NaBloPoMo: The family

20131111-000419.jpg

20131111-000332.jpg

I have to admit that I found this post a little hard to write. I planned on doing it in my series of what makes me happy because nothing on earth makes me happier than having a loving family like the one I do.

I guess what I found so hard about it was finding a way to put into words the extent to which my family actually make me happy, without sounding cheesy. I quickly realised that, that is probably unavoidable when discussing this topic. And anyway, who cares?!

Both my mum and dad have always been there for me and I couldn’t thank them enough for all they have done for me as I have grown up and for what they do for me now.

As I look back at my childhood I feel truly blessed to have been brought up the way I have been.

I remember when my dad taught me to ride a bike. We were out in the street near my house and he was holding onto the back of my bike as I peddled and tried to stay in control.

He did this for a while until he must have felt confident enough to let go. I don’t think I realised he had let go until he started cheering.

We then got my mum and nan out of the house to come and watch. That is one memory I will never forget and it makes me happy when I think about it.

I will also never forget the camping holidays we went on. In the pouring rain we camped. I guess everyone has to experience a very wet camping trip once in their life!

We also went horse riding up a mountain and cycled up hills on rented bikes in the New Forest!

I will never forget the walks we used to go on. My family would try and make it fun by pretending we were on a big expedition. My dad would chant, ‘I don’t know what you’ve been told’ and we would repeat after him.

I felt like we were trekking through a big jungle. I remember once we walked for three hours because we got lost. My poor nan was exhausted and we all still laugh about it now.

I have gained a lot of my mums traits and many people say I look like her. I’m pleased that I take after her in most ways.

I have however tried to learn from my dad’s free spirit. His ‘what will be, will be’ attitude. I quickly learnt that worrying about what could happen is pointless and being sad about the past won’t make you happier in the future. It took a while to understand his train of thought but now I try and apply it to my day to day life.

I don’t think I could have made a happy list without including something as important as my family. I also must point out that these posts are not in order of what actually makes me happiest. If it was I should be classed as a very superficial person ranking painted nails above my family.

I have so many good memories that I have to thank my family for creating with me.

Travel: “Best overnight ever”

After camp Olympics, I thought any other day would be pretty hard to match it. However on Friday evening a group of us decided to make the most if our night off and head out of camp.

We didnt escape the luxuries that come with camp as the bugs, sweaty bodies and uncomfortable nights sleep still existed on this particular night.

We went hiking up a huge hill, sleeping bag and bikini readily packed. I must be the lamest hiker at camp as I plodded along at the back, complaining, sweating and nearly dying! I daren’t dream of what I must of looked like once I reached the top!!

By the time we reached the top I was so tired I could barely hold a conversation with anyone.

As soon as we got there, John Teva’s survival instincts set in and he went off into the jungle to gather some fire wood.

Callum, a New Zealand adventurer, used magnesium stuff to light the fire. It is pretty handy having a group of guys who all seem to be really into building fires! Actually I think it is generally all males who like playing with fire!

The night consisted of making s’mores, chomping on steak and campfire stories. It was a very enjoyable evening spent with a great group of people.

It was so enjoyable we didn’t end up drifting off to sleep until 4am, by which time the sun was coming up.

Snuggling down in my sleeping bag, crammed between two strong men (for protection from the two dear we saw and bears) in a four way spoon, I actually managed to get a reasonably good few hours sleep.

When I woke up, Steve was already in the middle of cooking breakfast; bacon, egg and sausage with Sunny D! As I was drinking the Sunny D I was reminded of how my mum used to only allow my sister and I to drink it occasionally because it apparently made us hyper.

Steve made me breakfast as I lounged about on my sleeping bag. Ashley had leant me her black pants that are apparently really big in America; Solos. They were pretty comfy and to me they just looked like yoga pants. John was so ‘frickin’ Teva’ he decided to not bring a sleeping bag and ended up sleeping in a ball wrapped in just a sheet – must have been so comfy!

IMG_9812 IMG_9815 IMG_9824 IMG_9828 IMG_9833 IMG_9838

IMG_0155 IMG_0161 IMG_0151 IMG_0148 IMG_0145

Once I had let my breakfast digest (I have been taught well, I didn’t want cramp lol) I went jumping off a rock into the lake. It took me a while to build up the courage to actually jump but I did it in the end. It was very refreshing and we all ended up spending the majority of the morning mulling around in the lake.

IMG_9922 IMG_9916 IMG_9912 IMG_9909 IMG_9895 IMG_9890 IMG_9887 IMG_9868 IMG_9864 IMG_9862 IMG_9859 IMG_9858 IMG_9928 IMG_9926 IMG_9925 IMG_9960 IMG_9951 IMG_9945 IMG_9936

1040151_10151720335064770_1401406614_o 1040428_10151720331439770_9491284_o 1064402_10151720332084770_1118209525_o 265807_10151720333849770_1556172330_o

At about 12 we started to pack up our belongings and decided to head back to camp. The hike down hill was quite enjoyable in comparison to the hike up. I was able to appreciate the Forrest with the all its creatures, including frogs and mini little orange lizard things.

