Sunday, July 30, 2006


In basketball, Leagues was divided into Scholastic, Collegiate, and NBA. Being the superior basketballer that I am, I got to coach Scholastic. I would have been happy to watch and learn, but they liked the counselors to be doing things. The other Scholastic coaches were Vera, Abby, and Cameron, and the four of us had to run a draft, then coach and ref the very competitive KSA Scholastic League.

Thanks to a bit of coaching from Zuri while I had a day off, my team turned a less-then-stellar start to the season around, and ended up winning the much-coveted League Champs t-shirts.

Third session Vera and I got to co-coach in the amalgamated Scholastic and Collegiate League. We tried really really hard to win a t-shirt for Vera but unfortunately it was not to be. Oh well, we still scored the best player even with the third draft pick. Leagues also got more fun with the arrival of super-coaches Becky and Erica. And the Jayhawks rocked!

Period Two each day was devoted to WKSA: basketball just for the girls. This was probably my favourite period, as it was all the female basketball counselors, we were often learning right along with the girls, and we got to participate a lot and even had a few games against the campers. Wish I could still remember the play that we learnt. Artie?


KSA played in a lot of intercamps, mostly for the campers but the counselors also got a run. First up was the guys, hosted by KSA: lots of testosterone, flashy moves, and brilliant skills. A big event and great game to watch.

The girls also got a few games, later in the session. Of course, we dominated, as befits anyone from KSA. I think we played two games at home. We actually had a fairly close game with arrgh - mental blank - a team anyway, and were challenged to a game on their home court. Please. For a start, their 'home court' was also home to a bajillion bugs and oh yeah, had a lump right under the basket. A little hill, right there on the court. Anyway, we of course squished them like bugs, due to my brilliantly annoying defence on their 'guard' and Regis' excellent coaching methods (like sharing court time. It's a new concept. It'll catch on.).
The ride home with Abby and Randi was most excellent as we battled through Walmart to make it home by curfew. Thanks again to the scary Orthodox Jewish couple who let us go ahead of them. Much appreciated.
Three-on-three was last period every day. Very hot, very lazy counselors and campers. Again, we got the younger kids which was fine. There was lots of lazy around working on our tans. Really should have bought drinks down on a tray more than once.

PS. I don't think Abby was actually there for that period, but I could be wrong. It's a great pic anyway.
Beautiful Basketball Days at KSA
We had this running joke going. Chris always liked to point out the differences in weather between a KSA summer and being in Germany (where Vera and Chris have both lived). It got interesting when Chris asked whether Vera was going to be wearing a bikini tomorrow.
Just another beautiful day at KSA.

June: First week at camp - Walmart and Roarks

Our first week was spent in getting to know the camp, the other counselors, and the town of Monticello.

We had an exciting night at the KSA canteen. Woohoo! No seriously, they do great chocolate shakes, as well as ice cream, pizza, pretzels, mac and cheese, and other healthy American foods (talk about an oxymoron!)

We had lots of fun at the two Monticello houses of entertainment: Walmart and Rorkes. For the internationals, it was our first time in a real Walmart, and our first time riding on a real yellow school bus. Ooh, and the drive-thru ATM. We're easy to thrill.

It was Ellen's birthday early on, so that one was of our first experiences of Roarks. Not that we needed an excuse to go there. Roarks was also the place where the pre-hooking up drinks were consumed and first moves made.

And I can never forget my time spent with the two best blokes in the place: Ben and Jerry.

Friday, July 28, 2006

June: The birth of E7

Sylvie (American, Wisconsin, skating) arrived early with her boyfriend John (American, New York, hockey) and his sister JoMo (camper, E12, skating, volleyball) and Jenna (camper, E1). Also arrived early was Hailey (camper, E7).

Anyway, when the rest of the (read: American) counselors arrived, we had more meetings, some with all the counselors and some just girls up in Girls' Camp. There were some dramas when Stacey (counselor, E8) didn't want to be separated from Sylvie, even though they'd be right next door, and when Cat (counselor, E8), Helen (counselor, E7) and I didn't want to be separated from American, returning counselors.

In the end, we all settled down and made posters, although Stacey did go home early from camp. Helen later left us for E1, and Sylvie and I were left to carry on the good work of E7. Which was very fun. See hair straighteners, Jessica Simpson, Build Me Up Buttercup, hot new dance moves.

June: First days at camp

First days at camp were just the internationals. Had a meeting on the front lawn while we checked who was here and Marc magically memorised who everyone was. Then we dragged our luggage up to the lawn, he assigned us our bunks (remembering who to assign where ... it was freaky, I'm telling you) and we got to lug our luggage up Evert (pronounced Everett) Steps to the top of Evert Hill, where Girls' Camp is located. Summer camp is all about fun.

We got to spend most of our time recovering from our jet-lag and lazing around in the sun. Had a bit of an explore around the camp: basketball courts, lake, pool etc.

June: On the way to camp

Well, the highlights of the bus ride:
- Yankee Stadium
- seeing my first Walmart
- passing the Kutshers signs
- discovering that Ellen was a real live cheerleader.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

June: First morning in Central Park

Had been split up into our camps and had a bit of a chat, so the girls from (or for, really) KSA decided to go for a walk to Central Park before our bus left for the camp. I know, how cliched right, but what else were we going to do in an hour?

On the walk there, we all chatted with whoever was walking next to us at the time: basic where you from, how old are you, what are you studying, what will you be teaching kinda stuff. Really, what else is there to talk about?

Once we got there, sat down, I suggested we go through the names again, as I for one sure as hell didn't remember them. We had Nikki, Ellen and Helen, Jo and Jodie, Kate and Cat, and me. Nikki and Kate had both been there the year before, so although not as counsellors, it was still good hear a bit about the camp and the set-up there, things like that.

