Nine Weeks of Summer Camp in Long Island, NY

Camp is officially over- and I am officially sad. I had such a great summer here in Long Island, I met great women and made many friends. Last year in December when I was in Australia, I made the decision to apply for Camp America and turned down an internship in Berlin for it. At that time, I wasn’t really sure if that was the right decision and I feared I could regret it. Looking back now, it was the best thing to do to end my gap year.

My camp is a camp for underprivileged children from Long Island and the board works the whole year to set up the camp. They do a lot of fund raising, they run a thrift shop and more in order to give children in need the opportunity to spend two weeks in a free summer camp.

Camp America has many different camps in their program and some private camps are really „exclusive“ and only quite wealthy people can afford a placement at a summer camp for their kids in those camps. Since the gap between rich and poor is growing in Long Island and everywhere else, I really appreciated the work in my camp because I feel like I’ve done something good.

Working with children can be exhausting, but very rewarding at the same time. I loved all the kids I had in my cabins and even though there are always some issues with some campers, you still learn to worship the work with kids and you learn from every problem you’ve dealt with. I had so much fun this summer and now I am laying in my bed, realising that this will be the last night I’m sleeping in a wood cabin with nets instead of windows and bunk beds. I can’t believe it and I don’t want to leave….

However, we had lots of fun in Long Island, it is such a great place with so much to do. I will definitely write a post about the area where I stayed. If you ever come to NYC, take a LIRR Train from Penn Station to Long Island- it’s definitely worth it!

The last picture in this post shows the little beach near our camp, where I occasionally went for a run in the morning- it was so beautiful!! The beach pictures were taken on a beach festival at Long Beach where we went on our first off weekend. It was such a great experience because we sat in the sand at the beach right next to the ocean, listening to live music and eating food truck-food. There was also a firework above the water at night and it was literally the best firework I’ve ever seen! We loved it ♥️

I had a great time, but life must go on. I will fly to California tomorrow and I am super excited. We’ll see…♥️

Thanks for reading!

xx, Sophie

Quick Update: Camp and New York City

Hello everybody,

I hope you are enjoying your summer at the moment and that the weather is good. In Long Island the weather great, even though it gets quite humid here and we sometimes have a 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius) which is a lot when you are running around the whole day and do activities with the kids.

My third week in the United States has just begun (this blogpost will probably be published a bit later) and it is great so far. We had orientation for one week and the campers arrived the second week. We are a small camp in comparison to other camps in the United States, some of them have up to 7000 campers each summer. During orientation we prepared everything for the campers, for example we planned activities, games and different sessions, but we also had First Aid and CPR lessons. Additionally, we talked a lot about child behaviour and how to cope with difficulty situations, trust me – there will be difficult situations. It might depend in what kind of camp you are, just be prepared.

However, I can already tell that working with kids is an amazingly rewarding experience. One moment you think you are too strict and then suddenly they hug you, or draw you something and tell you that you are their favourite councellor. At the moment I feel like I am in a bubble because I don’t really feel like I am on earth right now. I am somewhere else, a save place that only exists to create great summer memories. It is amazing.

Yes, I am also exhausted sometimes. Coping with difficulties is sometimes really hard and sometimes I worry that I am not good enough for this job. But this is fortunately not often the case and when it happens I try to turn my thoughts on standby and focus on the kids, I am responsible and I want them to have a great time. Camp is about the campers, they are the most important piece in this great puzzle and it’s amazing to see how they change during that time. Kids who are bullied in school suddenly smile and laugh a lot. Introverted children suddenly become the loudest. It is a great community and I get up every morning with a smile on my face and am excited for the new day.

However, we also have off weekends when one sessions ends and the other is about to begin. On those weekends people go visit other places, which we did on our first day off. We took a train to Penn Station in the middle of Manhattan and spend our day in NYC. I know it sounds so stupid but it felt like coming home. There is no city like New York City. People from all around the world walk on these streets, it is always busy and overwhelming. This day we ran around a lot and visited some tourist attractions and even went to a thrift store in Soho. It was great! We don’t really have nice thrift stores in my town but the ones I visited in Amsterdam, London and NYC were amazing! Our day off was nice 😊

However, something happened: my camera broke. After six years of picture taking, something in the body is not working, and nobody can tell me what it is. I will have to wait till I’m home and figure something out for my time in the states. It’s sad but it can happen. We will see…

Nevertheless, I hope you enjoy my NYC iPhone pictures 😊

Have a good week!

Sophie

Field Trip – Ogunquit, ME

Welcome back to the United States of America! I already talked about New York City a couple of weeks ago. In 2015, I spent two weeks in Massachusetts and in New York.
I stayed with a host family near Boston for ten days and went to High School with my host sister. It was very interesting to go to class with her, since the school system is partly completely different in comparison to the German school system.
However, we were a group of German students and beside going to school with our host brothers and sisters, we also visited certain museums in Boston and also explored the city.
Additionally, we went on a field trip to Maine which is upstate Massachusetts.
Today, I will be showing you some pictures of Ogunquit, a small town which is part of the Portland metropolitan area. In the indigenous Abenaki language, „Ogunquit“ means „Beautiful place by the sea“ – Nomen est omen
The weather was bad, it was april.

