Monday, July 11, 2011

Day 3.

The campers came today and I have so, so much I want to share. However, I've been going strong since about 6am this morning and we are rounding up to around 12:30am. It's bed time. For those of you who are checking this for updates about camp from me, just know that this morning I woke up happy. I'm living a dream that I didn't even know I had when I graduated from college. It's the best feeling!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Day 1.

I am in a dorm room.

I just opened up my suitcase and took out my carefully rolled clothing. This is how I pack, rolling my clothes so I can jam as many of my possessions as possible into one bag. As if I would never see my favorite tank top again if I didn't get to bring it with me for this week away. I was able to shove not only clothes for a week, but also two blankets, a bed sheet, a pillow, a towel, full-sized blow dryer and five pairs of shoes in one bag. I was happy with that accomplishment.

I lined up my shoes underneath my bed. I made the bed, using my old college dorm room sheets. They are lined pink and green and gold and white and worn in from the many years of hauling them from my bed down to the basement washing machine once a week. Maybe once a month. It was enough to make them worn in, so the timing really doesn't matter much.

I put my clothes in unfamiliar, too-bulky drawers for my week's worth of clothing. Intimates in the top. Tank tops next. Then the thin, more fun t-shirts soon followed by the sporty t-shirts. Pants go on the bottom. Pants should always go on the bottom.

I'm in an unfamiliar room yet I'm in one of my most familiar states. I'm at a summer camp, and for most of my life this is what I did every single summer. I stayed in new dorm rooms. I carefully unrolled my clothing and put it in new drawers. I tried to look hip everyday. Whatever that meant. It definitely did not mean wearing Winnie the Pooh sweatshirts. Silly 7th grade. Silly camp kids.

This time is different, though. I didn't roll up in my parent's car with a sleeping bag stuffed in a garbage bag. I didn't shyly tell a stranger my name for my name tag, hoping my mom was nearby to make sure I was doing it right. I didn't walk into a funky smelling dorm room, afraid of who I was going to be spending a week scrunched between the same two walls with. I didn't carefully select my outfit weeks ahead of time. In fact I didn't 'select' my outfit at all, I just wore clothes today. Like every other day.

It's different because I am the one in charge. I've made the name tags. I've worked on the room assignments. I get the pleasure of a single room. I'm the face people are going to be looking towards if they are having a bad day, roommate problem, or crisis. I created the t-shirts. I got the internet code (which are hard to come by at camps.) I'm the adult.

I think this is going to be a whirlwind of a week. A whole new experience. A new era of my 'camp-going' days. The other volunteer 'staff' come tomorrow and the students arrive Sunday. I'll let you all know how it goes. :)

Foster the People.

I leave for my camp TODAY. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011


 Let's forget for a moment that I still have the marker capabilities of a three-year-old child and tend to get a good swipe or two on my hand. Let's also forget that the red marker that's been nary an arm's length away from me for the past two weeks smells like cherries. Yes, a smelly marker. That's what I've been proofreading all of the materials I'm about to hand out to high schoolers with. Don't you wish you had my life? Or at least my marker?

I've been playing phone relay all night, where you make one phone call and leave a message to said person. Then a separate person calls you. While you are on the phone with the second person, the first calls back. While you are on the phone with the first person, a third chimes in. While you are on the phone with the third person, texts seem to come floating to the surface. I've finally put my phone to updating/resting heaven for a few hours so I can finish the work I brought home with me. (Work like making sure I have all of the rules to the games I'm going to play with said high schoolers next week typed out so everyone can understand them, as opposed to my hand-written, red marker, smelly blobs that are currently all over the piece of paper to my left.) It's going to be a good night.
Hope you all had a lovely Fourth of July! I fell asleep late last night listening to fireworks pop and sizzle and slip into the unknown all around the neighborhood.

Monday, July 4, 2011


Have you ever had characters in a book really take up a place in your life?

My friend Sammi introduced me to the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants books one summer when I was around the age of sixteen. I loved summer reading, and when she found out I hadn't read the sisterhood books she promptly shuffled through her bookshelf and gave me the first one right then and there (it was one of a few weekends spent at her house in Minnesota instead of mine in South Dakota). I read and reread all four of them over the course of the summers following and have seen the first movie more times than I care to admit to the public.

Last January my friend Hanna asked me to buy a GroupOn to a small bookstore in Stillwater, about 30 minutes away from us. We traveled there this past week to use said discounted coupon and I found the book Sisterhood Everlasting by Ann Brashares. The premise? "Four friends, one sisterhood...ten years later."

ARE YOU KIDDING ME? How had I never heard of this book coming out? Albeit, it is still solely in hardcover so it couldn't have been out long, but I didn't know about it at all. My anger is so silly, because there is no actual connection that I have to Tibby or Carmen or Bridget or Lena. I've never met or even seen Ann Brashares, the author. I'm not signed up for her author newsletter nor have I ever been to her website (if she has either of those. Laziness is causing me not to care to look.) Yet, I felt like I was personally abandoned because more information about these characters lives, these friends I met and knew and stayed up far too late to read about so long ago, existed and I was unaware.

Obviously that is the book I bought and this weekend I started reading it. And continued reading it. All of it. To the end.

You know when you are so invested in a book that once you realize you are on one of the very last chapters you somehow try to will yourself to read slower? You get a sense of anxiety thinking that it will end soon and you try as hard as possible to savor the words and moments? That is such a horrible emotion.

When a book's characters intrude your life at such a vulnerable state (puberty, the first crushes on boys that lead to boyfriends, etc) and they seem to be going through the exact same things, you keep that with you, possibly without even knowing it. The four girls' stories became my anecdotes. Their actions taught me what I should or should not do. Their tribulations helped me work through my own. I have really open, encouraging friends in real life, but sometimes the people authors write about are easier to relate to because you put yourself in their situations. Find a piece of yourself in their makeup. What would I do in a situation like this? Am I guarded and cautious like Lena? Do I jump into the unknown chaotically and without a plan like Bridget? Do I have set views and strong convictions like Tibby? Do I let my emotions make my decisions and document my life a la Carmen?

What I think was most heavily revealed in reading this documentation of the girls' lives ten years later was seeing that so much can change in those years. I've been noticing this more and more lately as it has started becoming my reality. People move away. Change jobs. Find their significant other. People build houses and families and new groups of friends. I've recently been thrust in this "adult" world and I honestly have no idea what that means. An insightful new friend asked me this weekend "When will we actually feel like adults? When does that happen? I thought it would happen after I graduated from college, graduated with my masters, but it hasn't. When will it?" I had no answers for her. I have no answers for myself.

As I'm writing this I'm remembering a conversation I had with a boy who sees the world entirely different than I do. He was asking a similar question about six months ago, and I told him that we would feel like adults on "July 30th. I'm not sure in what year, but that's definitely the day." I'll let you all know how that works out for 2011.

I think the point of this post is to tell you that this book is absolutely nothing like I thought it would be and everything that I needed. I'll leave you with a small passage that I appreciate:

"You get older and you learn there is one sentence, just four words long, and if you can say it to yourself it offers more comfort than almost any other. It goes like this...Ready?"


"'At least I tried.'"