This is my blog from last week that I meant to post, but didn't get a chance to because we didn't have wi-fi!
It’s been very busy here on our side of the world. We were training all week long last week learning songs, games, activities, and prepping for the first week of camps! It’s been a little intense at some points, but we’ve also had a lot of fun. There are 11 counselors and we all get along so well. We’ve decided our situation is a little like a season of the Real World. We’re a bunch of strangers living, working and partying together. Every day after we trained we would do something fun as a group together. One night we went to see Transformers 3 at the Sony Center in Berlin. The next night we went back into town and found a couple local bars that we hung out at until we decided to go back home. However, the trains were not operating like we thought they were and it took us two and a half hours to get back to the house where we were staying. On our last night of training our boss and her family threw a German style barbeque for us. After eating the amazing food they cooked for us all week I didn’t think that they could top themselves, but I was wrong. They brought out pork, sausages, cheese steaks (literally seasoned cheese formed into a steak like shape), cheese and herb wraps, breads, and potato salads. I don’t know if I’ve ever eaten so much in my entire life. I was literally in pain I had eaten so much, but it was so worth it because everything was so delicious! The group stayed up and drank and sat around the fire early into the morning, some of them even got to see the sun start to come up!
Last Saturday we moved into the flat in Berlin. We’re in a part of Berlin called Charlottenberg, so we’re about 10 or 15 minutes on the Metro from the heart of the city. The flat is amazing, It has two huge rooms with tall ceilings and windows. The kitchen is big too and we have a big bathroom for everyone to share also. When all of the counselors are here the sleeping quarters are a little sparse and some of the boys have to sleep on air mattresses. All of the girls have beds though so I can’t complain too much :) The weather around here has been terrible though. I had to go buy some warmer clothes because, silly me, I prepared for Summer weather. Who would have thought it was going to be 50 and rainy all weekend and most of the week?!
Josh started camp Sunday. He’s working an overnight camp this week, so I’m sure he’s going to be exhausted by the end of the week. We talked to one of our bosses who helped to open their camp on Sunday and he said that the language barrier was proving to be a difficult thing at the camp. Apparently none of the kids really wanted to do anything because it was the first day and the weather was not very great. I’m sure as soon as the kids loosen up and they get more comfortable with being away from home they will be fine. Josh is amazing with kids and has a special talent for making people feel comfortable so, so I’m sure he’ll have those kids wrapped around his finger by the end of the week!
I am staying at the flat in Berlin this week and working at a day camp in Zahlendorf, about 25 minutes away. We had our first day of camp on Monday and it was a little more difficult than I expected. I have 9 11 to 13 year olds and almost all of them speak a pretty good amount of English which helps a lot! We had a lesson on the 4th of July as the first day of camp was our country’s independence day and I had to acknowledge it somehow. This is the first time a lot of the counselors who are here, including myself, haven’t celebrated the 4th somehow. While it is a little weird I don’t really mind missing out on the fireworks!
I’d like to send a big shout out to the amazing people of Berlin!! Every single person we’ve met here has been so incredibly friendly and helpful and I know that we could not thank them enough. From the Bartels who housed and fed 11 of us for the week to all of the random strangers who have helped us with directions or which trains to take to the man who helped a group of us figure out the trains and even paid for half of our cab fare. All the people have been willing to help, even if we can’t figure out how to communicate verbally, they find a way to help us. If we look lost at all someone will notice and help us out in the drop of a hat. Being in such a friendly city has helped make Berlin feel a little like a home away from home in our long adventure. So, thank you Berlin for being so kind and welcoming!
Until next time. Love and Hugs, Mackenzie and Josh