On Wednesday the rest of the campers arrived for session two. As usual I took pictures of all the arrivals and later in the day I officially moved into a new bunk with Ashley.
I am extremely happy with my new bunk, mainly because I share it with Ashley but also because I no longer have to walk all the way up the hill, battling against all the flies!
The rest of the day was pretty relaxed as all the new and old campers unpacked their stuff and made their bunks their homes for the next month.
I cannot quite believe that session one has already finished. Orientation week seems so long ago but the whole of my time at camp also feels like it has flown by.
That night I sat OD but was relieved fairly sharpish so I was able to get an early night.
The next day I took pictures in the morning and then caught up on a lot of different things in the office. I planned what I am going to do with the campers as I now know what to expect having learnt from session one.
In the evening Ashley drove Casey, Dan, Nick (a lovely guy from England) and I to Walmart and then the diner. I bet you can guess what I had…French onion soup for $4 :).
On Friday I met the campers that have chosen to learn photography whilst they are at camp. I am so impressed at how well I managed to remember their names this session. They all seem like a good group and I am looking forward to seeing what they can produce.
In the evening Ashley and I watched a film and ate all our junk food. I ended up falling asleep half way through the film though so we will have to watch it again.
The next day my alarm went off at half 7 and somehow I immediately got out of bed to get ready for my day in the city.
When we arrived we got the tube straight down to downtown New York as we wanted to go and see the memorial for 9/11.
We queued for about half an hour but none of us seemed to mind. When we got inside I was immediately overwhelmed by the amount of people that lined the memorial. The huge waterfalls that mapped out the foundations of where the building used to stand were beautiful and I am glad they got chosen to represent such tragic losses.
Even the sound of the waterfalls made you feel detached from the city. It was as though they drowned out the hustle and bustle of city life, allowing you to really think about the people who lost their lives that day.
I was also shocked to discover that a tree had managed to survive such a disaster. The stump of the tree was found by workers amongst the wreckage. They removed it and New York City park nursed it back to health. In March 2010, the tree was uprooted by severe storms and still managed to pull through yet again. Then in December 2010, the tree returned to the World Trade Centre plot. It was a honour to be able to touch the leaves of such a magnificent plant. As the guide points out, it really does embody the story of survival and resilience.
I am glad I was able to visit the memorial to pay my respects.
We then all walked towards the Statue of Liberty. Looking across the sea I was wondering where the statue was and then suddenly, as I walked past a column, there it was. It was one of those moments were I stopped and thought, wow I am in New York right now. These moments happen a lot!
I have to say, it was a lot smaller than I imagined it to be. Unfortunately we were unable to get the ferry to Ellis island to actually see the statue as we were to late so I will have to do it another time.
As we walked towards the Brooklyn bridge we passed a lively street filled with small shops and stalls. True to his nature, John Teva wanted to explore and I was happy to go along with it. We wandered through the streets and ended up in a sweet shop. I was pleased with myself for resisting the urge to buy anything.
We wondered further and found ourselves a small garden so John decided to water the plants.
Finally we made it to the bridge and started our trek across. Lots of people were walking across it, many of them looked like tourists. Mid walk we saw lots of people had signed their names on the bridge and some had put padlocks inscribed with their names on. Without a padlock at hand, Mia and I decided to use a trusty sharpie to sign our own names.
We also bought the most amazing mango which happened to be on a stick, it was lovely!
Just before we made it into Brooklyn we passed a herd of Amish who stood out in their hand made clothes. I found it a little odd especially as all the younger children were crying.
Stepping into Brooklyn felt like a small victory. Once there we found a subway and made our way back to midtown New York to meet Dan and Steve in the MET museum.
It was about 7pm by this point, I was hungry and my feet were hurting so I don’t think I fully appreciated all the art that filled the building. I did enjoy the photography exhibits, especially when I recognised some photographers work, such as Sally Mann, William Eggleston and Philip-Lorca diCorcia. My favourite piece was by an American man named Larry Sultan of his grandfather reading a newspaper. Something about the mystery of who hid behind the paper had something to do with my attraction, I think.
As a group we all went to shake shack and I had fries for dinner. For desert I had some amazing custard, ice cream stuff that was really smooth and creamy. I loved it!
After eating we all began the tiresome journey back to camp. I think we all slept on the train home. City life is tiring but not as bad as camp life.
As usual, on the following day, my eyes refused to open and I begrudgingly got up out of bed to head to breakfast. It was a rainy day at camp so taking pictures was slightly mundane. With the hobby kids I set up a white background and taught them about portraiture. I also started the calendar which I have to create before camp ends. In the evening staff from a different camp came to compete in a basketball game against staff from our camp. There entrance was something I will never forget as they bounded in equipped with their hippy gear on. They all seemed very friendly and certainly weren’t taking any of it seriously. I am glad Steve made me go and watch.
Monday was a good day. Camp turned into a carnival and all the specialists had to be in charge of a certain booth. I got to run a face painting booth and I had tonnes of fun doing it. During the break from the kids, John painted a glorious rainbow right across my face! I looked like part of gay pride and I am proud to say I left camp and entered the real world with said rainbow still intact.
In the evening Ronny Ron, a hypnotist, came and hypnotized some of the staff members for the viewing pleasure of the campers. It was hilarious, especially when ‘Big Poppa Korn’ slumped to the floor due to be so relaxed.
The next day consisted of usual camp activities, I took pictures and taught speciality.
The weather at camp has also improved! It is no longer humid, just nice and sunny with a bit of a breeze. I hope it remains this way because I don’t think I can handle the heat again. As soon as I would get out of a shower my body would immediately feel sweaty. It was not a pleasant experience and I am sure all of camp would agree!
For the first time since I left England, camp provided us with a good meal; chicken, potatoe and green beans. I was happy!
I am also not sure if I have posted a proper photograph of where I am currently living, it is a lovely place…