Chapter 12: My first day off outside of the camp!

July 2009 was really specific for me. Not only that this was the first Summer outside of my country, but also my first time flying and crossing the ocean. I traveled far, but it was worth every penny as I had one of my Biggest adventures so far.

As you might remember from the previous chapter the kids arrived to the camp. Since that we had to work much more, although the camp finally full with fun, laugh and screaming kids enjoying the summer and the parties. For us, “kitchen boys” it was mostly about work, however once a week we had a day off. On that day we could rest, do sports or even go outside of the camp. Each of us received a specific day in a week according to the schedule given by Matt. I had my days offs on every Tuesday.

I already mentioned the staff who was in the camp. However I would split it now to 2 groups: 1. In the first were the Counselors, Medical team, some shortly employed Administrative personal and the Maintenance guys (we – kitchen boys, cooks, etc. ) who were employed only for the Summer.

2. In the second group were Owners (Noel, Matt and their family) and the staff who was employed for more than 3 months. (There were also Winter activities, but I might come to that later).

You might ask now why is it important to mention that? Well, I will come to it. So, in the 2nd group there were drivers, administrative stuff, and maintenance guys (and a woman) who took care of the camp also in the winter – doing maintenance work or building new houses, bunks or just repairing stuff, which went wrong. One of the drivers was Michal. Except of driving, he was the guy you could trust with everything. He was Matt’s right hand and in case of need he could manage really everything you needed. He was originally from Poland, which has border with my home country: Slovakia. He came to US (same as we did) to the camp for summer job. However during the Summer he met his future wife there. They fall in love, got married and he decided to stay in the United States. Michal want and managed all necessary papers and got the US citizenship. Since that he was working with his wife every summer in the camp, and before/after the camp he was helping out. That’s how I met him. Since he was also speaking Polish, which is very close to Slovak we could easily understand each other. Languages are bringing people together that’s how we became Friends. Not only for the camp, however we stayed in touch after the camp as well and we are still Friends on social site’s as Facebook or Instagram.

Anyway, coming to the point. Although I had my day off every Tuesday, I couldn’t do much. Mostly I was spending my day in the camp. I went for a walk, or I was doing some sports. Anyway, coming to the point. Although I had my day off every Tuesday, I couldn’t do much. Mostly I was spending my day in the camp. I went for a walk, or I was doing some sports. However I wanted more. I was in that huge and beautiful country, however didn’t see much yet. Therefore I’ve asked Matt if I could borough a car and just travel around the place. Well, you can imagine what did he say. Yes, she said: “No”. As he did not know if I’m good driver, therefore he did not give me any car. So I was stuck in the camp. Fortunately Michal had the same day his day off then I did. We talked about it by accident and he offered me a ride. He got the latest and biggest car in the camp. It was totally new red Chevrolet Traverse. It was one of the biggest cars so far I was sitting in so far. It was a big pleasure traveling with it.

On Monday evening I was totally excited already. We agreed with Michal to leave the camp early morning right after the breakfast. We did not have an exact plan where to go and what to see, however I asked him for 1 special thing. I will tell you later. 😉

On Tuesday morning everything went by plan. We had a great breakfast, left camp before 9am heading to Scranton, PA. I haven’t been in Starbucks yet, so I’ve asked Michal to grab a coffee there. We went to the city center, parked the car and went to a Starbucks. Before entering Michal had to go to the post office, so I’ve told him to wait for him inside and grab a coffee for him too. He asked for a Cappuccino. So I went inside the Starbucks for the first time. As it was Tuesday and Summer not many people were there. So I headed to the lady who was taking the orders. I ordered the cappuccino and then I’ve asked a coffee for myself. She asked me what kind of coffee I want. I remember still that I’ve asked for a “normal coffee”. As she was not familiar with it (no-one would), I told her that a cup of coffee. She asked me: “Do you want an Americano?” I had no clue what is it. So I’ve asked her to show me. She took the big plastic cup and I said: “No. Smaller coffee”. She said: “Ok, so an espresso?” As I was confused already, I’ve told her that yes, I want one. She came back asking me again: “How many shots?” Well, she got me again. I had no clue back in 2009 what does she means with shots. So I’ve asked her to show me how much is a shots. It was really small, so I asked for 6. Yes, you are reading it correctly. I said six. Suddenly her colleague turned to us and now he was asking: “Are you sure, you want 6 shots?” Well, I said: “One seems to be to small, give me 6”. They were just looking at me, but giving those 6 shots. I paid (much more than expected, but later understood why I’m paying so much) and found a place to sit.

Michal entered the place, sitting down and looking at my coffee. He asked what did I order. I said to him that it’s espresso, but they did not want to give enough, so I’ve asked 6 shots. I was shocked. Later on he explained how to ask for a “normal coffee”. In US it’s a small Americano, or just ask for a black coffee. In Europe it’s a lungo, which is an espresso with a BIT more water in it, but not so much as a little American has. Anyway, after he explained it to me, I was shocked as well, but I drunk the coffee. Well, it was not the smartest thing I ever did. I couldn’t sleep until 2am in the morning.

After the coffee break we went to see the city center. I’m not sure if you are familiar with Scranton, PA, but it’s a small city with approximately 76 000 inhabitants. However it has a really nice city center and city hall.

We were walking a lot around and had a great lunch as well. In the early afternoon we were hanging around a but. I couldn’t stop enjoying those typical wooden houses, which you can see in the US movies. I’ve seen them mainly in PA as this was typical for that state. Since early childhood I was in love with them. Maybe once I will have the opportunity to live in one of those. Later on we went shopping. Michal showed me a shop, which I still love and when I have the opportunity to visit United States, I always look for a chance to go there and buy some clothes. This shop is TJMAXX. It has some amazing clothes from different brands e.g. Calvin Klein, or Tommy Hilfiger. I bought there pants for basketball, which I still have and use. They are still like new. Unbelievable!!! After some quality shopping we went to the place, which I wanted since early morning. This place was an American Cinema. It might sound funny for you, however I really wanted to experience everything what American’s are experiencing every day. Therefore we went there. I couldn’t be more lucky as we bought tickets for the movie Hangover.

You might remember it back from 2009. It was one of the best comedies during that year and I was watching it in US. I was a perfect feeling. We bought some pop corns, coke and some sweets. Went inside and were watching it. Such a great feeling. I still have those tickets somewhere. I kept it as a souvenir. After the movie we went back to the camp. We arrived around 9pm. There was some party going on for the counselors and us, however I didn’t care. I was happy having my first and best day off outside of the camp. Next story in the next chapter. 😉

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