Once I finally made it back to my unit I ended up sleeping from half 2 until half 7 in Ashley’s bunk. Her bed is so comfy and her fan is very powerful which makes it the perfect spot to nap. It has become a regular thing that I nap in Ashley’s bunk now and she just laughs about it!

That evening, Steve, Ashley, Casey, Laura and I went out to eat at a local diner. I had the French onion soup with a side order of fries which was a nice change from camp food.

So far this week camp has been pretty mellow. It has been so hot that I found it difficult to walk the half a mile between Teenside and Mainside. I managed to spend a lot of time in the air conditioned office, which was heaven, as I have begun preparing the all camp slideshow. This involved skimming through all the photographs that have been taken so far and choosing a few hundred. A difficult task considering we take, on average, 400 photos a day.

At the beginning of the week it rained a fair amount and the loud thunder feels like it is shaking you. The weather here goes from one extreme to the other. I can’t really complain about the rain as it at least cools down a little.

The campers in Ashley’s bunk always seem to have amazing food. I have been introduced to double stuffed Oreos dipped in Nutella! I don’t think I will be loosing any weight whilst I am at camp now!!

The last couple of days have been, what I describe as, your typical days at camp. 8.15am breakfast, teach some kids photography, take pictures of kids doing their activities, walk half a mile to the office and upload pictures, 1pm lunch, take some more pictures of kids doing activities, walk back to Teenside, nap, dinner, bed.

IMG_0625 IMG_0626

On Monday evening a muscial band known as the Shlomones came to camp and everyone gathered in the Eddie Canter Theatre to watch them perform. I had to take pictures of the event but half way through I ended up cheering and dancing along with it all. I am pretty sure most people found it horrifically cheesey but for some strange and shameful reason I always seem to love the camp shows that they put on.

DSC_5947 DSC_5951 DSC_5955 DSC_5976

After the show we went back to the diner and I had the soup again. It is so good! I also ordered lemon meringue pie which was ok! Huge but just ok.

1019601_10151552968359538_70706185_o 1020498_10151553786459538_1606719348_o

On Wednesday night I had to sit on duty (OD) which requires you to make sure all the campers are in their bunks and stay in their bunks until they drift to sleep. I have done 2 so far and they are normally very boring and tiresome. This time was pretty fun as another counselor ended up drawing a beautiful henna tattoo on my hand.

1068866_10151555829204538_2023088070_n

IMG_0579

Yesterday night it was Casey’s birthday so we all piled into Ashley’s car and headed for a nearby bowling alley. On the way we got lost and Casey and I went a little crazy. I have no idea why we found saying hashtag before every sentence so hysterical but we did and I think it will forever be hilarious. I felt like dressing up last night so I did my hair and makeup for the first time in like 2 weeks. It felt goooood!

1065790_10151556654134538_1421989331_o 1071767_10151556388059538_331377556_o 1065587_10151556662424538_1338254077_o 1057057_10151556663544538_1626064640_n

As always, the week has been tiring yet a lot of fun.

 

A lot of the photographs featured on this post are curtesy of Dan Cleare πŸ™‚

Travel: Camp and New York City

Last Saturday, Sunday and Monday involved similar talks about safety at camp.

On Sunday evening I faced a personal fear! Sleeping in the bunks has been out of my comfort zone and yet I ended up going one step further. I slept outside with only a sleeping bag as protection! I still cannot believe I made it through the night. We firstly hiked up a mountain to get to our camp fire. Once there we laid out our sleeping bags, lit the fire and began eating the hot dogs. As I was sat on my sleeping bag eating the food, huge ants decided to crawl all over me. It was not pleasant and I just sat there wondering how on earth I was going to get to sleep that night. We then played a few games around the camp fire which cheered me up. By the time it went dark I had semi forgotten about the bugs. I couldn’t see them so decided to put it to the back of my mind. Later that evening we began singing songs whilst someone played the guitar. Very cliche, I loved it!! Dan, Ashley and Haneke all started to play with light and slow shutter speeds which was fun.

IMG_9438 IMG_9468 IMG_9474 IMG_9484 IMG_9490 IMG_9531 IMG_9536 IMG_9548 IMG_9550 IMG_9558 IMG_9561 IMG_9574 IMG_9594 IMG_9619 IMG_9634 IMG_9636 IMG_9638 IMG_9639 IMG_9645 IMG_9646 IMG_9647 IMG_9654 IMG_9655

The days have been long, hot and tiring, so by the time Tuesday came I was glad to be able to leave camp on my day off.

