what’s in my bag?

hey, guys!

i thought i’d take on a classic lifestyle post today: the what’s in my bag? challenge. if feel like if someone has been carrying around the same bag for a long time, you can figure out some things about them from its contents. this challenge just seems neat to me because of that (and also because i can be kind of nosy).

to start, let’s take a look at my bag: a black mini backpack from the sak. i really don’t like purses — they always seem to be getting in the way — so a backpack is the best fit for me. it looks tiny, but with all the pockets hidden throughout, this bag can amazingly fit everything i need!

so, what do i have in my bag on an average day?

notebook – this journal is basically my best friend. i write down poems and post ideas, to-do lists, quotes or lyrics i like, big events in my life and even the tiny ones. i don’t use it that much when i’m out, but i do like to have it nearby in case something happens that i need to write down right away.

pens – all of my pencils mysteriously break in my bag, so i’ve taken to carrying around pens instead. i like these black pilot G2 gel pens.

a book – i have a book of some sort with me at all times! if i’m waiting somewhere, i pick up whatever i’m reading instead of my phone and try to get through a few pages. it’s how i finish books so quickly, and it also cuts down unnecessary time spent on my phone. right now i’m reading the little prince.

water bottle – i don’t drink a lot of water unless it’s in the form of hot tea, but i’m trying to fix that by always having my water bottle with me. i took it from the lost and found at camp last summer, so it’s pretty scratched up and sometimes it makes dolphin noises when i’m drinking (no idea how to fix it). consuming tons of water is supposed to help your skin, and i need it for soccer practice, so.

on my water bottle’s carabiner is a CPR mask and a spiral lanyard that scout made for me last summer. :)

phone – i never bring a charger with me, though. huh. i should probably fix that.

earbuds – some of my classes require that i have earbuds, and i always end up forgetting them on the days that they’re actually needed. but for the most part, i just listen to music (obviously). i get easily overwhelmed at school, so putting in my earbuds to block everything out when i’m walking to class is really helpful for me.

wallet – my brother got me a wallet for maybe my seventh birthday, and i finally replaced it last month. it had been through a lot by that point (it was in my backpack at camp when a freak storm blew through and soaked everything, which made the wallet start peeling). i found this cute thing on sale and knew it was the perfect replacement.

painkillers – i’m not really supposed to have this stuff at school, but i get hurt so often that it seems smart to bring them anyway. since it’s soccer season and i’m a rather aggressive player, i constantly have a sprained or bruised limb that the painkillers can help with.

travel toothbrush & toothpaste – so i got my braces off in february, and then i wore a retainer 24/7 for a  month. this was just a helpful, hygienic  kit to have with me. now that i don’t need to wear my retainers to school, there’s really no reason for me to have this, but i just haven’t gotten around to getting it out of my bag.

lactaid – i am very, very lactose intolerant and didn’t know until a few years ago. i started using these last year and they are a lifesaver. for the first time in my life, i can eat ice cream or yogurt or cheese pizza without crying in the bathroom twenty minutes later because my body hates me!

lip balm – i never go anywhere without some lip balm in my pocket! my current favorites are burt’s bees vanilla bean and my pink by baby lips.

hair ties – the girls on my soccer team are always asking for hair ties and i can never say no. i bought a pack of fabric pastel ones at the beginning of the season so i would always have extras.

lotion – my hands get horribly dry during the winter, so dry that they’ll bleed at the knuckles. it looks kind of hardcore but it’s also really painful. i’m usually rushing in the morning and end up forgetting to put on lotion before i go, so i keep this travel-sized tube in my backpack.

what can’t you leave home without? for me, it’s a book!

xo apollo


mini birthday haul

hello, loves!

i had a birthday awhile ago, and i finally got around to putting together a haul for you guys. the gifts from my friends/family are all extremely thoughtful and i’m so grateful for everything i received!

i didn’t plan anything crazy this year, like when i took my friends to d.c. for my last birthday. this time, we just went out for dinner and then watched clueless at my  house while eating homemade soft pretzels and discussing astrology. i was trying to combine two friend groups (homeschool friends + public school friends), and that made things kind of awkward, but i’m still thankful that everyone made an effort to bridge the gap for me.

