Vaya Campamento, Parte Dos

When in Coruña, I met two other Forenex vets, Lais and Bryan. Both had met the summer before at the grandaddy of all FNX camps: Uclés, a real summer camp. The kind with friendship bracelets and roughing it. Not like Coruña camps, with their sailing classes and shopping trips. I decided I wanted to give Uclés a try in order to pay homage to my camp days as a kid.

I got that experience and much more.

Some may think me crazy for moving into a supposedly haunted monastery for two weeks, one where a priest hung himself in the third floor bedroom, one which served as a torture facttory for Republicanos during the Spanish Civil War. I didn’t even teach – I was made the Jefa de Estudios, the Director of Studies, in charge of the well-being of 173 students from elementary school up to university and 15 very tired teachers.
What transpired was ten hectic academic days where I was also to check in on classes, coordinate with the kitchen staff and camp director, coordinate competitions and a talent show and plan social events. It’s kind of amazing how these things whip you into shape. I don’t think I have ever been more organized or diligent in my life, and it showed when my teachers could sincerely thank me for following up with them.
Going along with that, working with people in such close quarters will really make you branch out. Even being the boss, I met and forged friendships with a lot of people and was amazed at how fast we could come together as a team, teachers and monitors alike. Yes, I had a ton to do, but my teachers really needed little supervision and could fend for themselves.

Among the craziest things that happened was trying to find a lost student in an enormous monastery (he snuck back to bed), punishing bullies and snotty teenagers, invading the only bar in the entire town and a gigantic botellón known as the fiesta municipal. Then there was making a few kids cry just by being the boss, a teacher missing the train back from Madrid and me scrambling to figure out how to cover her classes, asthma attacks, bedbugs and the occasional creepy occurrence and bat infestation.

This summer has certainly been a bit crazy, but nothing like my two weeks in Uclés!

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About Cat Gaa

As a beef-loving Chicago girl living amongst pigs, bullfighters, and a whole lotta canis, Cat Gaa writes about expat life in Seville, Spain. When not cavorting with adorable Spanish grandpas or struggling with Spanish prepositions, she works in higher education at an American university in Madrid and freelances with other publications, like Rough Guides and The Spain Scoop.

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