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The bus driver opens the doors of the great yellow school bus and a fresh breeze is blowing outside. I tighten my scarf and look around. It is foggy and cold.
What I see is stunning.

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The little town reminds my of Twin Peaks, a television programme from the nineties where a young woman was murdered and found by the river „wrapped in plastic“.
Even though Twin Peaks was filmed near Seattle in Washington, the moody and gloomy atmosphere is the same.

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Mist is lying on the water, it’s so foggy that I can barely imagine that Ogunquit is located directly by the Atlantic Ocean. Yellow and grey houses perfectly match the grey troubled water and the yellow-orange grass.

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I take a deep breath, the air tastes salty and my cold fingers can’t stop taking photographs of the sea, the houses and the empty streets. I’m freezing, my body wants to go back to the bus but my soul yearns for more. More fresh air, more deep breaths. 

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My feet are cold but I won’t stop walking down the abandoned streets.
I wonder how this beautiful place may look in summer, when people are coming out of their houses, embracing the beauty of their town and the shore.

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I fell in love with this town.

 

Have a nice week,
Sophie

New York City #3 – „If I can make it there I’m gonna make it anywhere“

Start spreading the news
I am leaving today
I want to be a part of it
New York, New York

These vagabond shoes
Are longing to stray
Right through the very heart of it
New York, New York

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I wanna wake up, in a city
That doesn’t sleep
And find I’m king of the hill
Top of the heap

This little town blues
Are melting away
I’ll make a brand new start of it
In old New York

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If I can make it there
I’ll make it anywhere
It’s up to you
New York, New York

New York, New York
I want to wake up in that city
That never sleeps
And find I’m hey number one
Top of the list
King of the hill
Hey number one

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These are little town blues
They have all melted away
I’m gonna make a brand new start of it
In old New York
And I
If I can make it there
I’m gonna make it anywhere
It’s up to you
New York, New York, New York

-New York, New York by Frank Sinatra

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This song by Frank Sinatra is one of my favourites!
„If I can make it there I’m gonna make it anywhere“
I wish I could live in NYC one day, walking down the streets of Manhattan everyday, having dinner in SOHO, meeting my friends for lunch and doing window shopping on fifth avenue.

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Statue of Liberty, smaller than expected…

These pictures were taken on the Staten Island Ferry. I can highly recommend taking this Ferry, since you don’t have to pay for it and the view is stunning!

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This post is not about the writing, more about the impressions.
I hope you enjoyed it anyhow!

Xx, Sophie

 

 

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New York City #2 – „The lights are so bright but they never blind me“

Walkin‘ through a crowd, the village is a glow
Kaleidoscope of a loud, hide beats under coats
Everybody here wanted somethin‘ more
Searchin‘ for a sound we hadn’t heard before
And it said

Welcome to New York
It’s been waitin‘ for you
Welcome to New York, welcome to New York
Welcome to New York
It’s been waitin‘ for you
Welcome to New York, welcome to New York

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It’s a new soundtrack I could dance to this beat, beat forevermore
The lights are so bright but they never blind me, me
Welcome to New York
It’s been waitin‘ for you
Welcome to New York, welcome to New York

When we first dropped our bags on apartment floors
Took our broken hearts and put them in a drawer
Everybody here was someone else before
And you can want who you want
Boys and boys and girls and girls

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Welcome to New York
It’s been waitin‘ for you
Welcome to New York, welcome to New York
Welcome to New York
It’s been waitin‘ for you
Welcome to New York, welcome to New York

It’s a new soundtrack I could dance to this beat, beat forevermore
The lights are so bright but they never blind me, me
Welcome to New York (New York!)
It’s been waitin‘ for you
Welcome to New York, welcome to New York

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Like any great love, it keeps you guessing
Like any real love, it’s ever-changing
Like any true love, it drives you crazy
But you know you wouldn’t change anything, anything, anything

Welcome to New York
It’s been waitin‘ for you
Welcome to New York, welcome to New York
Welcome to New York
It’s been waitin‘ for you
Welcome to New York, welcome to New York

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It’s a new soundtrack I could dance to this beat
The lights are so bright but they never blind me
Welcome to New York
New soundtrack
It’s been waitin‘ for you
Welcome to New York
The lights are so bright but they never blind me
Welcome to New York
So bright, they never blind me
Welcome to New York
Welcome to New York

– Welcome to New York, Taylor Swift

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„The lights are so bright they never blind me“! I really love this song by Taylor Swift!
I am so sorry, but it took me three days to upload these pictures. I do not know what is going on with our wifi at the moment, I hope my Dad can fix it soon.

