Back home!

Today it marks exactly 2 months since we arrived in Florida. So much has already happened that even though it feels we have been back for a while, we still talk about the trip every-single-day. It is either an event, a type of food, a place, someone we met, anything that reminds us constantly about the trip. We certainly hope that these feelings and memories will stay with us for much longer!

We have been settling well at home. After a few weeks of staying with friends, we moved back to the Monkey House on July 1st. One week after we arrived from Rio, kids left for Camp Dudley and Camp Kiniya, which was really their return to a “normal” life, while also gave us time to put the house back together and start looking for jobs. Chris hit the ground running and within just a few weeks had already a couple of job offers at local schools. I started consulting for one of Palo Alto’s distributors while looking for more permanent opportunities. Thankfully, we came back in a good time and there are plenty of *great* opportunities out there.

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Our 10-month luggage

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Monkey House

Chris and I took a road trip to pick up the kids at camp. It was very special, I had not been to camp in 4 years and missed the farewell celebrations before. We drove North with our friends, Matt and Jamie Ferrelli, and stopped to visit Baltimore, Brooklyn Heights and Burlington (VT) on the way there. It was wonderful to see the kids’ happy faces as we arrived at camp. Louisa even mentioned that she missed our trip more than she missed home. Chris then flew to San Francisco and I made the drive back with the kids. Fortunately, we got to visit with several good friends in the East Coast: the Baileys in Greenwich, CT; my Kellogg friend Carini, in Wake Forest, NC; and the Dickinsons, in Charleston, SC. It was a great bonding opportunity with the kids, they both excelled at being co-pilots and we enjoyed listening to good music and comedy shows at the car.

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Baltimore with DWIII

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School is about to start and we made the decision that both kids will continue the Florida Virtual School for one more year. They were very excited and happy when we told them, both want to get involved in more sports and other extra-curricular activities. We have enjoyed seeing all of our friends too.  Also starting to work on a list of projects around the house, which is a lot of fun!

As we look back and realize how easy it has been to slide back into life and jobs, Chris and I are thankful for following our guts and making the decision to take the year off. We would not have done anything differently and only wish that everyone can have the courage to follow your dreams. It is easier than you think!

What’s next?  Well, we look forward to starting working full-time soon, welcoming a new puppy, touring high schools for Sebastian, attending our friend Ricardo’s wedding in Portugal, and having both sets of grandparents visit this Fall and Christmas. And of course, we can’t wait to plan the next family trip!

 

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This past month, I went to Camp Dudley at Kiniya for my fourth year. Camp Dudley is simply the boys camp on the NY side of Lake Champlain, and Camp Kiniya is the girls camp on the VT side of Lake Champlain. During these four week periods, we learn so much, especially from our motto, “The Other Fellow First”. We are taught to ‘not count the days, to make the days count’ and to cherish every moment, because these magical twenty-six days only happen once every year.

As I already said, this year was my fourth year back at Camp Kiniya which means at the end of the session, I would receive my kiwi disc. A kiwi disc is a small round charm and it is engraved with Kiniya. On the back side it says ‘Kiwi’, the year you became a kiwi ‘2015’, and your camp number ‘#22737’.

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Kiwi Discs

This year I was in the senior division in cabin Schmidt, named after Willie Schmidt who was one of the Camp Dudley directors. I met an exorbitant amount of new friends and reunited with so many of my past camp friends. My best friend from camp, Rose, who lives in Minnesota, for fourth year in a row, we were in the same cabin! My majors this year were climbing and studio art which I learned so much in! Now I am obsessed with climbing.

