by: Steffi Belitsky
Last week I had to go back toward home, Philadelphia for me, for an appointment and dinner with a friend. I decided that I would dress as I normally dress when I am at home. I used product in my hair, put on the little bit of make-up that I normally wear and threw on a dress that I would wear to work as a teacher. I looked in the mirror and thought, well, this is normal. I walked into the office for a last minute work thing and saw a few people in the office. These people, who see me and interact with me on a daily basis, looked stunned, in a positive way I hope, and asked where I was going. I thought nothing of saying, “I am heading to an appointment back home.” They then looked puzzled and said, “But you look so dressed up.” It was then I realized that there are some things that you ONLY do at camp. Here is a list of the things that I only do at camp:
— At camp, I wear “grandmom beads” on my glasses. When I got to my appointment last week and got out of the car, I thought to myself, “Self, you look ridiculous!” and immediately took off the beads and threw them in the car.
- I suppose most people in their 40’s need assistance in the area of seeing. I don’t wear contacts because I only need glasses for distance. As I sit at a computer, I don’t need them. Over the last few years, “distance” seems to have gotten closer for me. Anyway, here at camp, I wear my sunglasses and my regular glasses and use them both regularly depending on the time of day and what building I am in. I kept leaving one pair or the other somewhere in camp and decided I need to keep them with me all the time. I went and got two pair of beads that attach to the glasses and then when I take them off they are like a pretty necklace.
— At camp, I shower in the afternoon, during the aptly named period, Shower Hour.
- At home, the thought of going anywhere without a shower in the morning is unheard of. At camp, I am up far too late to worry about something as trivial as early morning hygiene.
— I rarely wear make-up at camp. It just melts off anyway.
- Many of my friends know just by looking at me when I am in, “camp mode.” Camp mode for me is no make-up and hair up in some sort of, “off my face and neck” style. It rarely happens and is typically when I am sick. However, here at camp, wearing make-up means you must have somewhere important to be, (like when I had to go to my appointment!)
- For me to wear any type of t-shirt at home it must be a dress-down, sports type of day at school, or I have tickets to a Philadelphia team sporting event. And even then, I wear a jersey more than I would wear a t-shirt. I do have t-shirts from my son’s Bar Mitzvah 5 years ago and I have WAY more that my fair share of Camp Harlam t-shirts. I also have t-shirts from Golden Slipper Camp where I grew up. Typically for me to wear a t-shirt, I am using it as pajamas and only the people who live with me see me wear them.
- Ok – let me back up here. Over the past several years I have lost lots of weight. Yay me! But that is not the issue here. At home I am very particular in what goes into my body. My body needs a high amount of protein and I must eat about 6 times per day. It helps me continue to maintain my new body weight. Meals at camp…Some meals are terrific for me, chicken, chili, cheese quesadillas, eggs. Mostly protein. Happy girl. Breakfast is a challenge…The food is delicious cereal, pancakes, waffles etc. I love to partake in these amazingly delicious meals. At home there is no way I would eat a waffle unless it was made by Kashi and had 4 gazillion grams of protein (I know gazillion – I am a math teacher after all!) Then, sigh…grilled cheese. It should just NOT taste that good. And then there is pizza…are you kidding me? How could I possibly say no? Yellow meal…just shoot me, chicken patties (see, protein), mashed potatoes and corn. Really? How does one say no to this? Sigh, I don’t.
— The back-pack AND the fanny pack.
- A few years ago there was a picture of me in Israel. It’s an amazing shot with all of Old City of Jerusalem behind me. It was posted on Facebook. And my dear friends, who on occasion can be just a little sarcastic, read UBER SARCASTIC, focused on my camera case that I had attached to my body like a fanny pack. Here at camp, not only do we wear the fanny pack, we wear it with honor! And the back pack is on both shoulders as it was designed, but not only do I not wear a back-pack on both shoulders, I don’t even CARRY a back-pack at home.
— Walking, walking and more walking.
- At home I own a car. I love my car. My car loves me. (Yes it does, that is how close we are!) I take my car everywhere. I drive it to work. I drive it to the market. I drive it to drop my kids off at their 40,000,000 activities. It is an extension of me. I don’t ever have a second thought about it. I just get in and go. At camp, I don’t even look at the myriad of golf carts that buzz around me. I get there by foot. (This is actually not bad because of the above mentioned pizza and grilled cheese. Sigh.) To get from my room to the office to the chader ochel, to girl’s camp and boy’s camp and even to K’far Noar or Chavurah which, at camp seems so far away is not a challenge. I just strap on the back-pack and fanny pack, see #6, and on my way I go.
I know there are many more things that happen here at camp that I wouldn’t do at home. But to be perfectly honest, these things are the norm here at camp and I wouldn’t want it any other way!