Nick of Time

Just returned back to Madrid after two weeks of working at a summer camp, where myself and nine other monitors gave English classes, taught sports, and put on nightly shows for 144 Spanish children, ages 7-15. My group of twelve, made up of all the youngest kids, chose ‘The Champions’ as their name, and as a result I made them sing along to ‘We Are the Champions’ and ‘We Will Rock You’ every day to start and finish class. I don’t think they hated their daily five hours of classes as much as some of the kids, and I feel good about that.

The Champions

Highlights for me included Fashion Night, a Costume Contest, the Talent Show, teaching all of the kids a dance to Lady Gaga’s Judas and making them perform it in a giant flashmob, and a day at the Terra Mitcia theme park in Benidorm. As an extra bonus, my Spanish got a whole lot better, don’t think I spoke so much consistently the entire time I was in Spain. Low points included all of the children crying one night due to some crazy rumor about these gothic twins with knives that lived in a cave next to camp and were coming to rob them, and a louse outbreak, which ended with four monitors and myself spending four hours de-lousing 30 upset children. At least I am sure that I will never forget what the word ‘piojo’ means.

Paz, Julia, Giorgia and Carmen on Costume Night

Of course the kids were fantastic, the best part of the camp by far. I don’t even know where to begin describing how much I loved them and how much they cracked me up. There was Paz, the youngest girl in the camp, who danced hip hop like a maniac at every disco and was always the last one on the dance floor. Jose Maria, who managed to fall asleep at every event and at every place in the camp. Julia, who got so scared by ‘las niñas goticas’ that she told me she was literally ‘cagando de miedo’ and proceeded to cry so much that she puked. Giorgia, who was from Rome and spoke Spanish and English with the most adorable accent imaginable. Carlos, the only boy brave enough to dress in drag for the costume contest, and Raul, who on Superhero Day refused to take off his homemade super-wolf costume, despite my repeated pleas.

Jose Maria, sleeping of course.

But man, never have I worked so hard in my life, I’m pretty glad to be finished. I was basically non-stop from 8am- 1am every day, Spanish people not needing to sleep apparently starts when they’re young. It will take some time to re-adjust to normal society, right now it still feels strange to be surrounded by adults, to eat food not presented to me on oversized metal trays at pre-determined times, and to not be covered in a permanent layer of sweat, dirt and sunscreen. Last night I mistook the sounds of people partying in Sol for the sounds of campers not in their beds, and my dreams were haunted by cries of whining children. Clearly I am in need of this Croatia vacation, stat.

Love ’em.

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