I’ve been in Bemidji now for two weeks, enjoying the lovely surroundings of northern Minnesota and the pleasantries of camp life. This past week, a small group of 10-year old boys and girls joined the group of 30-some counselors for fun and games. During the time I am not helping lead a language class, teaching kids about matryoshka dolls, or organizing the new office, I’ve been enjoying the gorgeous sunsets over Turtle River Lake and snapping pictures of a variety of animals that occasionally make an appearance near the cabins.
Having spent last summer away from Lesnoe Ozero, I had to acclimate to the teaching schedule of our camp. Lessons are not limited to the classroom, but instead, I’m teaching young kids at meals, while walking around the camp, and in cultural activities. It’s challenging to operate in Russian all day long (my foreign language battery lasts only for a few hours before my grammatical abilities crash and precise vocab escapes me), but most of my conversations with kids end in laughter, which I really appreciate.
One girl announced to me while walking to breakfast, “Everything happens in the morning.” I definitely see where she’s coming from – I’ve been waking up a half hour earlier in the mornings to walk or run around, and birds are singing, turtles are searching for a spot to hide their eggs, and ripples are shifting lilly pads in the river near camp.
Tomorrow, more than 70 new kids are coming to camp to learn Russian and experience nature in northern Minnesota. I’m excited to teach and also to learn in the next month.