Today we had a Dog Party down at the gardens to celebrate dogs. It was like a big play date with a bunch of dogs in the village. Our newest dogs, Daisy and Penny, ran around and tackled each other while our old dogs, Thor and Isis, stood around, laid down in the grass, or tried to leave the party to get away from the spritly young pups.
Lately my days have been filled with fun and festivities- extra hang out time with friends, pond swimming, a cake walk, karaoke, movie nights, special dinners, a birthday celebration, and learning print making and about natural paints from our artists in residence.
Our Ecovillage Education students will be gone in a couple days and the village will seem very quiet when they’re not around, but we shall not forget the fun times and even drama their presence brings to our lives in five short weeks, including a wedding, losing one of our rabbits to Australia. I too will leave with the students in a couple days, and I’ll be off to start my new job at a camp in Potosi Missouri. My friends tell me how much they’ll miss me and there were sad noises at the WIP as my absence was announced. I’ll miss them too, but unlike a cruise ship job, I plan to return home for Thanksgiving, and I’ll only be four hours from home this time. I’m off to adventure with climbing walls, zip lines, animals, teaching nature classes and camp fun and shenanigans. It’s hard to believe that this time next week, life will be and feel very different for me.
I arrived at camp, got taken to my cabin, and shown around camp a bit. I think it is something about the summer camp atmosphere that makes one miss home more than cruise ship atmosphere. I have a new life for the next few months. I’m sure that by the time I leave here, I will miss camp too. We are supposed to think up new camp names for ourselves. I’ve decided I want to try a different name than SunGee, maybe I’ll sleep on it and come up with something in the morning.
I pet some animals and held a hissing cockroach, went on a zip line, did some arts and crafts, saw some horses, saw two raccoons in the dumpster, ate yummy food in the lodge and the day isn’t even over. All in a first day’s play before staff training starts tomorrow. I do miss home, but I know I’ll see my friends again soon enough. For now I enjoy experiences I wouldn’t otherwise have if I stay at home.
After several nice suggestions for camp names like Pixie and Mighty Mouse, I’ve decided to pick Arwen, one of the counselors said I kind of look like her, and Arwen is elvish for my given name anyway. After going through a couple times of picking a new name for myself, I think I’ve learned an important thing about name choosing. If you’re going to pick a new name for yourself, make sure it is something you like being called in all situations of your life, including the most intimate ones. I don’t think I was so discerning with my ecovillage name.
So far staff training has consisted of long days, mostly climbing 30-50ft towers and learning how to belay climbers. We also got to take care of some of the animals in the nature center and I got to feed some of the snakes, snake feeding is only once every two weeks. Now is the weekend, and I usually get one or two days off on weekends. I am so greatful for days off because I didn’t get them at my other job. There is a band camp staying at camp right now so my two days off are filled with band music constantly playing around camp. After all the climbing and walking around (this camp is huge) I think I am going to get more physically fit than I would at home at DR.
I have been at camp for a few weeks now. The days are long, sometimes 10-14 hr days, but the job is generally fun and fulfilling. I am having a lot of experiences here, meeting nice friends I wouldn’t otherwise, and I get to teach outdoor education classes to lage numbers of children and groups, sometimes even with special needs and disabilities. I do miss home and sometimes I think about trying to stay home for one year straight, possibly without making any kind of predictable income, but I know that here at camp, I am having experiences and a fulfilling career I couldn’t have at home. I know just as well, I could stay here too, but I’ll definately be home again by the time it starts getting warm.
I think one of the strangest transition experiences I’ve had with my job at camp is the food. I’ve had this job at another camp before so I knew what I was getting into and was sure I’d be ok with camp food, but it is not that great going from an ecovillage where I eat a lot of fresh vegetables and organic staples to a camp that serves Concrete Jungle food. The food is a lot more processed here than I am used to, there are less options than a cruise ship of course, and part of me can’t believe our civilization thinks it is acceptable to feed this food to children. I am eating a lot of “normal” food for a city kid, speghetti, hot dogs and hamburgers, tacos, peanut butter and jelly, fried chicken, raviolli, tomato soup and grilled cheese, etc, but it makes me glad I grew up eating this junk or else this food would probably make me very ill and sick, if not actually vomit because it feels like toxic waste in my body. Usually I go to serve myself meals and think, “This isn’t even real food.” I can imagine that if I had grown up at Dancing Rabbit, I would not be able to eat this food for 3-6 months. The only thing that comes closest to being in its natural state is the salad. I end up eating salad and a lot of crap.