!

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This is our lake…

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Sunrises are wonderful here

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It stretches forever in its awesome stillness

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Sunsets are just as nice

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Our first hike to the nature centre, little family of ducks

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Swimming in open water is definitely something new I’ve learned, the water is a beautifully cold change from the torrid 30 degree sun,

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We got to see the lillies come alive

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What a view!

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Kayaking on the lake, it’s just so still and calm, often there are other old couples that come by and fish, drinking in the tranquility afforded by nature and the surrounding mountains

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Focusing on the X100 is definitely a pain, it’s hard to get it quite right and compose at the same time due to the offset viewfinder

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I need more of these in my life, they are the best things in the world! Let’s not talk about the calories, however.

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We learned to make fires and have cookouts on bunk nights when the kids arrive

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£.79, hello heaven?

Today was our first official day off! So we took a school bus (classic) and headed out to the nearest mall, the Palisades Centre! Having been bereft of good internet for a week, I’ve done a lot, a lot more than I can describe over free WiFi at least! Suffice to say, however, camp is wonderful, with its ups and its downs. I’ve made some really fantastic new friends at the cost of my British accent, although it’s not to America I lost but to Ireland!

This week we’ve just been training and a part of me is pretty nervous because I’ve never had kid as young (5-8) and from such backgrounds. Some of the stories are horrifying and others are absolutely incredible, so I’m definitely in for something big and I hope I make it out in one piece! The people are lovely, and we’ve had some absolutely incredible nights under the stars and around the campfire! CHB is definitely different from anything I’ve ever done before, but I’ll wait till the kids get here to be able to tell fully!

Till then

 

B

The first one

I survived!

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Getting to Heathrow was fun, despite the constant nagging sensation that I’d forgotten something.

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On the tube there I got talking to this one lady (I can already hear the gasps of disapproval from legions of Londoners) after both our spinner suitcases were subject to the acceleration of the piccadilly line. Turns out, we were both born in Kenya which made for an interesting chat about current affairs, intermingled with wistful nostalgia. Kenya seems to be a fantastic little trump card for making new friend in the most unlikely circumstances! Long story short, I made a new travel friend! She even gave me her card, forgetting, throughout the whole conversation, to mention that she works at *insert very large investment bank here* so I guess coffee is on her!

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Despite the fact that my pre booked flight seat was stolen (Grr!) the view never ceased to amaze

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I’ve never seen so many flags in such a short space of time, ‘murica!

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This was a slightly lucky shot through the grimy window opposite me on the JFK shuttle to NYC. The buildings are extremely tall, so you feel slightly dwarfed by their sun blocking monolithic stature. The grid like layout of the roads makes for some really cool contrast though, if only cameras had the HDR of our eyes

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Can’t say the same about my current area though, quite glad to only be here for the night..

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After dropping off our luggage, we decided to hit up central. The weather clearly had other plans for us, and decided to open up, leaving us in the worst rain I’ve experienced in a long while. It was warm, so I couldn’t wear a jacket, but it did make our attempt to explore slightly depressing.

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Times Sq.

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It was so packed!

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Anglia-10

Anglia-12

I travel almost 4000 miles for a KFC, and it was awful. Truly, I do not recommend this to anyone, what a waste of $7

Anglia-14

Helvetica is the only redeeming feature of the NYC subway. Otherwise, it’s a dingy, sketchy version of Her Majesty’s finest. Oh tube, how I miss you, I shall never complain again. They do have AC, although it does take it do icy temperatures, so you’re either roasting or a popsicle.

Anglia-13

Hurray for wide angle long exposure! The short focal length of the X100 means you can reduce the shutter speed to 1/8th with minimal blur. Also, people really don’t tend to bother you as much, as it just looks like another digital camera, which has its good and its bad points. I feel I’m slightly getting used to it now, it’s just a bit sluggish compared to a DSLR, but the size more than makes up for it when it comes to travel at least, and you still get good shots. Physical controls for aperture and shutter speed are definitely a plus, they get you to think about it before you shoot, and I can almost be prepared to expose a shot correctly, although that’s definitely a work in progress! The A mode always tends to overexpose, although can be good when the opportunity is unmissable.

B