Campers, Cars, and Carnavales

(FYI- This is a blog from July 9. I have had no Internet access so haven’t been able to post this until now! Enjoy!)

This blog really has no theme…it’s basically random Paestum/Agropoli story telling time. But before I begin, I have a life update for you! Many of you know that I worked as a Girl Scout Troop Leader in college, but what you may not know is that I applied to work at the organization’s international center in London. Well I am happy to announce that as of September 17 I will be working as an Event Assistant in London until the end of January!  I will be organizing special events for visiting Girl Scouts, chaperoning tours of London, and so much more. Best of all, the job provides me with room and board so I’ll be living in London for free! Can’t wait to share those experiences with you.

But let’s get back to the Italian adventures. First up, Campers—-After working with ACLE for the past four weeks, I have dealt with every type of child imaginable. The shy child that wants to hold your hand all day, the mature teenager that wants to have a convo about politics with you in fluent English, the too cool for camp songs teeny bopper and teen, the 6 year old that is oblivious to life and speaks to you in Italian everyday as if one day you will magically be capable of responding, and the evil brat…unfortunately we have dealt with many of this breed lately. The majority of kids at camp these past two weeks were some of the most destructive kids I’ve ever met. If they weren’t beating each other up and laughing about it, they were beating up the hotel by throwing chairs, drawing on the tables, or breaking trees. Pure madness.

But then you always have the good ones to make up for it like little Gabrielle. The little 6 year old didn’t know a lick of English but boy was he a cutie. He and his sister saved me a seat in between them at lunch everyday and all day long I’d hear him shout “Kristin!”. I’d look down to see Gabrielle standing there with his eyes closed and his lips puckered ready to give me a kiss on the cheek. By the end of the week, he learned the word kiss so I was happy.

Cars—-Italians are a different breed of drivers. At first I thought speed limits didn’t exist in Italy, but then I learned that they just choose not to follow the laws, and driving 100 in a 50 is nbd for Italians. And when it comes to passing other cars, apparently there’s enough room on the opposite side of the road to do so even if you can see your life flashing before your eyes in the headlights of oncoming traffic (don’t worry mom, I wasn’t in this particular vehicle…I just watched my friends have a near death experience from the comfort of a safe driver’s car).

The best story, however, involves my latest Camp Directors. On Wednesday evening, we went to dinner with a bunch of directors and tutors located in the same area. Both directors drove but us three tutors went in the not so crazy director’s car. Half way through our journey, she decides she needs to go to the train station to pick someone up so what does she do? She pulls off to the side of the road and has us get into crazy director’s car.

We were only in her car for about 20 minutes but more happened in that 20 minutes than the entire day. I asked if the seat belts in the backseat worked…nope. As James attempted to put his on in the front seat, she said it was broken but that he should hold it down just in case the Popo drove by. She kept saying she had no idea where she was going and continuously looked to us for confirmation as if we knew our way through the streets of Italy. She finally decided to ask for directions, but first she had to park the car which to her meant parking on the side of the road. As he looked out the window at car after car passing by, James asked “Is this a parking spot?” Response- “Of course!”…still not sure if it actually was or not. But the best part of the story happened after dinner. Back in not so crazy director’s car, we were backing out of the parking lot when we saw crazy director sitting in her car looking for her keys. We sat in the parking lot for five minutes watching her search for her keys that were still hanging in the car door. I’m still laughing!

Carnavales—-I’ve experienced some interesting night life in Paestum/Agropoli. Went to an exciting futbol match where we saw many players limping around after a slight fall to the ground…yes, the stereotype is true. We went mini bowling at the most happening arcade on the beach and Friday night we went to Agropoli where we socialized with locals in the most friendly and homey shop I’ve ever been to. The owner knows everyone in the small town and everyone purchases coffee, drinks, and snacks from his shop. It was very cute.

This was also the same night of the annual Carnavale. We didn’t get to attend the carnavale because we ended camp late that night, but the aftermath of the event was just as fun to attend. Some of the best people watching can be done after an Italian Carnavale. Still not quite sure what they were celebrating though. At first I thought it was a wannabe Disney parade with the fugly Minnie Mouse ears on people’s heads and children dressed in Princess costumes. But as we continued our walk down the confetti covered streets, I saw a pirate, a few superheros, a man that looked like a grasshopper, and other random costumes. There were kids with silly string, light up guns, and cotton candy too. All that was missing were rides…but then we found rows of rectangular trampolines enclosed in nets. Still a bit confused as to what the festival was all about, but I was nonetheless entertained.

So those are a few of the random stories I have for ya to give you a small dose of my time in Paestum and Agropoli. I had some very fun times there and I now have friendships and memories to last a lifetime. Now onto Florence! I’m sure there will be plenty more stories to come about the host family experience and all that good stuff.

Ciao Ciao For Now!

Categories: All Blog Postings, Italy, Travel Stories | Leave a comment

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