The scent of pancakes, coffee and fried eggs, and of clothing worn sitting by the campfire.
My ears hear the laughter, mumbling, singing along to the music, arguing whether it is enough peanut butter on their toast, already loaded with chocolate and jam. Through my closed eyes, I see the brightness of the gas stove flame enlighten the tiny kitchen tent, where dozens of people are chatting, laughing, and cooking.
It is quarter past four in the morning of our last day all together on IYC:
“Hey Helen do you think you’re gonna stay up all night?” I hear someone yelling from the opposite side of the tent.
Opening my eyes, a big smile decorates my face thinking of the fact that all these loving people were strangers two weeks ago.
“Of course! I never want this to end!”
I found IYC through the internet by accident and thought “This looks quite lovely. I’m gonna join this camp”. After a surprisingly easy and spontaneous registration just two weeks before the camp started, the day of my travel to Belgium came.
I was quite anxious about the thought of getting to know so many people in such a short amount of time and speaking English 24/7 is a big step out of my comfort zone. However, my worries got immediately proven wrong after my arrival. Every single hug, good conversation, song, hiked kilometer, delicious meal, a tiny bit of sunshine in between the rain, every remembered name, a moment of silence or loudness, evenings at the campfire, playing a game, and just chilling in the forest. All this made my stay on this random field in Belgium, far from civilization, a picture-perfect summer.
• Helen Wolf, participant of IYC 2021 •
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