Hello America, I’ve Been Here For A While (And I’m Leaving Again)
Look out internet, I’m resurfacing. You thought I went away for good, didn’t you? Raise your hand if you have ANY idea what I’ve been up to this summer. No? Well, let me tell you. If you want a summary just read the bold headlines! <insert corduroy pillow joke>
1. I land in the good old US of A and eat all the food
After a sort of crazy airport-switching situation in New York, I landed in Greensboro, North Carolina, where my parents picked me up. There was a beautiful sunset on the drive home from the airport and I found myself enjoying the trees, crickets, and quiet. Shortly after arriving home, I got to work in the kitchen creating a blueberry crisp and sharing healthy foods with my parents. (They literally tried avocado for the first time ever. Their reaction? “Meh… it’s not bad.”) Food wise, I was overwhelmed by the selection of peanut butter at the store, and I enjoyed some old local favorites including Lexington style BBQ with hush puppies as well as my grandmother’s homemade cornbread. I helped put on family garage sales two weekends in a row at my grandmother’s house in which we alI earned a chunk of change. I went hiking to a local favorite spot. I spent a lot of time biking in scenic locations. I also caught up with a friend. The majority of my old friends have moved away to other cities, so I spent most of my time with my family, including celebrating my grandmother’s 85th birthday.
2. I have and apparently rock a job interview on Day 2 of being home
In late May, I went online to do another round of summer job hunting. On Craigslist I found a cool-sounding job at a national academic summer camp that still had openings – one of them IN my hometown. Upon researching the company (Quantum Learning Network/SuperCamp) and position, I couldn’t believe there was still an opening! I didn’t get my hopes up too high but I applied immediately. Soon after, I received a response that they wanted to interview me. Since I was in Spain we arranged to interview over Skype. We agreed on a date and time where I would be in Madrid before flying out. Unfortunately our connection was bad so we rescheduled for the day after I got home. My interviewer was extremely friendly and I thoroughly enjoyed the process. Amazingly, everything was the right fit – me for them, and them for me. I got the job and was told to report to the camp site (at Wake Forest University) in three weeks.
3. I disappear into SuperCampLandia for five weeks
From social media posts it may have appeared that I was kidnapped by fun-loving strangers. In fact that is exactly what happened. I’ve been holding off on writing about camp because it was such a BIG experience that it’s hard to summarize. My job title was Site Administrator. I was in charge of maintaining the camp’s relationship with the university. If something went wrong in the building (which it did pretty often) I was in touch with maintenance to come fix it. My other job duties were assigning roommates/rooms/teams, distributing keys, posting to Facebook every day, talking to parents of campers, assigning tasks to other people (my personal favorite- ha), and other random things. I worked in an office with 3 other amazing people and every day was full of laughs. Let me tell you though, five weeks of cafeteria food, good as it may seem, is the maximum I can handle. What did I learn about SuperCamp? It attracts passionate, like-minded people. It teaches students how to manage their time and relationships in a positive way. It focuses on visual, auditory, and kinisthetic learning. It facilitates emotional growth such as learning to trust self and others, accepting our parents, breaking free of our labels and masks, and mental and physical barrier-breaking to achieve goals. What did it teach me? How to communicate more positively. How to learn more effectively. How to recognize potential barriers to achieving my goals. That I can in fact write some poetry. I am incredibly grateful for this experience and amazed at how perfectly it all aligned. And I was so inspired by all the people I worked with this summer… basically you should just know I’ll be raving about it for a long time!
4. I fully enter the 30s zone
Not much to say about this, but I did get to spend my birthday with my family for the first time in several years! I also had a mini-crisis about where I am in life and where I’m going, but after I got that out of my system I realized that I’m exactly where I need to be. It can be tough when most people my age are in very different places, but I’m happy with the decisions I have made.
5. I prepare for my return to Spain!
After decompressing from my time at camp, I’m now in the process of getting ready to head back to Spain for the upcoming school year. I’m going to live in the province of Cantabria in the city of Castro-Urdiales. It’s a coastal town with a population of 30,000-50,000 depending on the season – the city is full in summer and empties out during fall and winter. I will be one of a very few English teachers in town and I’ll be a bit isolated. I’m a little nervous about that but I’m going to try and make the best of it because I’ve heard the city is really fantastic. For now I’m reviewing my budget and packing list, shopping for the essentials, and preparing for an awesome “welcome to Spain” vacation with my friend Rachel! Oh, I’m also planning to take MORE luggage this year than last year. Last year I arrived in Spain with one large suitcase, a carry-on suitcase, and a shoulder bag and I refused to pay overweight baggage fees, so I left several items with my mom at the airport. I ended up having to do a LOT of shopping when the weather turned colder and wetter because I hadn’t brought enough of anything. This year, though it feels like I’m bringing too much, I know I’ll need it all and I hope to do less desperation shopping!
6. Hold up (wait a minute), insert this before #1
I went to Toledo in early June for a day while I was staying with my friend Ariana in Madrid before coming home. It’s such an amazing city and I even had the chance to write about it on Travel Blue Book: http://travelbluebook.com/toledo-spain-city-wonder/
I have to share some of the photos I took there!
So there’s my summer in a (giant) nutshell. I ate, laughed, learned, worked, relaxed, and exercised – what more could a girl ask for? I’m hoping to repeat this kind of summer as much as I can.
P.S. The culture shock from transitioning out of SuperCamp was WAY worse than returning to the US from Spain. #reentryproblems #doublecultureshock #postsupercampdepression