Although it may seem like I switch continents every other week, I’m actually in one place this summer: home, working as a summer camp counselor. It’s certainly different than last summer, where I spent my birthday in three different countries (thanks to a layover) and only spent a few weeks in the U.S. It’s also different for me because it’s the first time I’ve had a full-time job, and the first summer in which I’m earning money (as opposed to taking classes or doing something else unpaid). I wake up every day at 6:00, get to work at 7:45, and come home at 5:00 PM, exhausted and ready to nap for the rest of the day. But instead, I hang out with my brother, see my friends, write, work out, or begin yet another creative project. Then I try to be in bed by 10:00 and start the whole thing over again.
I love having a job that lets me come home totally spent, and still energized enough to come back the next day. I wake up in the morning excited to get to work. I get to be creative and loud. And in a manner of sorts, this is the first “real” summer I’ve had in a long time. I swim in the day, bike in the afternoon, and finally have time to see my friends. I’m getting tanner and stronger. I’m happy.I have friends who are off doing fancy internships in New York, volunteering in labs in California, or working at their parents’ law firms and interior design companies. You would think I might feel a little frumpy in comparison, but I’m too busy enjoying myself. The summer camp where I am working feels special; half the people I’m working with have been coming or working there for years, and I’m sure many of them have turned down the sorts of opportunities my college friends are doing to come back. And I think maybe that’s what I want to do, too, in future years.
I also feel like I’m doing something. Though summer camp may seem like something small and unimportant, the kids I see every day are having the time of their lives, and I am a small part of making that happen. I feel like I’m contributing to something.
I feel so lucky to have had the opportunities I’ve had in the past. But it’s also nice to take a few months to slow down, sleep, and be healthy. This is my first real American summer in a long time. I’m going to appreciate it for as long as I can.