Hi all! This is Elise.
I’m writing this in a hot van, about 4 hours in on our trip back to Craiova. And while I am not physically comfortable right now, my heart is full. Yesterday was our last full day of camp, and we made the most of it, spending a lot of time connecting with the campers. After a morning full of outdoor games, it rained in the afternoon, so we set up crafts and games indoors. I ended up playing a game of Signs. Signs involves passing an “invisible ball” across a circle of people by signaling to others with a motion or sign that they chose at the beginning of the game. One person stands in the middle of the circle and tries to guess who has the “ball” as it is passed around behind their back. This was such an interesting game to play with a mix of Romanian and English speakers because all the nonverbal communication mostly defeated the otherwise challenging language barrier. There was confusion, but plenty of laughter too.
Even with moments like the signs game, the language barrier had been a challenge for me personally. I had found it difficult to connect with certain campers because of conversation limits. By the fourth day of camp, I was worried I wouldn’t even be able to form real relationships with the girls in my small group. But as our last two days continued, I tried to sit by a couple of these girls during a few meals and evening sessions (this may sound simple, but there was a sort of scramble for seats during these times that often left leaders sitting together). I found that even this small (and awkward) action could create a connection. And while I’m not best buds with any of the campers, I did get goodbye hugs from the girls in my small group today! 😊
One last note: We are now back in Craiova! I have been told how much returning to Craiova feels like coming home, and now I truly understand the feeling (don’t worry Mom, I’m still coming back to Madison). It is comforting to be back in a familiar place, and amazing to shower without sharing the shower with other girls’ hair. I think I speak for everyone when I say we’re sad that camp is over, but at the same time, we are all breathing a sigh of relief now that we don’t have to be high-energy all the time.
Thanks for reading! – Elise
To Owen: Good luck this weekend!
To Mom and Dad: Have fun sitting in the heat for hours. Love you! – Elise
To Owen (still Owen Chester): I miss you! Love, Luke & Leah
To Jake Genyk: I had a dream about my shirt last night… Expecting great things! – Ashton
To Larry: Can’t wait for the Spring Green golf outing! – Kip
To George: George… Georgie… I am so EXCITED FOR YOUR LAST DAY OF VACATION ON THE CRUISE. Make sure to not eat too many deep fried mushroom stew shrimp balls! And um p.s. do not spend too much time in the kiddie pool. Chlorine will ravage your skin!
To Emmett: Love ya, you old codger. Can’t wait to give you some belly rubs! – Matt
To Arthur Immanuel Ernst: Welcome to the world! Love, Auntie Missy
To Arthur Immanuel Ernst: CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR BIRTHDAY! I LOVE YOU -jULIANWJESTLERUJD
To Nikki: Apparently, I’m y(o)u now.
To Noah Pollard: I was just called Pickles today, so no worries. Also, I did a special chomp with a motion and sound effect in the camp video. Hope you see it. Miss you. – Luke Sweeney Stevens. PS no Tylenol pm was consumed on this trip
To all Memorial swimmers: Good luck at All City (Go RW)! – Matt and Elise