The Camp Diaries: A lucky start 

So here we are, summer 17 at last. Returning to Huckins is a hard feeling to describe, as we drove through the white gates I felt like I’d just returned from a long night off in North Conway. NOTHING has changed and when I say nothing I mean of course a few things have changed, there are different department staff, counsellors, a revamped health centre, new goats. But the feeling I got in my stomach, the smell of the pines, the relationships made last year, it was really like no time had passed, I find myself questioning if the past ten months really even happened or that was just an elaborate dream. The important stuff really doesn’t change at all, I am still the same girl I was at Huckins last year and Huckins is still the same camp. A little bubble, protected from the rest of the world and everyday life.  My flight from Manchester airport was largely peaceful barring the 30 seconds I thought I had brought the wrong passport and a particularly bumpy landing. One tip I would give to anyone doing camp America or first-time travellers in general is to purchase some kind of folder or purse you can keep all your important documents together in. This way you won’t be scrambling through your rucksack in a frantic search for your DS2019 whilst a stubborn American guy grunts ‘paperwork’ at you. Another very, very, VERY crucial piece of advice is to make sure you don’t leave this folder, holding your passport, visa and all other important documents, on a seat in arrivals at Boston airport. DEFINTLEY not recommended. I sat in my room, our camp director had just requested our passports DS2019 and SEVIS forms when I had a sudden realisation my lovely bright green folder had been left behind, Boston airport, a 2-3 hour drive from camp. After an hour of talking to unhelpful customer service numbers and airline advisors I was deeply under the impression my documents were gone forever. This was kind of annoying since it is just so out of character for me, when it comes to travelling I am not a ditz. Travelling is my forte, it’s what I’m good at, I can keep my head on my shoulders and rarely mess up this bad. My mind was racing at a million miles an hour, would I have to get an emergency passport? How much would I have to spend? What about my visa? What about my DS2019? Would it be easier to just go home? Luckily, I was surrounded by my favourite kind of people, camp people. Even though I knew this was a serious mess up, and even though they definitely knew it was a serious problem they were so reassuring and just told me that everything was going to be okay, which was what I soooo needed to hear in that moment. One of the girls from camp was actually making a trip to the airport that evening to pick up some other returning international staff. I decided to tag along, Boston airport had repeatedly told me that their lost and found was empty and my only option was to go look myself and even though I (and everybody else) knew the odds were certainly not in my favour I felt like at least i could postpone my panicking a little longer. For the entire 2/3 hour drive i repeatedly told myself- do not be upset when it’s not there, do not be upset when it’s not there. Now the thing is, this story is actually minutely helpful, the only piece of advice anyone could really take from this is always check your belongings, no matter how confident a traveller you are, things are always going to go wrong AND stay calm, crying won’t solve any problems, you need to push your emotions aside for a second and think very logically about your plan of action. As it happens I most definitely have a guardian angel to thank, my green folder had been handed in to an information desk in exactly the same state I had left it in. My heart did a thousand somersaults and I don’t think I could wipe the smile off my face for at least an hour and a half, I am an extremely lucky gal. So hopefully my first disaster will also be my only disaster of the summer and every step I take from now on I will be checking all of my belongings.

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