Beautiful day for a tan.

June: First night and morning in New York

Got a cab from the airport with a guy named Josh who was also from Australia, and I'd noticed his IEP t-shirt on the way through customs and immigration. Very good to have someone to share the cab fare with.

Got to our hostel with no problems, checked in (or whatever it is you do in hostels) and found my room. Accidentally woke everyone up when I turned on the light (it was about midnight, understandable that they'd be pissed) then went for a shower and some sleep myself.

Woke up and met them under much better circumstances, then it was time to store our luggage and go to the Bunac orientation meeting.

Lots of people there (well duh, obviously) and well over half of them were KSA-bound. After a bit of a talk about America and summer camps, he split us up into our camps, so we could meet the people who'd be counsellors with us for the rest of the summer.

June: On the plane

Was seated next to a really nice girl called Sarah (I think) who'd been studying in Melbourne and was now on her way home to New York. She was able to tell me a little about the Monticello area (and how to pronounce it) which was very comforting.

On the other side of me was a women, no idea what her name was, but the three of us played cards for a little while and chatted. All in all, a very nice row to be seated in.

I was awake most of the flight, playing cards, chatting, looking at photos on Sarah's computer, eating, drinking, (they fed us a lot). Pretty sure the movie was crap, but can't really remember.

When we got to LA, Sarah helped me to find the gate for my connecting flight, another five hours to JFK.

That was a much nicer plane; as you can see the first one wasn't anything special. I was seated behind a family with a young kids, and I remember thinking about all the special attention we used to get when we travelled as a family. I'm sure I was cute.

As we circled, waiting to land at JFK, there seemed to be a lot of stars in the sky. Unusual, I thought, considering the size of New York City. Hey look, they're moving. That's right, I'm an idiot: they were all planes waiting to land. We're so not in Kansas anymore.

June: Departure

I ended up filling one huge suitcase and one huge duffel bag. Very stupid and very funny considering I only took the suitcase when I fully moved out home, and it wasn't even that full. Anyway.

Flew to Sydney at some ungodly hour of the morning, then got to wait around in Sydney all morning til my plane took off.

It was cold.

To amuse myself I had McDonalds for breakfast (healthy way to start the day) and read Metro Girl by Janet Evanovich. I was mostly asleep and so had to read it again when I got to camp and was actually awake.

When it was time to check in, I ducked under the rope maze thing so I didn't have to wheel my brick-heavy suitcase up and down and up and down. And got asked by a nice guy with a turban if he could check my bag. I was very embarrassed and worried that he'd pull out some underwear or chick kinda things in the middle of Sydney airport. Fortunately, he didn't and I was allowed to check in.

April? May? : The visa trip

Had to go to the American Embassy in Melbourne to apply for a J1 Visa. Got there early and so was in the first lot of people to go up. Really wasn't a big deal, but I'm sure if I'd been a smart-ass or she'd been having a bad day, it could have been.

Went to visit Bob in hospital, got to see Belinda which was great. Lost my drivers license somewhere in Melbourne. Anyone finds it, give me a call.

That morning, dad and I did the Queen Victoria Markets. Bought a light jacket, which I don't think I even took to KSA with me. Got the best brunch from this little bakery kinda shop next to the markets. It better still be there next time I go to Melbourne.

Went for a ride on the loop tram, which actually does a square, but was really good for giving a general idea of Melbourne's layout and heritage. Had a few issues with catching one back from the markets, mostly due to the fact that we couldn't decide which side of the road would be the best (ie first) and hence did a lot of running in circles (squares) when we saw trams coming. Very very funny morning.

Had further issues with trams when we tried to go shopping at the outlet places I'd heard about. Stupid woman told us the wrong tram, so we had a nice little tour of obscure parts of Melbourne. And on the way back, were treated to some extremely colourful language as it was peak-hour and all the high-school kids were on their way home. That was fun too.

Then went to Adelaide for the pre-departure orientation. Kind of a waste of time, in a way nothing can prepare you for a trip like that. I think everything they said was true, some of it irrelevent that they totally stressed, and some things they said in passing that were pretty important. It was good to meet other people in the same situation (some without camps yet) as a kind of validation: I'm not crazy to be doing this, it's fine. Or I am, but at least there are other crazies here with me.

And of course, the obligatory trip to Harbourtown to spend some money.

Dec, Jan: The waiting game

So I had been promised a placement within like a month or something.

January 25th (I think) I got a call to say they had found a place for me! Yay!!! At some place called Kutshers Sports Academy, in upstate New York. Like in Dirty Dancing. All pretty with the hills and activities and stuff. Yeah, that's the place.

Then I was promised a contract in a few weeks. This did not happen. I was not happy. I wanted some proof to say I was going. (As I found out, this was not really the way things happened. One girl got to camp a day or so late as she'd only just, like the day before, found out she'd been accepted there. Crazy.)

I also had to get a passport and visa.
The passport was no problem, got a photo taken, stupid bitch at the photo shop got all narky with me cos I asked a few questions so if I look shitty, it's cos I was. Neece was there the day it came, I'd forgotten about it but she was quite excited. So I could leave the country. Cool.

November-ish 2004

Applied to IEP (International Exchange Programs) for a job as a summer camp counsellor. All kinds of fees and forms to fill out, but I had been thinking about this for a long time, and this was definitly the right time.

Had to have an interview (over the phone, thank god) with a guy named Stuart. I even remember the time, 10am. And then some random woman calls me at like two minutes to. Get the fuck off the phone, I'm waiting for a call here! Anyway, Stuart did call (and get through) and we proceeded. Mostly going through my application and clarifying things, then a few scenario-type questions: what would you do if... kinda things. Like I'm gonna say I'd join in with a few pot-smoking campers. On the whole, all was well.