A group of us signed up for a bus trip to Woodbury Commons outlet. At 10am we all piled onto the Surprise Lake Camp blue bus and headed to the shops. I bought 2 pairs of shorts and 3 t-shirts from American Eagle. I only really bought them because I was running out of clean clothes.

For the remaining few hours at the mall we ended up spending it hopping from shop to shop purely for the air con than out genuine interest in buying anything. The boys, Dan from England and John from Australia, somehow managed to amuse themselves in every shop. I found this impressive as boys usually moan the whole time.

At 4pm we jumped back on the bus and returned to camp. Once back we then crammed into Ashley’s car and headed to Wallmart. John nearly bought Brut as he had ran out of deodorant but luckily I stopped him and he ended up opting for some lime fragrance. It took him a good 10 minutes to decide on which brand to choose. It definitely takes a lot longer to make decisions on what to buy when you are in a foreign country.

After Wallmart we met other people at the Diner before heading to the cinema to see World War Z. If I could have chosen the film, a scary one would not have been it. I wish I could make a critical comment about the movie but seeing as I watched the majority of it through my fingers, I don’t think it would be a fair evaluation. I did find the bits I watched interesting, especially the way it had been filmed. I found a lot of the shots had blurred foregrounds amidst action filled middles and scenic backgrounds. Very visually interesting in that respect.

Needless to say, my day off was a goodun!

The following day, which was the final day of orientation, consisted of more talks…one from the Sherif! He taught us what to do if a mass murderer entered camp. All very serious and slightly scary!

IMG_9674 IMG_9673 IMG_9672

On Thursday the campers arrived. I spent all morning taking pictures of the kids arriving. The American families have ridiculously huge cars and all the campers, even 6 year olds, seemed to bring enough luggage for a year long trip. I helped one young girl unpack and she excitedly told me she had brought her rug! Meanwhile I am living out of my suitcase and my room still looks like a shed. These campers manage to transform their sheds into full monty houses! It was incredible!

IMG_9696IMG_8064 IMG_8119 IMG_8123 IMG_8128 IMG_8220

That evening I suffered from a migraine so ended up going to bed at 5ish. Come 10pm I was woken up by an insane thunderstorm. I could see the flashes and the noises were so loud!

On Friday I taught my first bunch of campers. It was very strange being in charge of a group of people. I don’t know where I got my confidence from but I managed to stand in front of 18 kids, commanding their attention whilst I discussed what I had planned for them over the upcoming month.

That evening I was off from 7.30pm. I had a shower, washed, dried and straightened my hair and felt ten times better after I had finished. I then went to the canteen and relaxed with a group of friends. At 10pm we left camp with Ashley to go to Wallmart. If you haven’t guessed Wallmart is a popular place to go whenever you have time off.

Yesterday was also my day off. At 7.55am I got the bus to Cold Springs station ready to catch the metro into New York City. By 10.30am I was walking down Times Square, amazed by all the tall buildings and the fast pace of the city.

Times Square was mental, so many people heading in all sorts of directions, lots of traffic and weird people dressed in costumes. I had a bit of a field day, taking pictures of everything and anything.

IMG_8305_2 IMG_8306_2 IMG_8308_2 IMG_8311 IMG_8314 IMG_8316 IMG_8317_2 IMG_8318 IMG_8319 IMG_8320_2 IMG_8327_2 IMG_8328_2 IMG_8329 IMG_8331_2 IMG_8335_2 IMG_8343_2 IMG_8345_2 IMG_8349 IMG_8352_2 IMG_8353_2 IMG_8354_2 IMG_8356_2 IMG_8357_2 IMG_8358_2 IMG_8359_2 IMG_8360_2

Escaping the hustle and bustle of Times Square I headed towards the Rockerfella Centre with two friends, Casey from New Zealand and Kerry from America. (The original big group decided to split up as everyone wanted to see different things) It was a great spot to take pictures of different people. The building itself was incredible!

IMG_8363_2 IMG_8364 IMG_8368 IMG_8370 IMG_8372_2 IMG_8373_2 IMG_8374_2 IMG_8376_2 IMG_8378 IMG_8382_2 IMG_8384 IMG_8389 IMG_8392

We then walked to Central Park, by this time it was around 3pm and I was very hot. Avoiding all the men trying to sell us a bikes or horse and cart ride, we headed for a bench and sat and watched people play baseball. Central Park was also very busy with people running, biking and wondering around. It was nice to just sit and watch the world go by.