Today, I will be sharing with you another New York City photograph collection from 2015. (Click here if you want to read my first NYC post)
Additionally, I thought I could share with you my personal NYC Bucket list/ to-do list, while showing you my favourite photographs.

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Explore Manhattan by foot

We loved to walk through the streets instead of taking the subway. We discovered so many pretty and interesting streets, partly far away from the famous tourist spots.
In addition, you will probably be able to take some special street photographs.

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 Looking for Serena van der Woodsen and Blair Waldorf

Something I really wanted to do when I was in NYC was visiting Upper East Side.
I loved watching Gossip Girl and I thought having a look at the great buildings and houses of Manhattan’s elite would be quite nice. Sadly, there was not enough time left and I was not able to explore this part of Manhattan.

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Visit Wall Street

Visiting Wall Street and seeing the New York Stock Exchange and the Charging-Bull in Bowling-Green-Park was very special for me. Mainly because I am extremely interested in politics and economics. Although I do not want to support capitalism (which is very difficult), it was exciting to walk down the streets, imagining how all the Brokers are negotiating and selling inside the buildings.
Unfortunately, my photographs from the Financial District are not that special and they did not make it into the post.

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Biking in Central Park

Going on a run in Central Park may be quite nice, but it is not as great as renting a bike and exploring the green lungs of NYC, almost feeling like a local…(almost!!!).
I can highly recommend doing this, since you will need a break after having explored Manhattan by foot. 😉

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World Trade Center Site, also known as Ground Zero

After the September 11 attacks, the World Trade Center Site was rebuild and they created a huge memorial where the Twin Towers were located before the attack.
It is very impressive to see the waterfalls running down the black marble and to read all the names of the victims. I think we should all take a deep breath and pay our respect to these people.

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I hope you enjoyed reading my second NYC post.
Stay tuned,

Sophie

 

 

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New York City #1 – The City That Never Sleeps

Grew up in a town
That is famous as a place
Of movie scenes

Noise is always loud
There are sirens all around
And the streets are mean

If I can make it here
I can make it anywhere
That’s what they say

Seeing my face in lights
Or my name on marquees
Found down on Broadway

Even if it ain’t all it seems
I got a pocketful of dreams
Baby, I’m from

New York
Concrete jungle where dreams are made of
There’s nothing you can’t do
Now you’re in New York

These streets will make you feel brand new
Big lights will inspire you
Hear it for New York
New York, New York- Empire State Of Mind, Alicia Keys

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Standing in front of this skyline was breathtaking

In the song „Empire State Of Mind“, Alicia Keys describes New York City perfectly.
I fell in love with New York. I fell in love with the buildings, the people, the movement, the spirit.

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This is one of my favourite Times Square pictures!

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In 2015 I travelled to Boston and stayed with a lovely host family for ten days.
After our stay in Massachusetts, we took a plane to New York City and discovered this amazing place for four days.

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Have you noticed Heidi Klum on the add space in the background?
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Wow, what a photo bomb. Thanks dude! 😀

During the landing, I listened to the song by Alicia Keys, overwhelmed by the feeling, that I would soon visit on of the most amazing and vivid cities in the world.
After having left the airplane, the adventure began.

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It took us almost two hours to get to our hostel in Union City because we were stuck in a huge traffic jam. The „Explore Hotel and Hostel“ was quite nice, although I think it depends on the room you are staying in. We (5 girls) shared a suite with a little bathroom. As far as I can remember, it was not that expensive and I took us 20 minutes to get from the hostel to the Times Square. (Going by bus was very cheap)

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Times Square

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The Times Square is just amazing. So many people from all over the world taking pictures of the gigantic advertising space. Famous stores like the Disney Store, American Apparel and Forever 21 are located around the square. You can also walk down Broadway and negotiate with the tourist guides and maybe you will get a „cheap“ ticket and enjoy a special musical on Broadway. We watched „Les Misérables“ and it was marvellous!

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This street performer must have had sore legs after standing on these „stilts“ (??) for a whole day.
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This Minnie Mouse wanted me to pay her 4$ to take a picture with her…

But the number one lesson to remember is: Scarcely anything is without charge at Times Square! There are so many tourist guides who want to grab your attention and sell expensive tickets to you. When your not travelling in a group of people like we did (We were 15 students plus two teachers), then you should probably buy your tickets online before going on your trip.
You will also see many people in costumes who want to take pictures with you in exchange for a dollar or two. But I guess you already know that.
We even saw the Naked Cowboy, casually playing his guitar in the middle of the streets.
I guess he is pretty famous, since I’ve already seen him on TV in Germany.

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The Naked Cowboy, eye candy :D?

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I still miss the hum of cars and horns, the colourful lights from the huge stores, the shouting of police officers and tourist guides. Music and vivid conversations everywhere, traffic and yellow cabs.

Noise is always loud
There are sirens all around

But it is such a wonderful place!
I hope you enjoyed the first post of my New York series!

Stay tuned and have a great week!

Sophie

 

 

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