Survivor Camp 2012

A tanned Jeramie has now returned to Konotop after Survivor Camp 2012 in the Carpathian Mountains! I like to refer to this camp as “fat kid camp” though, because I always seem to lose weight during this week. And I would hope so because it took us about 40 minutes to hike up to our campsite on the mountain with all of our gear for the week. That hike was well worth it though because we had a great camp- the weather this year was good; it was hot everyday (as opposed to last year when it rained almost everyday.) Violetta and I ended up taking 7 kids with us to camp this year so we really had our hands full, but everyone seemed to really have a great time so that made all of the extra worrying worth it. One of the days we hiked Pip Ivan a mountain over 2,000 meters high. It took us about 6 hours to get to the top, where we were able to see the remains of a Polish observatory that was built in 1937 and then later taken over by the Soviets in 1938. It was interesting to see, but I spent most of the time lying in the shaded grass trying to let my legs recover some before the hike back down.

Konotop School #3 at Survivor Camp

The camp itself was fun and very relaxing this year. Most days we played with sports with the kids or just sat around talking and listening to people play the guitar. The one day it rained we took the plastic from our tents and made a slip n slide down the hill at our campsite- the kids LOVED it. One night I also spent a couple of hours doing flashlight photography with the campers and counselors. This is when you leave your camera lens open for a long exposure and then use a flashlight to write and or draw things. We got some really good pictures this year!

I walked down the mountain from our campsite a few times during the week- one time to go into the nearby town of Kosiv and the other times to shower in the river that was at the base of the mountain. The water this year was warmer, so maybe that is why I made a couple of trips to get clean in comparison to last year when I showered only once ha. One day when I was in the river with the girls that I brought from my school it started to rain so I told them we had to get out. We decided to wait it out a little while and then once the rain stopped we got back in. 30 minutes later however, it started pouring again so this time we got out of the river for good and started hiking up the mountain back to our campsite. We weren’t sure when the rain would stop that time around so we just kept hiking it was so funny- the girls were not pleased trying to hike up the muddy mountain. But I had forgotten how nice it was just to be in the rain- I loved the feeling of cool drops hitting me as I climbed. The whole week was really just so refreshing; it was a nice reminder of a simpler life without the Internet or cell phones.

Today was cousin Nina’s birthday. We all celebrated at the dacha of course with salads, meat and a cake. Afterwards I spent some time in the garden eating shalkovitsa (aka mulberries!) I was reminded of my old house on Rooth Road in Edinburg where I would eat mulberries from the trees as a kid. Crazy how fast time flies. I can’t even believe that we are already halfway through July. Next week I will be at Camp Excite and then after that I will have one week at home until my trip to Russia. After my trip school will start and then I will leave in 2 months. I can’t even wrap my head around it all; it just makes me sad to think about how quickly my time here is coming to an end. I do want to come home because I miss my family and my friends, but at the same time I love my life here in Ukraine and I hate when good things come to an end.