34. Remember to remember.

“Nothing is ever really lost to us as long as we remember it.” ― L.M. Montgomery


I believe the time is now ripe to embark on this journey down memory lane and to remember the beautiful people I’ve had the honour of crossing life paths with.

It’s been nearly a month since we’ve all bade our goodbyes. The end of a camp is always a bittersweet experience for it marks the end of the little bubble that we’ve been living in for the 10-12 days (sometimes even longer). It signifies a return, even a new beginning perhaps, for everyone involved as we go back on our own separate journeys. It’s like for the days spent in camp, our individual lives get put on hold (trust me, our significant others would have felt the pinch) as most of our energies and love are poured into camp. Perhaps it’s due to the camp being long (11 days for staff!) and its residential nature, that the staff tend to grow together as a tight bunch. Whatever it is, this particular staff has been one of the best group of people I’ve worked with internationally.

I’ve constantly been asked: “So what happens when camp ends?”
Well, for one, life as you know it resumes as per normal.
You get on with all your commitments, all the things that seemingly make you busy and make yourself feel important and needed. You do the same ol’ things, meet the same ol’ people, fall into the same ol’ patterns that were present pre-camp. If you’re conscious enough, you’ll incorporate some of the learnings you’ve gained during camp into your life. Slowly, the memory of camp starts to fade away. Camp starts to feel like it’s been years ago as you begin to settle into your old routines.

Then one day, in a particularly random moment, memories starts flowing and you find yourself remembering all the things you’ve learnt during camp. Lessons learnt may not necessarily be what has been scripted or what has been deliberately taught. It may be those moments in between the moments – when you’ve sat down and have a quiet chat with a fellow staff member or camper, when you’ve taken the leap of faith and jumped down the zipline in between the trees, when you’ve relaxed at the end of a day and wrote in your journal or even when someone randomly comes up to you and gives you a hug.

Now, this is what this entry is about. It’s about the random influx of memories that came to me out of the blue and brought me along by the hand, remembering the lessons and experiences of the 12 days in Thailand. It’s about my first time being a site manager in an overseas camp, about the friendships made and the lives impacted. It’s about remembering the good things and learning from the bad. It’s about knowing when to let go of things that you can never take control of and having fun while doing it. It’s about knowing my limits and pushing beyond them. It’s about rejoicing in the positive atmosphere that is soaked with love that surrounds camp. And most of all, it’s about treasuring the moments that I’ve been blessed with.

Nothing is ever perfect. I would have loved to be a team leader and connected with the other team leaders and campers on a more meaningful level, instead of being in the office and doing magic behind-the-scenes. I would have loved for certain things to be run a certain way. I would have loved to spend more time in Bangkok and exploring the friendships made there. But that’s that.

At the end of the day, we live with the memories that we’ve made. We choose to remember to remember all the beautiful moments. We learn from the experiences and we are who we make ourselves to be. And as we start to sink back into the normal lives, with random spurts of passion and excitement, we start to yearn for the break from the monotony and the routine.

And then… we start to look forward to the next camp. We start looking forward to being surrounded by so much positive energy and love. We start looking forward to being pumped up with vigour and joy. That is why, my friends, this 10-day residential camp is extremely addictive. I keep wanting to go back for more. You just can’t help it. Every single time is a new and amazing experience. It’s the kind of fresh air your soul needs to remain alive.

It has been a wonderful camp. To think that I’d nearly not been a part of me, proves how much more valuable this experience has been. I’m not sure if I’ll ever do any more overseas camps but… Till the next camp…

I’m going to remember to remember.

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