Sunday July 13th

Dear Mister Diary,

Today is going to be the best day ever! This morning my brother Robert and our friend John went out to fish at five thirty in the morning. Those boys have tons of energy to keep them going from the earliest times to the latest. They woke me up with their rustling at about seven, when they had returned with a catch. Fortunately for my humanitarian side this is a "catch and release" lake, and the catch was allowed to remain in the lake, and not on my plate for fish pancakes. The three of us were leaving on a one week adventure trip into the Green Mountains of Vermont and the evergreen forests of New Hampshire. I dawdled around, playing with rubber balls that were remnants of once-whole childhood games. I used a bit of force on the green one against the wooden floor and it bounced up higher than me to the ceiling. It returned with another sprightly bounce to the floor in gravity's will. I took the ball outside to the pavement and I bounced it even higher. Higher and higher it went until bounced on a teensy rock that sent it shooting into the underbrush. It was too much trouble to look for something like that. Bigger and more valuable things had been sent to rest in that mush of plants.

"Liz it's lunchtime," John called out to me.

"Alright I'll be in soon," I replied.

My pace was leisurely as I walked to the back patio. I sat myself in a green cast iron chair and began to chow down on some marvelous macaroni n cheese. It was nice to have such a yummy meal knowing that the next week our meals weren't going to be the nicest homemade delicacies. After we cleaned up, John, Robert, and I loaded up our bags into the car. The door closed and we set off for a 15 minute drive to Camp Sandakan, a residential camp that offered these one week adventure camps. The infamous roller coaster road set my mind racing back to the previous trip.

There were ten of the kids and three counselors. I remembered two out of the three counselors. The seventeen year old assistant whose name I would never remember had been evil and we knew she secretly listened to our confiscated iPod's while we slept. The male leader was Whitford, a cool cat who reminded us of a Greek marathoner stuck in the present day. (His baggy white shorts and teva sandals greatly contributed to this theory) The female leader was Liza, and she was bags of fun. She wore Keen sandals and looked like a crab. Then there were the three tents. We had Tent Stupidity, which consisted of Robert, Sam, Willy, and Mason. Sam and Willy were best friends from central Jersey. Mason was a bubble of fun from Oregon. There was the other girl Parker and I who slept in The Lilac Palace, our tent was kept the cleanest and driest. Then there were the others. There was Ross, Oliver, Ben and Jeremy who at best could be described as mediocre. Jeremy was hooked on the multi-personality idea of being three different people and not knowing who the others were. Then of course he had Jeremiah, Joshua, and Jeremy as his different "people". He tested them out, a different one every day. Oliver and Ben were cousins and slimy hairballs who didn't know the word hygiene. Ross was a sweetheart though, and he was a talented actor. However, it was four to a tent and he couldn't stay with us.

Robert and I laughed about all of these weird trips we had been on. John had just joined us for this one only, he had been on a different trip last year but with the same counselors. Well we continued on our way, over the rollercoaster road. I secretly believed that it was meant to give the campers the experience of riding a rollercoaster and that feeling that when you got there, that the worst part was over and wasn't that fun? This gives camp a very exciting feeling and that was what I was feeling when I pulled open my door and planted my foot onto dirt. Something was different, something good mysteriously hid itself in the distance. The three of us unloaded the bags from the back of our car and plopped them down next to the white van with Camp Sandakan printed in black letters on the sides. Only one of the counselors was there, we were told the other two were packing up the last of the supplies in the kitchen. She had a blonde fluffy pelt of hair and was a short and stocky but well dressed.

"Hey Guys- I'm Alex Smith, but you can just call me Alex," She introduced herself.

We all introduced ourselves to her and were shy about introducing ourselves to the other kids, but we got over our fears. There was a guy, Miles, who wore baggy athletic shorts, a red sox shirt that had no player's name, and a red sox hat atop his floppy mop of brown curly hair. He had a shy composure and deep brown eyes that knew more than they told. The other traveler that was already there was Nicky, a young dude of eleven years who wore a soccer t-shirt, and soccer shorts with indoor soccer cleats as sneakers. He had a big grin for a smile and a warming aura. From the dirt path leading to the main camp came our Greek marathoner, Whitford. He wore a Camp Sandakan counselor shirt affixed with a white name tag with "Whitford" engraved.

"Whitford!" I exclaimed as I ran to give him a big hug.

"You guys came back to have another amazing week didn't you? John, my man, you too? This is going to be sweet! Guess who else is on our little list?" Whitford asked us.

"You've got us who?" Robert asked.

"I suppose we are just going to have to find out, now aren't we?" Whitford replied. "Hey can you guys load all this stuff into the waterproof bags we're going to use. Try to pack all the bags in there really tightly. Keep your carry-on stuff in the van and keep out your towel; we've got to take the swim test. And take out another change of clothes; it'll come handy after we get out of the water."

I had already been prepared and had all my carry-on stuff in a bag, and the towel and swim suit out and ready to put on.

"Liz, I um. I have a problem. Major problem, we're going to be in the water in less than twenty minutes. I forgot my towel." Robert told me.