notebook & paper mate candy pop felt tip pens – my favorite section leader from marching band gave these to me and told me that it’s a new poem notebook. i never really talk to any of my friends about my poetry, so i was really touched that she knew that about me.

the notebook that i currently use for poetry is from a camp friend, and it’s still mostly empty. but my journal is approximately ¾ full, so i think i’ll start using this one as a journal once i run out of pages in the other one.

candy bars – nothing makes me feel more loved than when people remember tiny details about me, like what my favorite types of candy are (anything mint or coconut!). that’s why something as simple as candy from someone  i love made my day. :)

megan sent me the sweet card on the left, and the small one with the fish is from a girl in drumline. they’re both so gorgeous and my friends’ artistic talent is amazing to me.

(i’ve come to the conclusion that my friends only buy me makeup/skincare stuff because they are tired of my facing looking the way that it is.)

freeman feeling beautiful avocado + oatmeal clay mask – despite their messiness, i prefer clay masks over sheet ones. i guess i like being able to move without worrying about the mask slipping off? anyway, this mask is such a pretty sky blue color and i can’t wait for a night when i have enough time to try it.

under eye gold gel mask, purifying black charcoal mask, & hydrogel lip patch – i always have really dark shadows under my eyes (thanks, insomnia), so maybe the under eye mask will help with that.

baby lips cherry me, pink punch, and my pink – my sweet friend from math class picked these out for me because they’re her personal favorite. i’d never tried baby lips before, but now i really love them. i adore the red tint from cherry me, and my pink smells incredible.

milani flashing light holographic lip topper – this is maybe the weirdest lip product i’ve ever used. i tried it on when i first got it, and it genuinely looks like i put glitter glue on my lips. also, it has this really distinct smell that’s somewhere in between candy, icing, and cookie dough.

e.l.f. moonlight pearls highlight – last halloween, my friend izzy and i were playing around with facepaint to go along with our costumes. i was particularly fond of some white glitter paint, which i used in lieu of highlight. i giggled all evening and took tons of pictures of myself because i loved the way the sparkles looked in the autumn light. it makes me so happy that my friends remembered how much i loved it and then went to the trouble of getting me an actual highlight!

squishmallow pug dog – izzy walked into the restaurant carrying an enormous white trash bag with this cutie stuffed inside. she flipped between proudly announcing that it was the Best Gift Ever and telling me that i would probably hate it. as it turns out, i don’t hate the pug at all, and his name is turtle, and he feels exactly like a giant marshmallow. there is no other way to describe it.

gap year in ghost town by michael pryor – a school friend got this paranormal book for me! it’s been on my TBR for a while, and obviously i’m really excited to read it. it sounds similar to the lockwood & co. series by jonathan stroud, which is one of my favorites, so i have high hopes for this. :)

recipe book – my grandma knows that i enjoy cooking, so she put together a cookbook for me with the help of my great aunt. it already has pages and pages of their favorite recipes with handwritten notes, and it’s such a sweet, thoughtful gift. there are a few meat-based recipes that i doubt i’ll be making anytime soon (april marks my fifth month of being vegetarian!), but i am still so touched by this cookbook.

again, i am so thankful for all the thoughtful gifts i received! it was probably the most chill party i’ve ever had, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. i feel like i would’ve preferred celebrating on my own, though? who knows.

what do you usually do for you birthday? i tend to come up with super complicated cake ideas and chat in the kitchen with my mom as she struggles to create them.

xo apollo

you look like hell | 7.20.18

this was taken the day before

q: what defines you?

a: july 20, 2018. it was a friday
& the end of week five.

q: what happened?

a: i told the truth.

q: you’re sure?

a: the truth burned everything to the ground.
those ashes are not made from lies.

q: what else happened ?

a: i cried like the world was ending.

q: was it?

a: sometimes it feels like time stopped
& everything past that day is a nightmare.

q: who else was there?

a: no one who is here now.

q: what happened to them?

a: time kept turning for them
& they moved with it.
i am alone now with the memories.

q: do you dream about it?

a: all day & all night.
it is in my bones & my veins & my mind.

q: what do you remember?

a: i remember everything;
i wish to remember nothing.

