The Summer Camp Experience

7:27 PM

How do I even begin to describe camp? How is it possible, in a few simple words, to express what these two weeks meant to me? It is hard to talk about life-changing events. You never do them justice. Still, I should try. 

I think this one sums camp up pretty well
Taking selfies with teachers is like a level up in taking selfies

Throwback to when Juan was a nice guy and not a merciless killer
Where do I begin? The people? For a person who lives in a small town, two weeks spent with broad-minded, intelligent people, a creative bunch of funny, curious and ambitious young men and women, a potpourri of nationalities and characters, was like a dream come true. 
(Now that I've uploaded the pictures, I realize how absurd this sounds. We're mature people, I promise.)

It was culturally enriching. Somehow, in such a short time, I managed to make a great many friends: the kind of friendships that last. If I try to explain how bonding reading terrible fan fiction can be, or how easily you can make friends by using cheesy puns or fandoms, you probably won't believe me. Yet I have a surprisingly large number of friends from all over the world (USA, Russia, Spain, Austria, Georgia, Kazakhstan) as well as from Bulgaria (shout out to my biches and to the Bulgarian mafia) who prove how easy it is to make friends in such an environment. Perhaps the best thing I got out of camp was meeting some of the people I currently call best friends. 

I should mention the counselors, and Stella in particular. Making friends with her is one of the best things I got out of camp. Others - Najwa, Alvaro, Halim - were an endless source of positivity and were always there when needed. A ginormous amount of kudos goes to the teachers - especially to Ali (who is one of the most creative, inspiring and intriguing people I've met) and to Geri (whose support, advice and lessons were invaluable and whose help might as well have changed the course of my entire life), but also to Veronica whose classes I would have gladly attended and who always offered a nice chat, and to Alex who was a great team leader (yay for team D, go go Dinosaurs). The kind ladies in the canteen and the patient guards in Skapto also deserve to be mentioned. In general,as can be seen in the pictures, it was the people, though not the people only, who made the experience so mind-blowingly amazing.

And here we can see Horse Guy without the horse mask
Why is it always the Russians?
Does this even need a caption?

Squad goals?
Matt Smith. 

Here's to the friends that don't like taking pictures. 
Camp is for finding the best friends you can hope for.

This picture. 
Celebrating July 4th with orange juice.
I have no explanation. 
Hugging the authorities. So cute.
The Caisi Squad
No caption can contain the awesomeness.

So badass though. 

 What else? The divine coffee from the vending machine in the lounge room or maybe the awesome strawberry shortcake and the strawberry yogurt from the cafeteria deserve a place here. So do the huge cherries and the melon we had every single day at least twice a day (I hate melon). Kudos to the cooks who served us every possible variation of potatoes, rice and cheese imaginable. A favorite part of was 'stealing' water, or rather trying to sneak more than one bottle of water out of the canteen, as well as stealthily returning half full trays of food to the kind kitchen ladies. I should also mention cooking class - I learnt how to prepare no-bake raspberry chocolate tarts and something Spanish with eggs and potatoes, and some sort of Georgian bread, and did no damage to the kitchen, somehow. 
Much cook, very wow.
Mine looks best, that's why I'm so proud.

Spanish cooking 101. 

Georgian.... bread?

As for the campus (I'm madly in love), I'll let the photos speak instead. Best dorms ever, 11/10 would recommend, the couches in every block are of particular importance and host memories that should never become known to the public. I especially love the lobby where I spent more time than I did in my room. Speaking of my room, I am ashamed to admit that it took me about four days to learn its location which resulted in a lot of wandering and getting lost. (I'm a huge dork, pass it on.)

I developed a very keen sense of time (a necessary attribute when you have curfew), I learnt what relay games are (if you don't know, I hope you never find out), I killed people with clothespins and landed magnificently on my butt while playing Capture the Flag. I chased zombies and was a zombie chased by people, I had to be dragged out of a bookstore and drank a fair share of smoothies, I memorized umbrella street (due to a series of late-night roamings) and had sushi for the first time, I found myself laughing on the floor several times. I learnt how to play Uno and how to pass an orange around using my throat, I played Ultimate Frisbee (just google it) and saw two (two!) cheesy action movies, I dealt with drunk Russians and listened to MCR in an empty parking lot , pretended I was American and was taken for an American (on separate occasions). I made artsy earrings and sang karaoke, walked in the rain and played Joplin and Chopin on loudspeakers during lunch, lay on the grass and created a no-shoes zone (which was basically forcing people to walk barefoot). I ate mekitsi in Rila and was given twigs instead of flowers. I got lost in Sofia and bought a Starbucks drink with a name so long that I can't really remember it. I spent several hours reading terrible jokes with some of the nicest guys I've ever met... Generally, it was a lot of fun. 

This is how people react to Humans vs. Zombies. Priceless.

Movie night, we're so intellectual. 

Zombie enough? 

I was the luckiest person alive because I got the chance to spend my 18th birthday at camp. I was given a birthday donut in class and a birthday cake by my friends and some tiramisu by this Austrian guy who is awesome and stuff.

 A lot of people sang happy birthday to me, including THAT Bulgarian version of the song. I had my first cocktail ever (heaven in a glass, if I have to be honest). 

The birthday donut in all its glory.
I remembered too late that I was supposed to take a picture of it. 
People who buy you tiramisu are the best people. Kudos to Michael. <3
(I don't have a selfie with Michael and that's the saddest thing about camp)

Classes were an essential part of the experience. Rather than boring lectures, there were a lot of discussions, inside jokes (first aid kids, cats with panic attacks, whoosh and knives gently touching backs, icy blue eyes and Doritos and Mountain Dew), walks around town, horses, earning a lot of chocolate by manipulating and tricking people, building marshmallow towers and playing games (Obama has to save the world & California has no water), untying shoelaces and laughing at drooling kids, intentionally writing terrible poetry.
It's hard to imagine but in just two weeks, I managed to have more fun, to meet more people, to learn more things and to become more experienced than in the past several years combined. Personally, I became more confident, more assertive, more sociable. I became braver and bolder, slyer and more relaxed, I learnt a lot about myself and about dealing with other people.

Presentation days were a lot of fun. I made people cry with a poem. We had a cross between Hitler and Ash Ketchum, a zombie horse and a creative writing rap. We witnessed soap operas and remakes of Batman and Mean Girls, a news report about Ebola at camp, a speech about speeches.

Creative Writing Week 1

Leadership Skills Week 2
Creative Writing iz a srz bzness

It's me with a horse....

... and me as a horse.

Here's a marshmallow tower and the only time we saw that kid wide awake.

There will come a day when I will not post pictures of Horse Guy but today is not that day.  

I could try and name every single person who made my summer unforgettable but I am likely to miss someone out unintentionally, so here's a big thank you to everyone who made my experience so special. So long, and thanks for the memories. 

We be glowin'

Herp Derp?

Bulgarian mafia pt.1
Bulgarian mafia pt.2 (Kudos to Stella for being the most awesome
counselor like ever) (also, birthday selfie)

When you just want to read your book but people insist on taking pictures with you.

Take me back to AUBG.

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  1. This post was lovely! You might not be able to do the experience justice with a single post (like you said, no matter how well-written a story is, life-changing events don't really work like that) but we can feel your excitement and joy radiating from those words and pictures, and that's plenty. ^^