Well, what can we say? Three weeks. Long enough to fall in love, learn to write with chalk or create a race of genetically-enhanced monkeys. Long enough to impart some of the eccentricities of English grammar, culture and humour, we sincerely hope.
It's been amazingly good fun-waking to unknown challenges and activities, running the gauntlet of Nysa ice-cream parlours, and mixing French cricket with Scottish dancing and cooking from… somewhere on Earth, we assume.
Abiding memories of the camp are of walking. A mountain here, a city there—I think most of us are grateful for the exercise—Nysa camp was a place where neither things nor people stood still.
As I write this, I'm watching people autograph body parts, so I'm guessing that most of those gathered here got on. It's certainly a refreshing change to turn up to lessons in which more or less everyone wants to learn. Explaining the lyrics to "A Thousand Trees" by the Stereophonics was particularly interesting, and the first indication that manic arm gestures and crude chalk pictures could work wonders for communication.
Yes... Bees. Wombles. Ferrets. This place had them all. Thank you for making our stay here so memorable and fluffy.
† The, er, 'English Staff' being me, because Elaine was asked to do this written summing up of camp along with several million other things the morning of the day the kids left.
The last week of camp was as hectic as the first two. More so, even. Monday, there was an 'English song festival', which I completely neglected to mention in my last entry. My randomly assigned IT group had selected two songs they thought they might like to sing, neglecting to consider the fact none of them knew how they went. With the able assistance of my sister, we ended up doing Cecilia. Simon and Garfunkel would have been proud. One of our number deadpanned through a solo Strawberry Fields Forever, later repeating this feat in front of the whole camp. As for the staff, we offered a karoake version of Bohemian Rhapsody and the Polish lot strutted through We Don't Need No Education with Marius on guitar. Rob, Steve and Daniel gave us a stirring rendition of a song Rob wrote for his sweetheart in Duluth; the line which stuck out was 'One night in an American girl...' At least, 'in' was what it sounded like... One of the groups even wrote their own series of song parodies which namechecked all of the English staff, which deservedly won first place and got an encore. A fun evening... :)
Wednesday, I didn't go to bed after writing that stuff about Eddie and the football game. This was because Thursday was Jane's birthday, and all sorts of sneaky arrangments had been made... one of which was Rob's intention to make cakes and cook through the night. He didn't last long, leaving Sally and Zofia to work out how the electrics worked. I pitched in for a while, but the rest of the ingredients weren't expected until the morning and watching cake mixture bubble bubble over and encrust itself onto the bottom of an oven proved more excitement than my knackered self could handle.
Remarkably, Jane never twigged that the lights and sounds coming from the kitchen five metres away from her room might have been to do with the next day. Large quantities of cake were eventually produced with the enlistment of the kids, with the evening seeing a reprisal of the previous Wednesday's ceilidh. Another top evening.
Friday being the last day for the kids, there was a presentation of certificates and prizes during the day and a disco in the evening. We were given rather nice illustrated guides to Poland as staff (which led to some small exclamations of surprise on stage) and the whole camp got photos of their groups. Some of the prizes were a little suss (as a teenager, I don't think I'd have been happy to win a prize for tidiest room), but it was cool to hand over certificates to people who'd made (in some cases) tremendous progress over the three weeks. Definitely made it all feel worthwhile. :)
Every group put on a small performance to showcase something they'd done on camp, ours being a vignette sequence of mildly comic events and a round of Help! by the Beatles. Other contributions were a rewritten version of the theme to Friends (sample line: "I'll be there for you... when Halinka's at the door!" in reference to dorm curfews) and a battle between the forces of Lord Rob and Lady Jane. Fretka made a truce with his nemesis (see previous song), which was just as well given that Rob had been ejected from the students' dorms several nights in a row for talking after lights out. I know this having hung around myself one evening so that he wasn't placed in the conceivably suspicious position of being alone in a dark room with eight or nine girls...
The disco wasn't particularly interesting and the beer wasn't up to much, so the evening turned over to ice-cream... by the time we got back to the bar, everyone was ready to leave, being both a bit bored and a bit tipsy in some cases. It later emerged that the police had been called to breathalyse some of the kids who'd smuggled in bottles of vodka... not exactly unexpected when you have an age range going up to 17, really, but laws are tighter in some cases than in the UK (staff get less discretionary powers...)
By the time we surfaced properly the next day, most of the kids had gone and there was much packing to do, quick renovations of classrooms and downsizing of luggage.