q: can you give me some details?

a: he told me that i looked like hell.
i couldn’t stop retching.

q: what else?

a: there was blood on my shirt
& in my mouth. it wasn’t mine.

q: whose blood was it?

a: . . .

q: were you hurt?

a: there were bruises around my neck
& knife wounds on my hands.

q: did they leave scars?

a: they blend in with the heart line on my palm.
sometimes i get phantom pains.

q: who hurt you?

a: that’s what they wanted to know.

q: what would you change about that day?

a: i would have never answered the phone.

q: who called?

a: the wrong one.
i could smell him through the phone:
strawberry smoke & disinfectant.

q: who was supposed to call?

a: he was in arizona. i think he was drunk.
it’s not fair. i needed his help
& he was in the desert.

q: let me circle back.
you’re sure you told the truth?

a: i believed everything that i said.

q: that’s not an answer.

a: everyone thinks i’m a liar.

q: are you?

a: i don’t know.

q: where’s your conviction?

a: i’m sorry.
i feel sick when i think about it too much.

xo apollo

do you hear the people sing? | my les misérables experience


hey, guys!

at the end of february, my school put on a production of the classic musical les misérables. that’s a pretty challenging choice for a bunch of high schoolers, but i think we pulled it off pretty well.

i spent most of my time last month working on this show, so i thought i’d write about what that experience was like! i hope you enjoy this peek into a high school theatre department. :)

originally, i had auditioned to be part of ensemble. i sang left behind from spring awakening and it actually went a lot better than i had expected it to. but i ended up not getting cast (the directors made the cast super small this year, which doesn’t make a lot of sense to me, but oh well), so i decided to work backstage instead. my main job was doing props with one other girl, but i also helped my mom with fixing costumes when i got the chance, because props is kind of boring.

my proudest moment was when i got to carry a potted plant on stage at the beginning of in my life/a heart full of love. that was my one second in the spotlight and i only messed up half of the time!

the theatre tech class made hundreds of these for the show

personally, i didn’t enjoy backstage very much. our crew was entirely girls, and they were all a big group of friends. i only knew two of them from marching band, although i wasn’t very close with them anyway. so i felt out of the loop and a little excluded from crew stuff during the musical. like, they got a professional picture of the backstage girls that i wasn’t in, they bought pizzas during rehearsal without telling me, etc.

crew was seriously unappreciated. we were going over bows at one rehearsal, and when all of the actors had gotten their turn, someone asked our theatre director when crew was supposed to bow. she replied that we weren’t going to because she’d never been in a show where backstage bowed. everyone in crew was outraged, and it made some of the cast upset, too. i understand that in a professional show, crew probably wouldn’t get a bow, but this was just a high school production. crew had been at all the long rehearsals, we’d put in just as much effort as everyone else, and we felt like we deserved one moment of recognition. eventually, our director agreed to let us bow, but i think most of us were still bitter about it for the rest of the shows.

but i’m going to be honest: crew has more fun. while the actors were running back and forth between the wings, fussing with mics and costume changes, we got headsets and sang backstage and danced little jigs during master of the house and the wedding scene.

part of crew @ the barricade. look at our gorgeous, hand-painted background!

since i wasn’t close with any of the crew, i spent a lot of time reading by the props table or distracting my actor friends. actually, i ended up making one friend miss a few of her scenes because we were hanging out in a dressing room listening to bob marley. :)

i also talked with my friends in the pit a lot before shows and during intermission. my favorite section leader was playing oboe, and the marching band’s tenor player was doing percussion. i would sit by the stage and chat with them while charging strips of glow in the dark tape with my phone. the bits of tape were all over the stage, and they let crew know where to put big set pieces.

my brother was also in les mis! he played the innkeeper, monsieur thénardier, and he was absolutely incredible. i was so so proud of him. he was an excellent drunkard and he really commanded the stage during his solos. i also really enjoyed seeing madame thénardier get in his face and push him around during master of the house. anyway, it was a huge leap for him to get such an important role after being in ensemble during last year’s show (the sound of music), and since he did such an amazing job, i have hope that he’ll get the lead in our next one.

