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The pool at Cal State Fullerton is open from 7:30 to 5:30. We leave CSUF for work at 7 and return at 6:30. I think the conclusion is clear here: I can’t swim during the week. I didn’t realize how much swimming allowed me to process everything that was going on in my life until I didn’t have it anymore. Without mandatory deprivation of any outside stimulus other than water, I rarely have any other time where I put everything: phone, music, movies, books, people, completely away and just think. We finally had some time this past weekend to just relax for a few hours, and I swam for a bit, and I thought.

This summer is flying by. And I mean flying. We spent three weeks prepping for camp. We’re three weeks into camp. And we only have two weeks left. Honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever had such a short period of time so varied in my life. I’ve been extremely happy, down in the dumps, completely stressed out, perfectly relaxed, and every state in between. Furthermore, camp has made me reflect almost an overbearing amount on myself, my upbringing, my life, my country, and even my universe. Living in a completely new area of the world with such a different population from the south (where I’m from), has sparked, even ignited, interests in culture, art, history, and more. Now I know this all sounds cheesy and fake, but ask anyone here or my friends from home. I am so, so curious about people’s experiences of the world, influenced by location, culture, close friends, family, experiences, everything someone has lived through. From being around the really rich to the really poor and everyone in between,  the differences in thinking processes and reasoning are fascinating.

Girls, Inc. gave each of us a journal and I started writing down my ideas, thoughts, and things I heard. Some snippets of my brain:

  • I can’t get mad at these girls. They’ve gone through so, so much.
  • If China is superimposed on the continental US, it’s approximately the same size and shape, although a little bigger.
  • The 9th graders were so excited to play soccer, volleyball, and ultimate on a beautiful day, an unexpected relief.
  • Coding the Lego EV3s improved over the week. The girls finally think coding can be fun!
  • The juxtaposition of the streetlight with the palm tree reflects the continual interaction of the bustling city of LA with the pacific swells of the ocean waves.
  • I feel like I have no right to complain about anything. Some of these kids have nothing. They go home after camp to stress and uncertainty.
  • It has to be so hard to be poor in a county abundant in wealth and tourism.
  • You drive on any road and wonder how it makes sense that so many drive Teslas and BMWs.
  • The OC is a great illustration of the wealth gap.
  • Unadulterated happiness only comes at the most unexpected moments.
  • Every single one of the campers grows up bilingual, straddling American and Latino culture.
  • It’s cool to see that LA and OC embrace that, with announcements in English and Spanish.
  • Places like Disneyland and Knott’s Berry Farm seem like extraneous expenses at first glance, especially for someone already on a tight budget, but they allow kids to forget their troubles for a day and just have fun. An example of understanding why people do what they do.
  • It’s so important to listen and understand opposing points of view.
  • I wonder if the lack of green space contributes to stress, because it definitely affects me.
  • Double-single. Animal style. Protein style.

I can’t believe there’s only a week of camp left. This summer has been the most engaging of my life in every way, and I can’t believe it’s coming to an end already.