I could not retain my laughter at such a stupid mistake. I asked him if he really understands that we were going on a trip where we would be canoeing, swimming, and taking showers on occasion. He said he did. Our mother was so furious that he could be so stupid. We quickly resolved the problem by having Robert borrow one of John's towels. It was then when the third and final counselor walked out from the kitchen, I knew he was going to be awesome. He had a ghetto brown Boston red sox hat on backwards, and the green camp shirt. He walked around like the king of the world, and I knew that he was hiding behind some shield. He called Whitford over to help him with some boxes. I couldn't tell what he was trying to hide from us, but there was something there. He finally came within a ten foot radius and I introduced myself. He had piercing ice blue eyes and they made me freeze with caution. The ice melted from the color and it was just a friendly blue after we shook each other's hands.

"The name's Drew," He said. "How's it going?"

"Alright I suppose, there's only one girl so far, which could be problematic. I hope that's resolved quickly."

"That won't be a problem there are two more on our list. Here comes another car now, maybe it's another girl for you."

A small silver car pulled into the dirt lot. It had just been washed; the clean smell of carwashing agents didn't match the natural scents that had been present moments before. The yellow and black jersey plates triggered my memory. The door handle clicked and out walked Sam. On the opposite side, Willie left the car as well. Willie hadn't changed a bit, except maybe an inch or two taller. He still had the skinny little legs and the big nose that I adored. He had big chocolaty brown eyes and the lizard like stance, slightly hunched and always peering around. Then there was Sam. He had become absolutely gorgeous. The year previous he had been very thick and he had short matted hair and gross teeth. Now he was stunning. He had on aviator sunglasses a plain white t-shirt, Dartmouth shorts and retro Nike kicks. His chunky body had thinned out and he was now taller than me. His gorgeous light brown curls were so perfect on him. He had the body of an athlete and I was jealous beyond belief. Willie got to me first, with a big hug. His scrawny little grip knocked me out of breath. What a year can do to a person astounded me. Willie still had the funniest little quirks, I was glad nothing had changed. We had kept in contact through the fall, but then we lost touch. Sam had remained a secret mystery to me. Willie went over to high five Robert and Sam came over to me. He took off his aviators with one swell swoop.

"It's Liz right?" He asked me.

"Yeah it is. You're still Sam I suppose." I said.

"Still am. You look different."

"Is that supposed to be a good thing? Or are you just making fun of me?"

"No of course I'm not making fun of you. It's just you look different than what I remembered you looked like. It's like you're new and old all at the same time."

"Well you look different than when I remember as well, you've grown a ton. You let your hair grown longer, and you are a lot more in shape. Did you pick up a summer sport?"

"I run cross-country with Willie. It got really boring in Jersey so I picked it up. People say I'm going to be a winner once the season starts. I don't know I've never tried to run against anyone yet, I just go out at six in the morning and run away from the real world. It's exhilarating for me to be running on one person wide dirt paths. It makes me feel good about myself. This week is for relaxing though. We're going mountain biking, rock climbing, and who knows what else. This is going to be awesome. "

"Yeah, awesome." I agreed.

Another few cars had pulled up during the time that Sam and I had been talking. It was quite the commotion as I was introduced to a girl named Kira, and a dude named Spencer. (Not related). Spencer wore a muscle tee and was twelve and from the beginning I knew he was annoying. Kira seemed like a nice girl and she had really pretty eyes. We all waited for the last girl to arrive and she was the bomb. Her name was Alex too and she was so legit amazing. She walked and talked like a real New Hampshire native and I knew then as well we would be the best of friends.

We waved goodbye to our parents and we went to take our swim test. Robert and I saw our little sister who was at the residential camp and wished her a happy birthday, which we would be missing. We got into the water in the lake and were told to swim four lengths back and forth. Alex, Kira, Nicky, Miles and I all got in the water for the second group. We all swam with our heads out of the water, chatting. We then had to tread water for two minutes so the counselors passed the time by asking us what our life accomplishments were.

"I can speak Spanish pretty well, enough to be well understood in Spain and Mexico." I said.

"I survived cancer." Kira said.

We all turned in shock to see her casually still treading on.

"I feel pretty outdone right now. That's so great that you survived that." I said.

No one else said anything, nothing could top what Kira had beat. She smiled at my response. The five other boys had already finished and were toweling off on land. We finally headed for the bathrooms to change back. There was idle chit chat in the bathroom and we were glad to be women, the guys took forever. We filled up our water bottles, loaded everyone into the van and started our first ride together. I pulled out my camera and started to take pictures of the girls and I. Alex grabbed the camera and took a goofy picture of me too. It was about an hour and a half drive to wherever we were and I had to go to the bathroom. Car rides make me have to go for whatever reason.

After I had relieved myself in the bathroom, we set up our tents and our canopy that was to keep our picnic table dry. We went on our first wood scavenging adventure. Alex and I went together picking up branches and such. It was fun to be looking around on the ground for these twigs because you could keep running into people in the dark. We finally got enough wood and we allowed to go wash our hands for dinner. We examined the facilities, not bad they were an okay blue color and the toilets worked. The showers were pay showers so we didn't know how they would work quite yet.

We ate a hearty dinner and settled in for some orientation games. We played flinch, a rousing game which needs eight people or so. One person stands in the middle with a ball and the rest are evenly spaced in a circle. The middleman, called the Flinchmaster, is to try and get everyone out. The people in the circle have their hands behind their backs, not linked. The flinchmaster can throw the ball or fake it. If the person moves and the ball hadn't been thrown then they are out. We played about five rounds of that game. It was nighttime and the girls all lay awake talking. Kira told us that she liked John and that she thought he was cute. I told them I was considering liking Sam. We all fell asleep quickly enough. That was the end of day one mister diary. Doesn't it sound like it's going to be a great week?