July 17, 2012

Summer Camp

I have just spent 2 weeks teaching English in a summer camp in Ronda. The camp was held by Spanish Ministry of Defense for Spanish and Italian teenagers. So, you can imagine that those teenagers I taught are Spanish and Italian soldiers’ kids.

The camp was started on the 1st of July. However, I was informed that I was selected to be one of the English teachers on Friday – 2 days before the camp started. And yeah, I needed to do super quick preparation for the camp because I went to Ronda a day before the camp started, on Saturday.

The camp was cool, I think. I mean, it was not a real camp like I imagined it would be; with tents, if you know what I mean. I stayed in a military school which has a dormitory (where I slept), and I taught English every morning for 2 hours. The rest of the hours? Well, I could swim if I wanted to (there’s a big swimming pool), or joined music and dance classes, and helped those teenagers preparing for their show (at the end of the camp, they had to do a show performance). There was no Internet connection – WiFi – so I couldn’t know what happened to the world while I was in the camp. But well, I survived.

I had 18 students in my group, Charlie – there were 4 groups. There were 5 Italian students and they were all crazy, hahaha. I had fun moments with them and I managed to build great relationship with most of them. One of my students even came to me, shared his problems and asked me for advice. I think it was cute because he trusted me enough to let me know what was bothering him.

Oh, I went for a real camping for 3 days as well. The camping site was great. I mean, seriously, it has proper bathrooms and toilets, and a small restaurant. Not to mention, the river nearby… it was awesome. I thought it would be very cold at night – and it was, indeed – but I got a military sleeping bag and it was hot. So, sleeping in a tent was not a bad idea, I think. Yet, in those 3 days, we had to eat sandwiches! Sandwich for breakfast, sandwich for lunch and sandwich for dinner. I think I won’t eat another sandwich for quite some time.

We also went to the beach. Yet, we couldn’t swim there because there were lots of jelly fish! I saw one and it didn’t look like what I saw on TV – Finding Nemo, I know it’s a cartoon – and there were no Spongebob and Patrick who would help us catch the jellyfish, hehehe. However, it was a beautiful beach. My friends and I rent a place to relax and had a sunbath – I stayed in the shade, of course.

One day we had an orientation. Yet, it wasn’t really an orientation, but it was a scary night for the kids. They didn’t know that they would have to walk in the dark inside the building and find lots of ghosts! The director, however, asked me to stay outside the exit door because she knew I am a weeny (I get scared easily, hahaha). So I waited outside and I could hear those girls screaming. Quite funny, actually – because I laughed a lot – but it wouldn’t be funny if I were one of those students. My friends did a really great job in transforming themselves as ghosts. One of them deserved to be the scariest one, I think. She was absolutely creepy; with messy long hair, white face, black eyes and lots of blood.

I stayed far from Antonio for 2 weeks, but we managed to call each other twice every day – after lunch and before dinner – and even though we couldn’t see each other through webcam, I think it was okay. I mean, it was just 2 weeks, anyway.

So, what do I get from the get? A T-shirt, salary (of course), experience, new friends, and… a lot tanner skin! I am so dark right now!

If you ask me whether I will return to the camp next year, I’ll say that I might return there, but perhaps I will go to another camp. This summer camp has given me new experiences and wonderful new friends; my Polish roommate, Natalia, a Scottish teacher, Liz, an Irish funny guy, Alan, and a Canadian teacher, Adrian, who also taught me how to meditate. I like his being positive as well.

In sum, though at first I was kind of worried about that summer camp, in the end I actually enjoyed it. And yes, the happiest feeling for me, as a teacher, is when my students hugged me and said, “Thank you for everything.” It was indescribably amazing.

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