The Kiniya cheer goes a little something like this…

05446! Morning dips, HEY! Kiwi Discs! Saaaaaay, Kinyia! Rise and shine, MEET out in the pines! Cross many miles see the smiles! Girls, to waterskii, riding WHOO! White and blue forever true! Dudley, at Kiniya! TAPSSS…

A Kiniya Day

We wake up to a nice and chilly Vermont morning, get dressed, and head over to the dining hall. After a delicious breakfast, we race back to our cabin to do our inspection jobs. Inspection jobs can vary from being a waitress at meals, sweeping, positivity patrol, neat police, trash, and bathroom patrol. Once the cabin is ready for inspection, we divide into our majors – either our individual majors or arts majors. After a fun hour of majors, we have team competition which is basically playing other teams at different sports. Soon after, we head back to the dining hall for lunch and then rest hour. Rest hour is simply an hour in our cabins of resting. This is the time to write letters, make friendship bracelets, read a book, and even take a nap! After a nice rest hour, we have team activity which is our team, going to different places together such as the waterfront or arts and crafts. Then comes our final meal of the day. The day of the week determines what we will be doing for evening activity after dinner. This includes all-camp games,  Wednesday and Saturday Night Shows, Hymn Sing, and Council Ring. After the fun and games, we come back to our cabins ‘and reflect on the day together during evening Vespers.’

Facts:

  • Founded in 1919 by Helen Van Buren
  • Campers per session- 155
  • Number of cabins- 16
  • Minimum to maximum age as a camper- 9 1/2 until 15 years old.
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Vermont Sunset

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My cabin- Schmidt

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The Dudley Life

Senior Cabin: Hamilton

Senior Cabin: Hamilton

In case you don’t know the Dudley cheer imagine this being hollered by 400+ people on the opening day of the oldest (since 1885) all boys camp in America:

D-U-D-L-E-Y / Whitewashed cookies, chicken pie / Pink music, pickeral fry / Westport, Westport my oh my / All ye campers stand in line / take your hats off just like mine / (really fast) Bevo, bivo, boom get a rat trap bigger than a cat trap, bevo, bivo, BOOM!

 

This was my 4th summer at Dudley and sadly, my last as a camper. Like many before and after me, I am lucky enough to have gone every year starting as a Cub, then a Plebe, Junior, and this summer as a Senior. I’ve had cool leaders every summer and it feels like each summer only gets better than the one before.

My team at Dudley - Wensley

My team at Dudley – Wensley

There is usually one team sport or game in the morning and the afternoon. Sometimes after the sport you played with your team you do a major. You choose 3 types of majors: arts, team, and individual. If today you only have one major you have choice time after team sports. lets give an example of a typical Dudley day. You and a new friend walk into the cafeteria and sit at your cabin table, you ask the person sitting next to you if you could see the schedule. you see on the schedule the latest news, your first activity, and your second activity. Your first activity is soccer against your rival team. Then you look down the paper and see choice time written on it. You look at the very bottom of the first page and see that every activity is open besides tennis and archery. after your sport you and your friend go to swim point to jump in the lake. After 50 minutes of having fun, you here the lunch horn and head back up to the dining hall. After lunch, you repeat the process again, except that you have a 45 minute rest period. Here is a link for more: Dudley Day

Now I am in the process of applying for the leadership ranks. It starts as an Aide which is fun because the Aide works in a cabin but also gets to play sports and do activities with the Seniors – a big WIN in my opinion! After Aide comes Junior Leader (JL), Assistant Leader (AL), and then Leader. My goal is to continue to rise through the leadership program over the next few years so that I can continue to have these awesome summer blasts at Dudley.

Dudley Hymn Sing

Dudley Hymn Sing

Every Sunday night, the entire camp sits on the floor, back-to-back, and sings songs both loud and soft that include the cheer, the Dudley Hymn, and others that you would know like Amazing Grace or Study War No More. It’s a great time to be together and reflect on the special times we enjoy at camp. You can use this link to see a video: Dudley Hymn Sing

Dudley is the center of my life. I feel that whenever I am doing something that is remotely similar or close to Dudley it makes me happy. I practice the Dudley motto, the other fellow first, at home and every day when I get the chance to express it. My whole summer revolves around Dudley and I cant imagine a life without it.

Reuniting with my sister, Louisa, and her friend, Rose - both Kiniya girls!

Reuniting with my sister, Louisa, and her friend, Rose – both Kiniya girls!