Sunday, August 22, 2010

Language Camp

Last week, a language camp at Fristads Folkhögskola was held for all the new exchange students from District 2360 and 2380.

Before I go any farther, I need to tell a few important things. 1) No one was from the exact same place. 2) There were 13 American's, 4 Canadians, 1 Brazilian, 1 from Chile, 1 from France, 1 Italian, 2 Japanese, 2 Taiwanese, therefore 25 people no younger than 15 and no older than 19 from all over the world. 3) While the main spoken language was English, for most, English is their second language and some were not very skilled in it. One could speak no English, but Spanish. But! There were about five people who could speak broken Spanish, so between the five of them, we could communicate with the one who couldn't speak English. 4) In the evenings there was little to no adult supervision.

With these four things in mind, and without any further ado, I present to you: Language Week.

On Sunday, I was home alone, packing and waiting for Per, my counselor, to pick me up so we could head off to Fristads. Fristads was about an hour and a half drive away from Göteborg. So, we made it there in about an hour. Did I mention that drivers here love to go fast? Well, they do. Really fast. Oh, all ye fast drivers in Canada, you would love it here.

So, Per and I arrive at camp. We went to the main building where I left Per to go find my room. At first, I was in the same room as Felix (Taiwan) and Sergio (Brazil). Think about it for a second. I switched out pretty fast. My new room was shared with two other girls. Bria from Texas and Kendra from Oregon. Both were wonderful people filled with stories from home and a ready ear.

All that week, we had classes during the day, fika, and more classes. Usually, we stopped classes by 3:00 pm. Susanne, the District Chair, and the woman running the camp, had events planned for us each evening. Sunday, there was nothing planned. We were left to our own devices. That night, I got to meet and know just about everyone there. Monday, we introduced ourselves, in Swedish, to the District Committee. Tuesday, we went golfing in Borås. Wednesday, we went into the charming town of Borås and after waiting out the rain in a mall, we went off to examine the statues. A member of the Rotary Club of Borås hosted us for the evening and fed about thirty people homemade Swedish meatballs. They were delicious!! Thursday evening, Erasmus students came over for a barbecue and talk. Erasmus is another exchange program for European university students. Friday afternoon, we all went home.

There was an awkward moment that was difficult to break on Sunday evening. But someone, I don't remember who, brought a soccer ball. So on Sunday evening, I played soccer with the most diverse group in my life. We had teams of four with the people from Brazil, France, USA, Canada, Japan, and Taiwan. That was the best way to break the ice that had been hanging over all of us. Every night after that, a group of people would find a field and play soccer. One night, we played with three people from Sweden. On Thursday, we played with some of the people from Erasmus. Now I can walk away and say that I have now played soccer with German people as well. Sports is probably the best way to meet people. XD

Every evening, we usually would have shenanigans of one form or another. David (Chicago) lit a fire on the school grounds one night. He lit another one at the beach another night. At the beach , talked about everything and nothing. We learned certain details about each other that I probably would have never guessed about them. XD Yet another night, someone, John I think, learned how to say, "Make me a sandwich" in about three different languages and started saying it whenever, as well, John and Dakota got almost everyone by the end of the week to say, "Oh, yeah," in a deep voice. John taught Gage (Minnesota) how to make a popping noise which then spread to the rest of the people so every time one turned around, one heard a popping sound. One night, someone played a video where it told us that one has to do the cooking by the book (Thank-you, who ever played it). Another time, a bunch of us had a pot of tea. I started washing the dishes after we finished, and Konatsu (Japan) came over and helped. Another day, we were taught self defense by someone, I don't remember his name, and we found out the Ryu (Japan) was really good at martial arts.Another night, we 'educated' Sarah (Canada) about the finer tastes of Coca-Cola. As it turned out, she had never tried Coca-Cola before. Someone bought a one liter bottle of the stuff and gave it to Sarah. Another night, one thing led to another, and suddenly John (South Carolina), Dakota (Texas), and David were acting as utter fools and we were all having the time of our lives. Did I mention that in the evenings we had no adult supervision? XD

By the end of the week, it was hard for me to say good-bye to everyone. I became close to most of the people there and good-byes and I have never gotten along very well. Tom (Australia) then suggested that on Saturday, August 28th, we should all go to Liseberg. Liseberg is an amusement park in Göteborg. So maybe, I will see them all again really soon.

It's sunny today. First time in a long while.

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