speaking of my brother, he got a very sweet candygram from this girl from a neighboring school. they talked for awhile after the show, kept in touch, and then they went on a “casual” date yesterday! she helped direct her school’s production of the little mermaid, my brother was one of the leads in les mis . . . theatre couple?? yes please.

i feel like i’ve explained candygrams before, but in case anyone doesn’t know, they’re these little paper cutouts with candy and handwritten notes on them. so in the lobby, musical parents were selling roses and candygrams for the cast and crew. the cast and directors used those fancy plastic dividers that you hang on doors as mailboxes for their candygrams — crew and pit shared an itty bitty bucket the size of a water glass. i got a few notes from my mom, my friend hannah (who played a lovely lady), and also one from my brother’s ex’s mom?

b&w view of the barricade

for the most part, the cast was phenomenal, but a few choices made me rather upset. first of all, a friend auditioned with me, and he got in but i didn’t. and that’s not really the part that makes me mad. it’s the fact that his audition was literally the worst one. he sang something from phantom, but he’s a terrible singer, didn’t know the words, and stood still while he performed. he’d never done theatre before and didn’t even want to be in the musical. also, his acting was terrible and he spoke his lines instead of singing them. it just makes me so angry that despite being so undeserving of a role, he got in simply because he’s a boy and the directors wanted more soldiers. there were so many better choices at the auditions: people who were passionate and talented and devoted. but they picked him instead because of his gender. it wasn’t fair at all, and i know it’s been months since auditions, but i’m still upset about it.

i don’t know what musical we’re doing next year, but i’ve heard that the directors are considering newsies or beauty and the beast. between those two, i’m hoping for newsies, because i love that show very much. also, i don’t think anyone at my school wants to do a disney musical.

even though i wasn’t cast in les mis, i’m planning on auditioning again next year, because i do love theatre and want to be in a few more shows before i graduate. but if i don’t get a role, i’m not going to help backstage again. it just wasn’t my thing. i didn’t have any friends in crew, i had to go to long rehearsals where crew wasn’t needed, and it was too much work without any appreciation from the directors. without us, the show would have fallen apart, and the theatre director didn’t seem to be aware of that.

to sum things up: i’m so proud of my friends for putting on a stunning rendition of les misérables. the whole experience was emotionally draining and made me lose some of my passion for theatre. but listening to the abc men belt do you hear the people sing? and our insanely talented marius perform empty chairs at empty tables planted this burning, hopeful, defiant feeling in my chest that has not gone away.

red, i feel my soul on fire! black, my world when she’s not there! (abc café/red and black)

xo apollo

the bookworm tag | rainbow bookshelves, TBR lists, & more!

hey, loves!

i’ve been on a reading kick lately (i’m twelve books ahead of schedule on my goodreads challenge!), so i put together this fun book-themed tag. i decorated my bookshelf with some fairy lights and succulents to make my pictures look extra cute and everything.

also, happy late valentine’s day! i spent the afternoon hanging out with my musical friends, then went shopping with my bff. and my school does candygrams on holidays (you pay $1 and clubs will deliver little heart-shaped cards with candy attached to whoever you want), and i got one?? i was so shocked, and it was from exactly who i wanted it to be from, so overall it was a pretty great day. :)

anyway — the tag!

1) how often do you read?

pretty much every day. i take a book (or several) with me everywhere i go: school, church, car rides, etc. i read whenever i get the chance, even if it’s just one page while i’m walking to class.

my friends (and some teachers) at school tell me that i have a new book every time they see me, and they’re not wrong.

2) do you read or write fanfiction?

oh boy, no. i’ve never been one for fanfiction. i don’t see the appeal in writing it, because when i write, i want my own characters and my own story. i don’t want to leach off of someone else’s imagination. and i don’t read fanfiction, either, because i’ve heard that most of it is really bizarre stuff, or not good quality.

3) how do you organize your books?

just like everything else in my room, my bookshelf is organized by color! the rainbow gradient is the most colorful, happy part of my space.

i’ve thought about organizing my series separately, maybe putting them all on the bottom shelf so they’re easier to find. but that would mean ruining my rainbow, so i don’t know.


