Friday, July 30, 2010

The end of camp.....

The last session flew by. Camp is finished and I quite enjoyed all of it. I was sad to leave on the train yesterday, but excited to start my new adventure. I am now in Paris and have already done some cool stuff, but I wanted to post some pictures from Mont St Michael first.

I have a lot more to say about camp as well. I will be doing a lot in the next 2 weeks or so and hopefully I can keep things up to date on here as much as possible.

This was the start of the walk, the goal in plain sight.

This is me stuck in quick sand. You have to make quick jerk movements to free yourself. Before we started sinking it felt like walking on a trampoline.

This was the Mont St Michael as we approached it.

We walked in the mud for a large portion of the way.

At some points we had to cross through some shallow water.

I went a second time just a few days ago and we arrived in good time so we were actually able to go inside. I had manually removed my cast at this point so I was able to have more fun with the mud and water.

I didn't have my camera this time so I was unable to take pictures inside. There were just a ton of little shops, most of which sold crepes. I purchased a waffle and nutella as that is what the girls I was in charge of purchased and it looked to good to not try myself. It was and I was not disappointed.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Mont Saint-Michel

Finally I am getting a chance to write about this, and just a day before I embark on the journy once again!

Towards the end of first session our trip for earth day was to Mont Saint-Michel. Mont Saint-Michel is sometimes an island and sometimes part of the land. It all depends on the tides. The story goes that the arch angel Michael told the bishop in the area to build a church there and so he did.

The 'pilgramage' to the island is what made the trip. It consisted of about an 8 kilometre walk from the main land through the muddy marsh that lays between Mont Saint-Michel and the main land. We went with a tour guide who knew the safest route as we had to cross through areas of water just past our knees. There was a lot of mud, which I found cool. Fun stuff to run around on and play in.

The tour guide also explained different things along the way, but the guide was in French so the only thing I caught was when she was telling the kids to close their mouths. One thing she explained which was translated was about a lone pink flamingo that escaped from the zoo and lived in the area. It was a super rare sight to see, but sure enough we did catch a glimpse of it. It was far off in the distance so I did not get a picture of it that it was visable in unless you zoom in completely. At that point it is only a blur.

We never actually got the chance to go inside. By the time we walked there it was time to catch the bus and have our snack and return to camp. Hopefully the same thing doesn't happen tomorrow.

The coolest part about the trip was the quick sand. The tour guide had us create our own by continuelly stomping on the ground in a fixed area. Then we got to bounce across it like a trampoline. It was pretty cool. Then she showed us how to get stuck in it, and how to 'unstick' ourselves, which is a series of quick jerks. It was pretty cool. She explained why it happened but I did not understand.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Session One Finished

My first of two, two week sessions is finally complete. There were a lot of rough patches during the session, but all in all I quite enjoyed it. There was a lot to enjoy, a lot of which reminded me of camp back home.

A basic day at American Village has you wake up and grab breakfast before two hours of ESL split up into 2 by a 15 minute recess. After ESL and just before lunch is perhaps the best part of the day, congress. Here there is usually a song, a skit, a cheer and some other random fun thrown in. Afterwards there is free time and then a couple of activities which relate to the daily theme. We have dinner around 7 before more free time and evening program. After evening program it is time for the kids to go to bed and the counselors to plan everything for the next day. This includes lessons and activities.

The day starts around 8am and runs until midnight or later most nights. A lot of work, a lot more then I was used to as a counselor at SVDP. It can also be more frustrating as well, due to the language barrier.

By the end of this session I did manage to connect with quite a few campers, including the ones I had in my own ESL class. It was kind of sad to see a lot of them go today. I am also however relieved that the first session is over and am quite excited for the upcomming session.

Now knowing what to expect, I can focuss more on doing more of my job and enjoying myself while doing my job even more. By the end of session I was (with encouragement from campers) comfortable singing camp songs in front of everyone by myself that most others did not know.

