As you may have read, Nicole and I are at different camps. You've read about her gullibility, now it's time to read about me!
I arrived at the train station, after a longish 7 hour trip from Lyon. I was wearing my camp t-shirt and one of the other counsellors immediately approached me and offered to help with my bags. He's a very nice guy from Mississippi/Tennessee now named Yetti. Like me, he was an English assistant, working near Toulouse. From the train station, we rode a bus to the nearest village to the camp and as we got off the bus, we met two more counsellors, Wegee and Boondock (we are required to have nicknames). We got picked up and taken to the camp. Wegee and Boondock have been working at this camp since March, so they're pretty experienced. Yetti and I got a tour of the camp, sheets for our beds (we're roomies), and chilled. We met the female counsellors at breakfast the next day: Tootsie Roll, Arizona, Cupcake, and Kazoo. They asked my name. What was I to tell them? I like trees, how about Redwood? And thus was my nickname created.
We've had a lot of fun this week. On Sunday, we had to prepare for the kids coming, so I made a human-sized Statue of Liberty cardboard cutout that took all day and was pretty amazing if I do say so myself. We used it for a skit, to be explained later.
On Monday, the kids came. I was a teensy bit nervous until I saw the kids, they were sixth graders, just a year older than my oldest kids in Orleans, so something manageable. We sent them through immigration where they got passports, converted their money, and had to go through customs (little liars. Do you have any food or sweets? No. May I look in your bag? Oh what's this? Chips, cookies, candy...). We even found three bombs!!! (fake dynamite sticks planted by Cupcake). After immigration, the kids got a tour of the camp, a little evaluation to identify their level to split them into four groups, an introduction to the counsellors where we had a talent show (mine was juggling... one ball) and then after dinner, a campfire where we had s'mores! I got to dress up as a caveman to help explain the history of smores.
The next day, I got to teach my first English class for Discover America day. It was a bit boring, but they learned a lot about the geography of the US, and baseball. I played dodgeball with them after lunch, and then they played baseball in the afternoon. We did the skit with the Statue of Liberty: she's on stage, a tour guide faces the audience and begins to give info about the statue, a bandit comes and steals it, the tour guide calls Obama, who calls Sarkozy, who calls a detective who is sent to search for the statue. He goes to Philly where he gets beaten up by Rocky Balboa, then to Texas where he get's bucked off and trampled by a bull, then to Hollywood where he falls in love with Lady Gaga and gives up the search. He calls Obama, who says don't worry, we'll just put up a Hotdog of Liberty (Relish your Rights!). Sarkozy is offended by this and demands that the statue be found. Fortunately, Lady Gaga offers to do a concert to raise money to buy the statue from the bandit. She does a dance with all the kids for aerobics, then they see the bandit with the statue, who gives it back for an autograph and kiss from Lady Gaga. Confused yet? I played the detective.
Wednesday was Wild West day and we had a lot more fun in English class. We played a couple games, danced like Indians to drums, and learned some vocabulary. They got to sing Ring of Fire. I did a cheer that goes: "Cowboy's got the beat, uh huh. Cowboy's got the beat, oh yeah. Cowboy's got the beat that makes you wanna *clap clap* move something." It's funny when you know that 'beat' in French means dick. The skit was a showdown between a cowboy and cowgirl doing a chubby bunny contest. It was hilarious.
Thursday was Hollywood day. I had my kids act out the verbs in English class. Then they had to come up with their own skit, which they performed in the afternoon. My kids decided to do a talent competition, Texas vs. LA. The Texas girls danced to Cottoneye Joe and the LA girls sang the opening lines to I've got a feeling. The Texas girls one. It was really funny when the LA girls pushed through the Texas girls and said, "Los Angeles is beautiful. Los Angeles is perfect... just like us *hair flip*." We tie-dyed t-shirts in the afternoon. During the spectacle where the kids performed their skits, we counsellors did other little intermissions so the kids could get into costume. I was in a ninja contest where three of us had to try to make each other laugh. One tried to tickle me with a feather, with no success. Another tried to deflate a balloon behind me, making a farting sound, with slightly more success. I swept the stage with one word: titmouse. Another counsellor went on stage and ate an entire apple. Another counsellor had students come up to build him a house, two for walls, one door, a table, then a fire. He had all the students say what they were, and when he got to the fire, he screamed: "Oh my God, there's a fire in my house!" and proceeded to extinguish the fire with a glass of water, soaking the student. It was really funny (even the soaked student laughed). Another skit was the counsellors and one student sitting down to dinner, boring at first. Then the director (me) yells, "CUT!" and has them redo the scene as a romance, serious, comedy, zombies, old people, kung fu, etc. The student got really into it. Apparently it was a life changing experience for the boy, Picasso, who was not very popular until that moment. After the spectacle, there was a dance party that lasted until 11:20, yikes. The girls wouldn't dance with me :( I've never been rejected so many times at a dance. Oh well, I have thick skin. Thankfully, the other counsellors like to dance.
The final day was Graduation, where students made graduation caps and decorated them. We had to sign a lot of t-shirts. A lot of students cried as they left, especially Picasso, the boy we had all grown close to. Like me, he associates more with adults than his peers. Sad to see them go, but nice to have free time again. A typical work day starts at 8:15 and ends at midnight.
Today, I walked from a nearby village, Arreau, with Arizona and Cupcake. It was a lovely walk, with mountains and meadows, rivers and wildflowers. Arreau is a cute village. Ooh, I forgot to explain that my summer camp is in the Pyrenees, close to the Spanish border, in the mountains. It was cold on Monday and the mountains were covered in snow. One week later, a lot of that has melted, but it's still gorgeous.
I miss Nicole a lot, but haven't had a lot of time to talk to her. Only one more week, then we'll be together.
The food is good. We had some awesome duck, chicken wings, and shish kebabs. (The name of the duck dish was Donald Duck. I loved it. I got to say I was eating Donald Duck!) Next week I get to look forward to Gaga for Goat Cheese salad. Mmmm
That's all folks...