4) what are you currently reading?

my lady jane by cynthia hand, brodi ashton, and jodi meadows. i think writeowl recommended it to me? it’s historical fiction with some magic thrown in, and i’m about halfway done with it right now. i’m enjoying it, but i find it a little hard to get into sometimes.

5) what is your favorite genre?

to read, emotional contemporaries or magical realism/fantasy. as for writing, i used to come up with a lot of fantasy stories, but right now i’m mainly interested in poetry.

398915866) how many books are on your TBR list, and what’s the newest addition?

right now, i have 264 books on my TBR list, which isn’t actually that bad, i don’t think. and my most recently added book is #neveragain: a new generation draws the line by david and lauren hogg. it’s nonfiction, and about two siblings who survived the parkland shooting last year. since i’ve never been good about keeping up with the news, i don’t know that much about the shooting, other then that it sparked a huge political debate about gun control. but i want to learn more, and i figured that i should start with reading about what actually happened.

7) pick a book with a cover that’s your favorite color

my favorite color is maroon, and out of all the books i own, the battle of the labyrinth is closest to that. i found my copy at an almost otherworldly book store in pennsylvania a few years ago.

8) paperbacks or hardcovers?

paperbacks. they hold two stories: the one written in ink, and the one written in the crinkled, folded pages. the one written by the author, and the one written by the reader. there’s just something more intimate about them, i think.

also, i like that they’re lighter and easier to hold or slip into my backpack.

9) do you own any signed books?

just two, i think. one is a copy of sarah j. maas’ a court of thorns and roses that i found at a thrift store, and the other is the prophet, the shepherd, & the star by jenny l. cote. she did an author talk at my co-op when i was in elementary or middle school, and she signed it for me there.

10) where do you usually get your books?

the library, mostly. the public one has a fairly large collection of YA novels, plus an indecently enormous children/MG section, and then my school’s library has a surprising amount of interesting books.

if it’s not from the library, chances are that whatever book i’m reading was either borrowed from a friend or found at a thrift store.

11) what books have you read this month?

i’ve finished seven so far: four novels, one nonfiction book, one collection of poems, and one graphic novel. my favorites are dear evan hansen by val emmich and crush by richard siken (thanks for the recommendation, ellie!).

if anyone wants to do this tag on their own blog, please go right ahead! just link back to this post if you do.

what are you currently reading?

xo apollo

my winter camp 2019 experience


i spent a long weekend last month working at that boy scout camp that i’m constantly talking about. (so, yes, this is another camp post, as if i don’t post enough about that place already.) staffing at winter camp was wildly different from my experiences there last summer. i thought i’d share my ordeal with you all, because how often do you get to learn about what really goes on at a scout camp?

packing list for winter camp:

– as many blankets as you can fit in your bag. it will be freezing and the heaters won’t work.

– wool socks, gloves, and a thick coat that makes you feel like a marshmallow. despite all those layers, you won’t ever be warm enough.

– a journal, to keep track of the health officers’ phone numbers and last minute lesson plans.

– don’t bother with showering supplies, because the camp will be winterized and there won’t be a lot of running water. just bring dry shampoo and deodorant instead.

– lots of snacks. the kitchen staff are stingy. they’ll give you two hash browns for breakfast and act surprised when they find you eating lucky charms in the back.

– water bottles. there’s no running water, remember?

– tea bags. preferably a kind with lots and lots of caffeine in it. you will not get nearly enough sleep to function without the help of tea or coffee.

– a knife, a lighter/matches, painkillers, and lip balm. be prepared.

| friday |

just getting to camp in the first place was tricky business. staff was asked to arrive at three in the afternoon, there was supposed to be a one o’clock dismissal that day, and it’s about a two hour drive to get there. so, time was a bit tight, but if i left immediately after school, it should have worked out. but then the school decided to let out at three instead of one. which is, you know, a bit inconvenient.

i ended up leaving school early, then going home to finish packing. because despite planning on staffing at winter camp since august, i still waited until the very last minute to find all my stuff. and i had a lot of stuff: three bag fulls, in fact. one backpack stuffed with things like books and snacks, a smallish duffle bag filled with typical going-away-for-the-weekend things, and then an enormous bag my mom forced me to take. she packed that one for me, and it contained lots of useless, bulky snow gear.

