Monday, June 7, 2010

A Reunion

Us near our camp

Andrew is here! He arrived last weekend, after a grueling ten hours of transport. We're thrilled to be together again, even though Andrew misses his Bourride teammates.

I only posted about my first week of camp, so I'd better backtrack a little to fill you all in. The posts during these American Village weeks are mostly going to be a list of adorable kids that I've decided to adopt/kidnap.

Hollywood, Ivy, Basil, Easy E, and Gizmo

After the first week of mostly bilingual kids, we received a group of 10-11 year olds whose
English wasn't amazing. Being a newbie, I wasn't allowed to teach ESL two weeks in a row, so I had to be an activities counselor instead. I found it to be much more work, and it involved doing a lot of things that were a total mystery to me. I'm not a sporty person, so playing baseball and Capture the Flag weren't as enjoyable for me, but at least the kids were worse players than me so it wasn't a total blow to my self-esteem. I also did tie-dye shirts for the first time, which was a little bit of a disaster because I didn't know the kids weren't actually supposed to do the dyeing part. 56 kids had stained hands for three days. Oops. But their shirts turned out surprisingly well! Dreamcatchers also were a nightmare, and didn't turn out so well since I basically just made up the procedure.

My favorite kids from that week for three little boys named Buckwheat, Nutter Butter, and Cankles.

Nutter Butter

We also had Wild West Day, where for the evening program we had a Carnival. I was the blackjack dealer and there was also a strongman contest, a fortune teller, and a caricature booth.
Master as the Strongman

The third week, when Andrew arrived, allowed me to return to teaching. The kids' level of English was really low, so we had all beginning classes. I really enjoyed my kids. I had Billy Mays, H-Bomb, Princess Leia, Your Majesty, Circuit Board, Sister Ray, Lipstick, Lipgloss, Broadsword, Honey, Balla, and Lucille. They were smart kids and learned quickly. I personally adopted Supernova, Sister Ray, and Billy Mays.

For Fairy Tale Day, the kids performed little skits and the counselors embarassed themselves with interludes. One of them was called Levitation and involved four counselors supporting each other with nothing but their crotches.
My skit group doing Cowboys and Indians

Levitation Interlude

This past weekend we went to stay in a chateau in southern Burgundy region. The chateau is the site of another camp, and home to some very lucky AmVil counselors.
Chateau d'Aine

We arrived late in the evening on Saturday and stayed the night. The next morning Andrew and I walked around the vast grounds and then went on a wine tasting tour that was excellent. This region is known for its white wines, which both of us prefer, so it was an ideal setting. Not only was the testing free, but the bottles that we bought for about 5 euros for such a great deal! We probably had fifteen bottles of wine between all of us for free, and each person bought a bottle to take home.

We spent Saturday morning in nearby Vienne, which is what we consider the Orleans of the south. It's quaint and cute, but has enough fun stuff to do, and is so close to Lyon that it's easy to escape for the day. There as a nice little market going on Saturday morning, and I was able to score some shoes for only 10 euros! I also bought a cute little purple dress for 5 euros.

Everything was so much cheaper there than anywhere else we've been. We also hit up the farmer's market and bought a delicious rotisserie chicken, some cherries, and some goat cheese. For us, it was a feast after weeks of eating yucky camp food. We're going to return to Vienne next weekend for the market and to take a look at the Roman ruins scattered throughout the city. After Vienne we headed to Lyon for a couple of hours to buy some bagels, which were ridiculously priced (3.75 each!) and we wandered around the consulate fair, admiring different foods, costumes, and dances. There was even a Mali booth there, but neither of us is able to really face that just yet.

Now we're back at our "permanent" site, Tour de Buis, which isn't very far from Lyon. We have a new batch of kids, these ones aged 7-9 years old, and are absolutely adorable! They also have better English than most of my students who were 11-15 years old in Orleans. They go to an international school, though all are French, and they have an American as their English teacher. She's from Palm Springs and brought us some CoffeeMate Irish Cream Creamer, which if you know me, you know that I LOVE Coffeemate Creamer and wish I could buy it here. Pictures of these kids to follow in a later post!

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