Saturday, August 30, 2008

Notes on Camp

Bad Blogger. Bad, bad blogger.

I do have a good excuse for being so lazy. I have spent the last three weeks working on assignment at a German summer camp in Bemidji, MN where I had little access to the outside world. I'm working on a major piece of reporting about the camp, where kids ages 8-18 learn German in an immersion setting that is one part Germany, one part Minnesota's North Woods, and one part fantasy world.

The above images shows a Des Moines, Iowa family choosing their German names from a name line spanned between two trees in front of the camp's "Bahnhof" or train station. (There's no actual train, but it is the equivalent of the camp's border crossing, and the place where "villagers" (no campers here) shrug off their American identities and take on a German one).

I'll post links to the stories I wrote there once they appear, but in the meantime, here's a link to the flickr site with images from the camp.

Here's the other news. We're homeless.

Husband Adam and I both graduated last spring, he in dentistry and I in journalism. I took a job as adjunct faculty in the journalism department teaching features writing for the summer. I've spent the last two years working during holiday breaks and freelancing part-time, teaching half-time and going to school while he plugged away at dental school, a place which by all accounts is the eighth circle of Hell. So we are taking a few months to travel. I know what you're going to say: in this economy? Well, we are still working out the appropriate narrative to explain to people that we want to see a little bit of the world before we tie ourselves down geographically.

So we have moved our stuff to storage, the two cats are getting shuttled to my mother's home in Lancaster, PA in a few days, and then we're off. First stop is Panama, where Adam's twin brother Jeff and his wife Foy are in their second year as Peace Corps volunteers. Their village, set in a jungle a few hours east of Panama City, is about as remote as they come.

As of yesterday, we are innoculated against typhoid, yellow fever, Hep A, and malaria. Unfortunately, there is no antidote to the scorpions as big as a fist that hide in the bedsheets there.

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