on the way there, i read love & gelato and listened to billy joel’s greatest hits on repeat. i’ve made that drive so often that the two hours doesn’t feel like anything. i just look out the window at familiar landmarks, i blink, and we’re there. amazing, really.

the camp has two sides: the boy scout side, which is where i go to summer camp and where i hope to work this year (i sent in my application a week or two ago . . . wish me luck), and the cub side. it blows my mind a little that i’ve been going there for three years, and i’ve never seen cub camp before.

anyway, once we arrived, i checked in and picked up my staff hoodie. it’s a lovely blue, so warm, and a huge improvement from the disgusting highlighter-yellow t-shirts from last summer. then my mom and i drove all the way to the other side and dropped my stuff of at a staff cabin. the cabins there are really more like plywood sheds, and there was a tiny heater on the floor — really cozy, you know?

and here’s where things get fun. as i was walking back to the main road from staff site, i heard our health officer talking on the phone with someone from admin (this health officer is yanni, the one who made me overdose last summer. i love him). he was complaining about the sink not working in the health lodge, and as he was talking, i spotted a line of port-a-potties beside the road. so, basically: there was just about no running water in the camp. there were a few working bathrooms on cub side, and the sinks at the STEM center functioned some of the time, but the only shower was at admin.

it wasn’t a great way to start the weekend. not being able to shower makes me a little panicky inside for some reason. i really did want to go home then and there, but of course my mom wasn’t going to allow that, so i just thanked God that i don’t sweat.

good things that happened on friday:

– i was reunited with some friends from last summer!! most of the staff are in college, and i assumed  a lot of them wouldn’t be at winter camp because they’d busy with exams or whatever. but most of them made it, so i spent the weekend hanging out with kaitlyn (aka my camp mom), jordan (handicraft director), john (nature director), and brie (friend from ahg camp who works on cub side). it was so wonderful to see them again and i miss them all so much already.

– brie went out to dinner instead of eating camp food (a very wise decision), and she brought me lo mein with tofu!!

– had a wild conversation with kaitlyn and john about how many staffers are gay. apparently, the answer is at least half. i love scout camp.

| saturday |

the next morning, i had to be at the dining hall on cub side by 7 a.m. to help serve breakfast. i got up at 5 o’clock every morning and walked a mile in the cold just to stand around in the kitchen for two hours and dish out a meal that i couldn’t eat while wearing a ridiculous paper hat. the only thing that made it bearable was the classic rock blasting from a speaker. i must have heard jessie’s girl twenty times that weekend.

after an appetizing breakfast consisting of a single dry biscuit, i headed over to the STEM center to help kaitlyn teach programming. i say “teach,” but really i just wrote lines of code on the whiteboard, because i have no idea how to help boys program games and calculators into java.

we had a campfire in the dining hall that night. this particular campfire involved no flames, and i couldn’t see or hear the skits, and it was all around  a little miserable. just before it started, i had spotted someone for last summer, someone who i associate really awful memories with, and i don’t know. i just freaked out. i couldn’t keep still; i kept pacing and fidgeting and i felt like the air was too warm and i couldn’t breathe properly.

i decided to wash my hair that night. i tossed a tiny bottle of shampoo into my backpack and hiked from my cabin to STEM at one in the morning. i have to say, there’s something about washing your hair in a dirty sink during the witching hour, while listening to rain on a metal roof, that is strangely poetic to me.

| sunday |

after another half-awake morning in the kitchen, i helped jordan with space exploration, otherwise known as my favorite merit badge ever. we headed into the dining hall armed with boxes of rockets and hot glue guns. it took ALL MORNING for the campers to get their rockets together, which made me desperately miss my friend scout, because he is a genius and can put one of those kits together in ten minutes flat.

eventually, the rockets were ready to launch, so we took them into the field outside and shot them off one at a time. it must have taken at least an hour. it was windy, and i was starving (i’d been living off of hot tea and vanilla pudding, which isn’t that filling), and my jacket was back in my cabin so i was cold, too. i ended up taking jordan’s coat, which helped some, but still. my only joy was using the C engines. those bad boys sent some rockets all the way to the other side.

