Written: August 25
So as of Thursday I will have been back in California for two weeks and it has been two of the longest weeks because I miss Camden so much.
On August 9th, my internship and mission trip with Urban Promise ended and I cannot even begin to tell you how amazing my summer was or what a life-changing and eye-opening experience it was or even how much I miss it even more.
On our last day, it was amazingly bittersweet day. I woke at 4am with a text message from Ricky saying that he had arrived in Kansas and in five hours he would be at his “home” in Kansas. We texted for awhile before he told me to go to bed, which I agreed and I feel asleep. I awoke at 5:30am to get ready for church. This summer I joined the UP International Gospel Choir again (third times the charm!) and we travel to different churches on Sundays to sing and raise money for Urban Promise and we sell merchandise. Since this was our last Sunday, we had a few different options and most of us all agreed to go on a trip to the Brooklyn Tabernacle. I got ready and headed to Urban Promise to meet up with the other interns, it was cold and rainy. Just after 6:30am we loaded up on an Urban Promise bus and headed for New York/Brooklyn. I slept laying across the seat most of the way. We arrived and our church relations director (momma) Jeri and our driver and their significant others went to search to park our big school bus while the rest of us headed for the Tabernacle, which was less than a block away from where we were dropped off. Because Jeri is amazing, she made “reservations” (I guess you could say) and we got to sit in the balcony. Man is it beautiful. Or should I say… God it is beautiful. The service was amazing and afterwards we went to the Bell Tower (the gift shop). I think several of us bought gifts and Marlyne, myself, and Brent were about the last three. Marlyne walked over with Cleveland (our choir director) to the restaurant and Brent waited for me and we walked over. We had some of the most amazing BBQ I’ve ever had. After an amazing lunch, we headed back to Urban Promise. Going to the Brooklyn Tabernacle was the perfect way to end the summer and our summer with choir.
When I arrived back at my house, the packing began. However, by the time we got back I had less than hour before we had to leave for Sunday service. Or as I like to call the last Sunday service… let the tears and goodbyes begin. We had dinner and had our last Sunday service where Bruce gave a brief message and we all shared stories about the summer and about things we will miss. We shared with everyone and with each other one on one. I shared with Brent how I will miss one of my camp kids Craig and how he always made me laugh and smile although he was up to no good most of the time. I talked about missing Camden and everyone there and all of the memories and inside jokes. I also shared two stories in front of everyone. The first, being that I hope this summer was enough. I pray and hope that everything I poured out this summer was enough to make an impact and a lasting impression that one day my camp kids will be street leaders and team leaders and field supervisors, and maybe even eventually directors and that they would share stories of old interns and bible buddies like my director and assistant director did this summer. I also said a thank you to my director Jacob and ad Pookie (Eduardo) for always making this summer fun and making me laugh even on the hottest or most difficult days. The tears flowed that night and we all drove home after service and after the tears and hugs and commenced.
We got home and the cleaning and packing began. I was trying to get everything done in time to get some sleep before the drive to Boston.
The team and I were having our debriefing and team time in the Boston area (Hopkinton, MA). While packing and cleaning there was a hang out going downstairs with some old streetleaders and housemates and so it was quite distracting. By the time I finished packing and had showered it was 3am and I hadn’t really heard back from Jacob. So I knew I needed to get sleep because I figured I would have to drive the first part because he came in late and would be really tired. So I went to bed and woke back up to put any last minute stuff in the van, so I only had an hour and fifteen minutes of sleep but brought along my dad’s MonaVie energy drinks.
It took us almost six hours to get to Boston and I drove about 3.5 of those hours. We stopped once for a quick pee break and I bought coffee and then stopped again to go pee and to switch drivers, so Jacob could drive since he slept while I was driving and then we stopped to get gas and then made it to our destination. Our destination was amazing, did I mention that? Back in October I flew out to the East Coast and stayed at my boss’ family house for his wedding and this was the same house we were at for debriefing. I became close with his family and his niece who is my age and so I asked them back in November or January and asked if it would be okay to bring the team and they agree.
We were treated like royalty. The fed us and just let us do our thing. Our thing was just resting and relaxing. We tanned the first day and had amazing white chicken chili. The second day we slept in and I made breakfast for the ladies and then we went swimming and relaxed and then we all got showered up and dolled up to go out to dinner. In the next town we went to a place called PreZo’s Sushi Bar and Grill and had an amazing dinner. However, the day before in Milford had found e-coli and so we couldn’t have water or have certain drinks or sodas during dinner because they were tap water and syrup-based. After dinner we rented some movies via a RedBox and bought ice cream for dessert. We began watching the movies and I made some brownies for everyone and then we went to bed. The next day we hung around the house and began the huge task of packing up all of our stuff and it took most of the day. Mary (our host) made us some amazing Boston Clam Chowder and shared her life story with us and we continued to relax and hang out. I stayed up super late finishing off totaling our summer’s receipts from spending and then went to bed. We all work up and were on the road by 6:30am and just beat traffic. We dropped off Carly first because her flight was earlier and into Boston and ours was two hours later into LAX.
We sat and played games in the airport and then six hours later we were back home although we all felt like a huge piece of us was missing because for the past two months Camden had become our home. For me, Camden is my second home and will eventually be my new home.
The Team representing camp shirt for our debrief sleepover including movies and brownies and ice cream.
The backs of our shirts.
The team read and all dolled up for our night out for dinner for debriefing!