IMG_8393 IMG_8394 IMG_8395 IMG_8399_2 IMG_8401_2 IMG_8406_2 IMG_8407_2 IMG_8408_2 IMG_8411 IMG_8412_2 IMG_8413_2

We then decided to venture a little further a field so we hopped onto the metro and traveled towards the Manhattan bridge. We walked along long streets, heading towards Chinatown and Little Italy. I really loved wondering through Little Italy. I think on my next trip into the city I would like to return there and have a proper Italian pizza.

IMG_8415IMG_8416 IMG_8418 IMG_8419 IMG_8421 IMG_8422 IMG_8424_2 IMG_8425_2 IMG_8426 IMG_8427 IMG_8431 IMG_8436_2 IMG_8437 IMG_8438 IMG_8439 IMG_8441_2 IMG_8444_2 IMG_8445_2

By this time my feet were in a lot of pain but we continued to walk further downtown towards ground zero.

It took a while to get there and I was proud of my map reading skills. Casey and I looked like your typical tourists with our maps and cameras!

Once we got there we realised that you had to book a tour to see the memorial and unfortunately we did not have time. However I did read all the information that was written on the walls. I found it very bizarre knowing that a few years ago two huge buildings used to stand there and over 3000 people were working in them.

I will definitely be returning to see the memorial!

Hungry, hot and tired we then headed back to Grand Central on the subway. I had a slice of pizza for dinner and slept the whole train journey back to Cold Springs station.

My 2nd day off was definitely the highlight of my entire American adventure so far.

Today, I have spent the day hopping from different activities, taking pictures of all the campers having fun. Again it was very hot but I enjoyed the day.

Travel: Leaving England…

The day of my flight finally arrived. Up bright and early, I made my way to Heathrow airport, terminal 3, with my friend Chris.

It was nice to be able to travel to the airport with someone as it made it less stressful. The previous day I had made the journey from Devon to London and I spent the night at Chris’.

Once at the airport we sailed through check in and security. The buzzer didn’t go off when I walked through which was a surprise. Whilst waiting to board the plane I savoured my last English bacon butty and spotted the Ted Baker shop.

Chris’ flight was at 2pm so once I had munched my way through the bap it was time to say our goodbyes.

Alone at the airport, I headed to Ted Baker to ‘just have a look’. When I realised all the stuff was half price I made a beeline for the purses. I have wanted one of these purses for over a year now so was so excited to find they only cost Β£35 instead of there usual Β£75. Extremly happy with my bargain I walked away and decided to look around the seating area to see if I could see anyone else with a Camp America (CA) top on. I walked over to a girl and we gave eachother an awkward smile. I motioned to sit next to her and she seemed willing. We ended up chatting until the flight was due to board and at that point there was a big group of CA travelers. It was all very exciting which made the pre flight nervs sudside.

A very excitable and friendly girl asked if I wouldn’t mind being intereviewed as she was a vlogger for CA. Knowing how difficult it can be to get people to comply I agreed. It was all light hearted fun, with cheering and laughter.

After walking through the tunnel that connects the plane to the airport, I found my seat and waited with baited breath to find out who my ‘plane partner’ was going to be. A young guy came and sat next to the window which left one seat in the middle.Β I waited and waited until the pilot began to tell us we were about to take off before coming to the conclusion thatI Β actually didn’t have anyone sitting next to me. I could barely believe my luck, first a half price purse and now extra leg room and no worries of someone smelling of BO.

6A23C4A7-F7D1-4FE9-8E15-0C0FA79AFADA

Take off always makes me feel weird, my tummy feels like it is being bounced up and down. Once in the air I began to watch Les Mis. Half way through the film, just as the melas were being handed out, we hit some turbulance. I began feeling rather ill so once the seatbelt signs were turned off I headed for the toilet to be sick. Typical me!

After that I felt fine and carried on watching the film and eating the just about edible plane food. It was funny how they described the food on the menu, it made it sound delightful.

B56EB5EA-CB0A-4365-8551-0775056A3EA6

On the plane there were rows and rows of CA travelers, I made friends with the girl who sat across the walkway. Her name was Kate and during the flight she just began laughing at me because I was kitted out with so much plane gear. I had kids ear plugs that helped relieve the pain you get in your ears when flying, a cool strip for my forehead, PJs to keep comfy and my inflatable neck pillow. I recommend everyone get these essential flying itemsto make your journey better!

After I finished watching Life of Pi it was nearly time to land. Once on the ground, we headed through security and boy do they hate it if you use your phones. A mean looking man hovered over us and waited for this boy to notice his mistake before humiliating him infront of the rest of the que. I’m just glad it wasn’t me!

The whole security process was a little scary. I wasn’t particularly scared until I approached the desk and the security guy through my passport back at me and told me to remove the cover. He was so rude!

I was amazed at how quickly and easy it was to retrieve my suitcase. The whole airport experiece almost felt too good to be true.

We then all piled onto a couch and were dropped off at the hotel were we were to spend the night before heading to camp.