Related image
this is a blue card. they are a pain and take forever to fill out.

afterwards, jordan proceeded to make me crouch in the mud while he signed at least twenty blue cards on my back. because, you know, what else is support staff good for?

that night, i moved into a cabin with kaitlyn and brie on cub side. that wasn’t strictly allowed, but i likely would have frozen to death if i hadn’t. it got down into the single digits that night, and had only warmed up to fourteen degrees by 7 a.m. the next morning. there was no chance of me walking a mile to breakfast in that kind of weather.

| monday |

when i was trekking up to the dining hall that morning, i paused in the middle of the icy road to gaze at the moon. the lunar eclipse had taken place over the night, and the super blood moon was still hanging in the sky, tinted red. there was a colorful ring around it that looked just like a lens flare.

they didn’t need help with breakfast that morning, and no one had bothered to tell me, so i made some hot tea in the dining hall and hurried back to the cabin. i curled up next to the heater and got a few more much needed hours of sleep.

kaitlyn and i were teaching the mammal study badge in the nature lodge that day. unfortunately, kaitlyn had procrastinated writing a lesson plan, and we also had no idea where the nature lodge was on the cub side. we ended up wandering around the camp while the freezing wind got under our skin until we got brie to give us directions over the phone.

the nature lodge was conveniently all the way on the outskirts of the camp. we passed some enormous red yurts tucked away in the trees and i started fangirling. that’s really the only way to describe it. i’d read about the yurts on the camp’s website, but i’d never seen them before. they were so cool!! i didn’t go inside any of them, but still. i love those yurts.

mammal studies was a little bit miserable. the lodge’s heater didn’t work at all, the scouts wouldn’t listen to me, kaitlyn and i weren’t prepared, etc. it was such a relief when we finished early. if i’d been out there much longer, i think i would have turned into a popsicle. as it was, i couldn’t feel my hands until at least an hour later, despite hanging out in the heated dining hall with a cup of hot tea.

my friends cleared out shortly after, so i holed up in the cabin with a book and several cups of vanilla pudding while i waited for my mom to arrive. it was sort of peaceful. the camp was quiet for once, instead of being filled with the shouts and cheers of boys playing in the gaga pit.

my mom got lost a few times on the way home. (it is truly amazing to me that after all this time, she is still finding new ways to get lost.) i had been looking forward to finally getting a shower, but as soon as i stepped inside, i got a text from a friend reminding me that there was pep band that night. i didn’t have time to change out of the staff hoodie i’d been shivering in all weekend, much less get a desperately needed shower, before i was at school and setting up a bass drum in the bleachers.

other things that happened at winter camp:

– my “friend” peter called me a communist and a liberal because i said i’m in marching band and don’t like meat?? i was telling him that i play percussion when he interrupted with a gasp and said, “i was afraid you were going to say that you play triangle! i can just see you jamming to a triangle solo.” and it would have been hilarious except i did actually play triangle at one point during our show. :’)

– a scout that i’ve never talked to in my life told me one night that i looked really pretty that day. thanks, i guess?? it was sort of weird. having guys flirt with me is my least favorite thing about staffing there.

– i’m pretty sure this kid that i troop guided for last year was flirting with me. i’m not 100% sure, but hear me out. he was support staff too and we worked in the kitchen together during every meal. he sat with me during breakfast, was really friendly, gave me cookies from his lunch, etc. we hiked all over camp together on friday, he walked me back to my cabin twice, and he even invited me to play cards against humanity with him in his cabin. do i just have a really big ego, or does it sound like he was flirting and i was just too oblivious to notice?

– everyone thought i was older than i actually am. when i mentioned my real age, it was followed by lots of disbelief and exclamations about how i’m “just a baby!” love that for me.

– i got really sick with the flu right after camp and ended up missing a week of school. i think i got it from kaitlyn. thanks, camp mom, i was basically dying but at least i got to stay home and read.

overall, winter camp involved a lot of shivering, not enough sleep, horrible food, and a scratchy throat from yelling at insolent scouts. it was unorganized and the classes seemed to stretch on forever. but do i plan on going back next year? oh, absolutely. i want another staff hoodie.

have you ever been to a winter camp? how did it compare to summer camp?

xo apollo