Phase Three || Outdoor Octant

As someone who seems to flit between being very much a city girl to very much a country girl, the idea of camping with the Brownies was both terrified and exciting for me. No one in my current pack has a going away with licence so when we were invited by another pack to join then on a summer camp, it was important to me that our girls be offered the opportunity. My Brown Owl is of the belief that camping should be saved for guides, however, was willing to let our girls go if I was willing to go with them. I was.

Preparing for this Brownie Camp was worrisome, having never done a Brownie Camp before I was worried about leaving something important behind. I must have checked my kit list 5 times before I accepted that I had everything I needed. Important things that were packed included Dill, my small teddy Armadillo and Haribo. Despite all the fuss, I managed to get myself packed completely with four hours to go before I needed to leave, giving me time to do the boring, non-Guiding things I had to do that day.

Once I arrived at the pickup point, I was picked up and we drove to the campsite. The plan was for the leaders to get there early and get the tents up before the girls arrived. I had been camping only once before this trip and knew little to nothing about the process of putting up tents. It was not an easy feat but we got there in the end, with the help of the pack leader’s three-year-old daughter and a couple of Brownies who arrived early.

 

The camp was greatly enjoyable and I remain completely pro-camp for Brownies. I believe there is a difference between camp for Guides and camp for Brownies and both should have the option to do so. This was only my second time sleeping in a tent and I got considerably less sleep than I would’ve liked [although, more than another pack holiday I’ve been on]. I shared with Izzy (now Snowy Owl) and Rabbit who were young leaders for the pack we were going with. I was glad to be able to make friends with people around my age who were also in Guiding because it seems such a rarity for me.

 

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The badges I bought at the camp ‘shop’

 

 

During the camp, the girls were working on the Circus Skills badge, which meant they got to do a number of fun activities like walking on skills, making juggling balls out of balloons and rice and learning to juggle with them and making balloon animals and flowers. This, of course, lead to a lot of popped balloons and leaders uncomfortable about the sounds.

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One of the three girls from my pack, unfortunately, took ill and didn’t make it through all of the camp. It was worrying and sad to see her go from bubbly and excited to quiet and ill. I sat with her as we waited for her Mum and Nan to come get her though, and we spent the time talking about Youtube and  Chronic Fatigue Syndrome which I suffer from and her Mum had just been diagnosed with.

I had a lot of new experience at this camp, most of which were quintessentially camp experiences. I saw my first campfire and the difficulty that comes with trying to light one. Izzy and the other pack’s Barn Owl [yes that was confusing for the weekend] spend rather a long while trying to get it to light at all, but eventually, Barn Owl found a large branch and when that caught alight the fire continued for hours. Another new experience was camp fire songs which of course is a direct corrolation from the campfire itself.

The final quintessentially camp experience was rain. We were lucky that the rain didn’t come until the last night. But it came overnight and it poured and poured. The grass we were pitched on became saturated and the tent me, Izzy and Rabbit was not the only one to had leaked quick dramatically. Tired and grumpy girls, tired and grumpy leaders and pouring rain certainly is an interesting combination.

At this camp, I also learnt that mass making hot chocolate is done using a giant jug and that waking up to a Brownie bringing you tea is a delightful wake-up call.

 

 

Other things, I relearnt include that sleeping in a tent is really uncomfortable and that my sleeping bag is particularly loud when you move around a lot in the night. All in all, I would really love the opportunity to attend another Brownie Camp if I was invited.

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Phase Three || International Octant

Begin Learning Danish

Learning Danish for me begun as a bit of a joke. I was working in Tiger at the time, which originates in Denmark, so I thought it would be fun to learn some Danish so I could show off to some of the customers. One thing and another happened and I am not longer working in said shop but what surprised me to the most is that I fell in love with the Danish language. When I began on Duolingo I was sure that I would not last long, many times I’ve tried learning other languages and not been able to stick with it, so I didn’t put much hope in myself for this.

I was wrong.

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The orange flame in the above picture signifies the number of days in a row I have been on duolingo and done a certain amount of language learning. At the time of marking this picture I was beaming with pride at having got a streak of 50 days, a few more days have passed since then and I am still continuing the streak with no plans of letting it end. My thoughts on learning Danish are pretty simple “Jeg Elsker Dig” – I love it.

Duolingo splits the learning of a language into sections beginning with ‘Basics’ and moving and increasing in complication. The site itself tries to motivate you with an owl by the name of Duo who gets upset if you don’t do your learnings.

 

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Duo who cries if you don’t work

In the time that I have been working on Duolingo at Danish, according to the website I have gotten to 48% fluency. I am not sure that I would feel confident in calling myself that level of fluent in Danish, but it is great to see how far I have come since my shaky beginning.

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As well as Duolingo, I have been doing some further studying in order to try and make what I learn stick better in my mind. I have a hardback notebook which is now dedicated to the Danish language and every time I learn something new, I make a note of it so I am able to come back to it. Like Duo itself, my notebook is split into sections. Examples of sections are animals, dates/time, people and pronouns, etc.

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As a way of bringing my own interest into the meeting place, I am going to be teaching my Brownies some basic Danish in a few weeks. We are working on the Communicators badge and one of the clauses we have decided to do is Language. For this, they have to learn to count to ten, introduce themselves and order food. I can’t wait to share my love for this language with them.

Here are two particularly interesting Danish words.

Somerfugle – Butterfly (Direct translation of Summer Bird)

Isbjørne – Polar Bear (Ice Bear)

 

 

Phase Three || Independence Living Octant

For this phase I want to write about when I was at college and going through the process of getting ready for university. Applying for and starting university was one of the most stressful periods of my life so far. Many times I sat down with my A-Level teacher discussing my best options and which course I felt like I should take. And then, choosing a course was only the smallest of steps along the way.

Countless hours were spent trying to explain how I was a good candidate in 4000 characters. Getting the necessary formal tone as well as a sense of my personality was important and lead to goodness only knows how many rewrites. In the end I must’ve found at least 5 ways of saying I loved literature and was passionate about writing – I was applying for Creative Writing.

Visiting the universities was important to me. I didn’t want to get into a university and find that I hated the location and hated the way it was set up. The first of the two open days I attended was at Winchester and meant getting a train at around 3 or 4am in order to get there for 9 or 10am. I had never been to Winchester before so this was a terrifying prospect, especially when I had to change trains in a station I didn’t know. However, I learnt a lot from that open day. I learnt that I didn’t want to be that far away from home as well as a lot about the whole workings of university. After that open day I felt better prepared for continuing applying and getting myself into university.

The second of the two open days I attended was at the university I ended up attending. It was only an hour away from home on the train and the open day was wonderful. I spent the majority of the day at the university. I got the chance to see different halls, the set up of the lecture and seminar classes, I was able to talk to students who were already there about the universities atmosphere. Most importantly for me, though, I was able to talk to one of the Creative Writing lecturers about the sorts of things involved in the course. By the time I left, I knew I wanted to go there.

After the rigmorale of writing a personal statement, applying, picking universities, explaining my health things and visiting, all that was left to do was wait, knowing that I had put everything I could into getting in. And then I got there and learnt that the whole independent living thing was only just beginning.