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2003-08-23 - 8.28pm††previous entry††next entry

I'm back from camp!!!

Ohhhh my goodness, it was such a great time! I don't know where to start writing about it all, because I didn't keep much of a diary, and the diary I did keep is packed still. Neil has gone to pick up our luggage from Barbara, who drove it all down for us while we took the girls back to London on the train, so I can't write that up until he's home. But it's basically about the journey there on Monday, and I'll probably type it up sometime soon. I was going to write more but honestly I have hardly had time to catch my breath all week, and the only few minutes I got on my own I just had to lay down and rest! So my diary didn't happen after that first entry, but I'll write it up when I get it anyway.

I had a great week. I am so so so so so so so knackered, but in a good way, if that makes sense?! I neeeeed sleep. I am not feeling fabulous as my IBS has been mean to me these last few days (and nights), but I feel so WONDERFUL in myself!!!!! I survived camp, and I was a dormie leader for seven 11-year-olds (well, one of them is ten, and there were eight, but one moved up to the older dormie after the first night). I mean, I actually did it! And I think I did not suck at it either. It seems to matter to me so much what the kids think of me, that they like me, etc. Is this a throw-back to school and wanting to fit in and be popular? Hmmm. Anyway, it seemed to matter a lot. But they did like me, and I was able to discipline them just fine. They were not completely easy to handle (!!) so I am proud of myself for that. I did it by myself, as no-one else was responsible for my dorm but me.

God has stretched me and challenged me so much, mostly in "little" ways. But they are still pretty big to me. Sandy (lovely Sandy, will write more about her in a bit) had the other dorm - the 12 and 13-year-olds, and on the second night, one of them threw up in the night. The old me would have panicked soooooo much about that, and worried that it was a bug that I would catch. Well, I did a bit, but I found that it was impossible to protect myself and I couldn't control the situation if I tried, so I just gave up. Wow, it is so worth getting to that point!! The relief when I no longer had to worry about it, when it wasn't pressing on me and worrying me all the time. I felt like if I got a bug then I would get a bug, and that's all there was to it. But I didn't feel worried that I would. The only thing I still hung on to was that I was so glad it was Sandy who had to deal with a vomiting child and not me! But last night Debs, a girl in my dormie, was also sick in the night. I had been asleep about an hour when there was this little knocking at my door, and when she pushed the door open, this little voice whispered, "I've just been sick in the loo". I did feel pretty gripped with panic, but it seems that when you find yourself in the situations that you were scared about, when you are the responsible one and there's someone else to think about, you haven't got any time for panic, it's too self-focused and there's no room for that while there's a sick child to deal with. So I got up and wore a competent front over my quaking interior, and marched her to the loo where she showed me the aforementioned evidence, and I just said, "Flush the loo, love" and chatted to her quietly while she brushed her teeth. It was almost like I wasn't really me, I couldn't really believe I was doing those things and saying those things and dealing with that kind of stuff without freaking out. Fortunately she wasn't distressed at all, and was feeling fine by the time she got to me. I was really thanking God that she hadn't needed me to be with her when she was throwing up. I don't know if I could have handled that. But phew, God takes us on in little steps, ones that we can handle. Thank you Lord.

I did feel reeeeally sick myself after she went back to bed. I thought I would throw up after a while but I never did. I just paced and held my tummy for about an hour (!!) and then it eased off enough for me to get into bed again. When my IBS is bad I often have nights like that, so I'm sure it was that, but it didn't help that I'd just been up with a kid who had been sick. But I still think I panicked less in general than normal, so that's good. Debs was fine this morning and on the train on the way home, so I don't know what it was.

Oh Neil has just got home with the luggage so I think I will stop for now and write a bit more later on. I'll probably post it after that, instead of now.

Okay I'm back - I've unpacked and put the first load of laundry on! I found a bit of diary that I wrote at camp so I'll type it up here:

Tuesday 19th August 2003 - 11.37am

Oh how I need sleep! Although this is probably nothing compared with later in the week!

We made it here - phew! Meeting at Liverpool Street Station in London was kind of stressy because we had to pick up some tickets that I'd paid for over the phone, and Neil couldn't find a place to park the car at our local station, so I ended up jumping on the train with the three girls just as the doors were closing, tossing Neil his ticket and watching him gesture from the station that he would meet us there. Problem was, he had the bag and the tickets for all the kids and us, from Liverpool Street, and my wallet too, so I couldn't do anything but just get myself and the girls to Liverpool St. and wait. We didn't even have the placard to hold up because that was in the bag too!

But parents and campers found us anyway, and we had nine out of ten girls by the time Neil turned up (very late!). He had had to drive home and walk (30 mins) back to the station because there was just nowhere to park at ALL. Anyway, then the queues to pick up the tickets were so long and the time for our train to leave was getting nearer and nearer, and I stood in the unmoving queues wanting to cry with frustration and the pressure of the responsibility of ten children and their luggage, complete with worried parents, sitting in a large huddle under the departure board.

In the end I had been queueing at the wrong place (aaaaaargh!!) so I had to sprint to a different ticket office, and in the end, Neil and I were legging it down the platform towards the kids (who we'd sent on to stand by the train with Judith's mum - thank goodness she was there!), waving the tickets, and we got on the train just seconds before it pulled out, and sorted their seats out afterwards. Phew! I do not want to repeat that experience!!

The rest of the journey went smoothly, even our 5 minute changeover at Norwich (more sprinting down platforms for me!), and we even felt able to sit back on the trains and marvel that we were solely responsible for ten girls, aged 10-13. They all sat and chattered and giggled and read magazines and played games and ate packed lunches, and were all perfectly happy. It was a lovely feeling, being responsible for them. Neil agreed that he liked it, but he said just looking at how many seats they took up made him kind of scared of having lots of children! We took up a lot of space in the carriages we were seated in. There was just this great sea of children, well, it looked that way to us anyway! But all these children, happy and secure in our care. Our children, for that week. It felt good.

Oh I have more to write, but this is going to have to be a stop-start diary anyway, as I will never have a long break while we are here. The girls are decorating flip-flops right now, because the tide is right in at the beach (a few minutes walk from the BIG house we're staying in), so Neil and I are going out to set up the treasure hunt for tomorrow in a minute. Hopefully I'll write more later though.

*****

And that is all I wrote for the whole week!! Oh well. I will try to catch up as well as I can. I just hope I can remember everything I wanted to write. I'm gonna just post this for now and then write some more about my week at camp later on or tomorrow or something. Tomorrow morning we are doing the kids' work at church again, which seems a bit mad after a super-active week at camp, but it's so much fun and we are really happy to. I just need a good night's sleep tonight and I should be fine! :) But I'll write more soon, maybe even in a couple of hours if I haven't gone to bed by then! Hope everyone's doing okay! I have a load of emails and diaries to catch up on, but I will have to get to that tomorrow or another time, because there seems to be lots to do still before I can relax and think, "Ahhhh, camp is over!" But I had such a seriously great time. Yay!

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