that just make me smile.
when it’s constantly pouring rain.
that it leaked under my door and is seeping through a towel.
Every year during third session we have a big fancy dress night called Mintons. Everyone gets dressed to the nines, gets a date and walks down the red carpet to the dining hall, which is turned into a swanky night club. It’s so much fun because everyone gets to be fancy and pretty, which is a far cry from our everyday garb that consists of shabby jeans and showering on an infrequent basis.The best part was that I got to sew again, as I made my roommate’s and my dresses for the event. Overall the night was good fun and a nice change from the norms of camp!
[I love Paulina and Kyla creeping in the back of this photo]
Nina and me in the dresses I made!
height difference much?
Evie learning to swim in the big end of the lake!
Nanny Hannah, Zoe, Me, Helen, May, Evie and my Momma out for ice cream!
Momma teaching Evie to “spin round TOOO fast!” (as Evie would say)
(what else did you expect?)
Every year May dresses Evie up like a fairy, puts a unicorn horn on one of the camp horses’ head and takes photos of her riding on a unicorn. I had the pleasure of photographing her this year, and it was a riot. At first she was quite dubious of being atop a moving animal but she soon adjusted, and by the end of the shoot she was refusing to get off the horse! I can’t say I blame her for wanting to stay a fairy princess forever!
Camp is an exhausting place to live, what with the constant ebb and flow of daily life, screaming children and endless activities. Days Off, for counselors, are what keep us going and let us take a day to unwind and relax. Unfortunately Jim’s and my day off is on a Monday, which is usually an eventful day around camp. three weeks ago we weren’t allowed to take our day off because all of the new kids arrived and we had to stay around to greet them. As a result we had to sustain ourselves for two solid weeks before we were finally allowed to have our days off.
Luckily for us the camp directors were kind enough to give us two days off in a row, allowing for a full-fledged weekend, an occurrence that is rarely (if ever) experienced on camp. We decided to take full advantage of it by taking a six-hour road trip into Canada to stay in Toronto, where Peter Video (a fellow camp worker) has an apartment. He was kind enough to let us stay there for the weekend, which saved us lots of cash and made plans super simple.
On Saturday evening we packed up the car, got some dinner, got lots of snacks from the kitchen and hit the road northwest. For the next six hours we drove, making our way across the border and deeper into Canada. Simply being off camp, even though we were stuck in a tiny car, was relaxing, just getting to talk endlessly or nap while the other drove. Even just being able to hold hands with Jim, which we can’t do on camp in front of the kids (for obvious reasons), was a welcome change.
Deep into the night we stopped at a casino in the middle of nowhere, as we needed to exchange our money into Canadian dollars. It was a riot to have such a strange diversion in the middle of nowhere, glittering lights and loud noises from all of the machines. As soon as we walked in the door we felt like we were instantly on vacation, even though we didn’t gamble a cent.
Finally, after much confusion with the GPS and a few U-turns later, we arrived at Peter’s apartment at three in the morning. We happily climbed the stairs to his apartment and quickly fell asleep. Then next morning we woke up after noon, which was an amazing and welcome respite from the normal 7:30am camp wake up. Peter’s place is an amazing second story apartment right on one of the main roads in Toronto. It has a great balcony full of deck chairs and umbrellas that looks out over the street—perfect for people watching. The rest of the place is a vintage hodge podge of furniture and art, just my type of place. It has a fireplace in the living room and a coat of armor that sits in the hallway. Peter shares the place with two other roommates who were kind enough to let us stay there.
We spent most of the afternoon wandering around Peter’s apartment and taking in all of its fun quirkyness. By four, however, we decided to actually be productive and go see the city. We ended up going on a long walk down the eclectic streets of Toronto, making our way to Kensington Market, possibly the most incredible place I’ve ever been. It’s the quirky, boho area of TO where there are lots of open air fruit stands, handmade jewelry and varieties of vintage shops and art stores. We were lucky enough to go on pedestrian Sunday, an event that happens only once a month, where the town shuts down all of the streets around the area and vendors and pedestrians are allowed to take over the streets.
Everywhere we turned there were colorful stalls full of handmade goodies, local bands playing on the street corners and in restaurants, kiosks full of roasting meats and delicious foods and yards sales down the side streets. As we wandered the streets of endless sights Jim and I instantly fell in love with the whole place. I honestly wouldn’t mind living there, at least for a little while. It has a similar hippy-artsy-funky vibe to my own, and I loved every second of the city.
After wandering the streets for a few hours, stopping in varying stalls and stores, Jim testing out and teaching poi, trying on hats and sunglasses and chatting with the locals, we decided to get some dinner. We grabbed a spot at an outdoor Indian restaurant and ate delicious food. Near the end of dinner there was a loud banging and we suddenly realized that there was a massive drum circle that had formed in the middle of the road in the street next to where we were sitting.
People started to gather in hoards, forming a massive outer ring of wild dancing and swaying. We sat back and watched while the crowd went wild. The drum circle went on for a few hours, and soon enough a fire performance team joined in at the end of the block, performing a bunch of tricks. Jim and I made sure to stay around and see them, though we ended up not being very impressed.
Once dark settled and all of the commotion and performance started to die down Jim and I went on a walk through China Town and down to the business district where the CN Tower loomed over us. Jim had wanted to go see this massive tower, especially since it’s the third tallest one in the world. We walked to the base, bought tickets and took the clear elevator all the way to the top. The view at the top was spectacular, as the city lights sparkled for miles in every direction. We went out on the very, very windy outer deck and walked the entire perimeter, just taking in the views.
By the time we finished it was nearly midnight, so we caught the subway back to Peter’s and immediately fell asleep. The next day we packed our things and left Toronto by midday, driving towards Niagara. An hour and a half later we stumbled into a giant group of neon-encrusted tourist traps, rounded the bend and suddenly saw the falls, encrusted with mist, dead ahead. We searched for the cheapest parking spot (a challenge, indeed) and then walked right up to the base of the waterfalls.
It was spectacular to see the falls, a natural wonder that you always hear about, but rarely go to see. It was amazing because we were able to walk right up to the edge of the falls where all of the water rushes over. You could quite easily lean over and stick your finger in the roaring water. The longer we stood there the more soaked we got, as the mist from the falling water covers you in a thick spray.
After we saw the falls we meandered into the middle of the tourist city, covered in random attractions and endless tourist shops full of Niagara Falls memorabilia. As tacky as it is, I love places like that… there’s something fun about walking into an environment that is essentially its own fantasy land, completely removed from any reality.
We ended up walking the streets for a few hours, just taking in the ridiculousness. Eventually it was time to go, so after a quick stop in the dollar store we hit the road back to camp. It took six hours to drive home, and as we drove we chatted away until the sun set and we approached our home of Long Lake.
By far, best day off ever.
half an hour down the road… we were in need of a day off
the start of Kensington Market
the “small” fall
aaaand the BIG one!
the edge of the falls!
it’s a bit wet at the edge of the falls…
the tourist town of Niagara: