Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Just got back from an AWESOME ten days on the Black Sea Coast with about 30 incredible kids. It was such a great environment - pulling these kids away from the restrictions of school and home responsibilities, and letting them be care-free KIDS for ten days. In addition to enjoying sports, dancing every night (I actually learned one of the Kyuchek Horo's!), games on the beach, and time in the water, the kid's partook in team building activities and communication/cultural trainings together. In addition to the Bulgarian kids we brought with us, we "recruited" a few more who were staying at the hotel with their families. Watching all the kids work and play together was incredibly humbling.
On a more personal note, it was just the experience I needed to connect with these kids in the way I've been praying for. Other than keeping them safe (do you know how hard it is to teach a kid to swim who has ZERO body fat???), my only real responsibilities this past week were having fun with them and nurturing stronger relationships. Instead of having to maintain a classroom environment like I do back in Samokov, or keeping activities within the time window their home responsibilities allow, I got to love on them ALL day. I got chase them in the water, fumble along with them as I slaughtered a new dance, teach them how to throw an American football, try out new games, and just LAUGH and smile with them. All day. Every day.
At the beginning of the week, the kids each had their own groups and clicks. The one's I knew well (mostly my core group 7th grade boys) hung out with me quite a bit, but the other kids were a bit stand offish except with their peers that they already knew well. Only a few days in, however, all the kids were playing with each other, and I got countless daily hugs!
Not to mention, last night I got an "obi4am te/I love you" Skype message from one of my girls from camp - one I had never even met until this week.
This is one of the most emotionally draining jobs I'll probably ever have (who are we kidding? I have this affinity for the road less traveled...), but the victories with these kids are SO huge and so encouraging! I can't imagine having to say goodbye even a year from now.
SUCH A GREAT WEEK!!
at 3:06 AM