I have only left the camp twice, one came on my day off and the other was a camp wide trip. One day I took a walk with someone else who was off and had a couple beers in this very small village about a thirty minute walf from La Mazure. It was very small and reminded me a lot of the town in Beauty and the Beast.

The camp wide trip was to a famous site, Le Mont St Michael. It deserves a blog post of its own and hopefully I will also be able to upload some of the pictures.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

American Village

July 1st

There are a lot of similarities between this camp and your typical North American camp, which is kinda the point. It has a skit pit, a rec hall, dorms and a lake...although the lake isn't really used at the camp. With these similarities also come a few key differences. One of these differences is the ESL classroom. There are also people we share the camp with.

As of today (July 1st) campers have not yet arrived (that is as of the writing in the journal, but as far as the blog posting goes they have been here for 4 days). They will come (or they came) Saturday the 3rd. We have been busy preparing the camp by creating signs (in English) and posting them around camp.

My job will be to be an ESL teacher as well as to assist when needed in afternoon activities and help organise and run the evening programs. I will also run the general store.

As far as French culture goes, I am hearing a lot of French spoken, but remembering very little. Meal times are also neat as there are always several courses served seperatly. I always seem to leave a meal super full.

And as mentioned, the kids have been here for several days now. Things are super busy and I have been barely getting the chance to sleep at night...oh the joys of being a counsellor again! But I do have 2 days off during each é week session. One of those days off comes now...hence my ability to get on the computer long enough to actually post something. The plan is to catch up on some sports, some sleep, prepare some lessons and do laundry. Yay, exciting!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Car Ride Through Paris

The flight process went off pretty much flawlessly. My hand and cast were swabbed but other then that I was fine. I had a stopover in Iceland and while going through security there the lady stopped me while she verified there was nothing she needed to do because of my cast.

I must say, France was the easiest country to get into. Once I arrived it was only a matter of grabbing my bags.

Unfortunately there was noone waiting for me at the airport and I had no idea what to do. I tried using a pay phone to see where Marine or Julien were but the machine kept eating my money even though I asked for help at the info booth. I was getting frustrated when Julien finally showed up. Julien explained that Marine had wanted to meet me but someone commited suicide on the train, so the subway was delayed. She called him and he drove to the airport instead.

This gave me the oppurtunity to drive through downtown Paris as we needed to meet Marine to get my train ticket. I must admitI am glad I wasn't driving. There were points when cars were coming from all directions and there weren't really any road lane lines.

We drove past some pretty famous places, like the arc de triumph and the loo. No chances for pictures yet as I was in the car, but I will get my chance when camp finishes at the end of the month.

It was nice to see some familiar faces in France. Julien drove me to the train station and I said my goodbyes. I took the train from Paris to Granville, but fell asleep before the train even left. I woke up and was well out of the city. The sites were similar to farms back home.

There was a taxi waiting for me at the train station. I was the last counseller to arrive and my dinner was waiting for me. All signs are pointing to this being a good month.

The kids arrive tomorrow...while I have had plenty of time to get on the computer in the days of prep for the kids, I do not forsee that continueing.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

June 28th

There is always a moment when everything suddenly hits doesn't matter what, if it excites you it seems to all hit you in one solid swoop.

Yes, before hand you know you should be more excited, but it is like you don't believe it yourself. When you finally believe it, it can be overwhelming. It took a while for this new journey to hit. Perhaps it is because I have done similar things before. Sure enough though it eventually hit. I was talking to the lady as she was getting ,y boarding pass when it hit me.

It's still new and fresh despite people not reacting as before. It's pretty accepted now that I will go on world adventures, which I don't mind a bit. I may have even inspired some people.

I've never flown over the atlantic ocean, I've never been to Europe. The whole journy is so,ething to look forward to!

And so it starts, here I am sitting in the airport, the only thing in my way is time...but even that threat is quickly (or slowly), dissappearing.


Just an FYI, time on the internet is kinda limited. I have been writing stuff in a notebook so I can put it on here when I get a chance...I have 2 posts ready to go at a later date.