“Dwell on the beauty of life. Watch the stars and see yourself running with them.”
– Marcus Aurelius “Meditations” –
We decided to skip the practice, let the kids sleep in and do a feedback roundtable instead. Somehow the broken schedule at the start of the camp was pulling itself through it and we had to adjust either on the fly or move some stuff around. Summed up, the kids were happy with the new plan and so were we.
Interesting development in the feedback roundtable – it was calmer and more often than not, we would hear only one person speaking. This was a pleasant experience – the kids had not only grown individually and but also together as a group and just after a few days they held themselves accountable and demanded respect for each other.
Breakfast and go! Hiking trip. Which I personally find a spectacular activity to indulge in while visiting Romania. The nature here is just… go visit it, you will understand. There are places in the landscape I did not even know were missing in my life. Just pure, raw beauty. On our way to Székelyvarság we make a brief stop in Zetelaka county at the Zetea lake, part of Târnava Mare River. Breathtaking spot. Afterwards we continue to Székelyvarság, the biggest scattered village in Harghita county (if not in all of Romania), area coverage is about 77km² and the population is only a little bit over 1500 people. To get there we must turn down to a dirt road and make our way to the start of the trail.
Once we arrive at our destination the commando is to get enough sun screen on and let’s go. It is very hot, and the sun is burning. We must endure the heat until we get deep enough into the woods as the trees would present us with shade. A true gift in the heat of the bright summer sun. We would even encounter a small waterfall with ice cold water, a nice place to take a picture or just to cool off. Not long after we get to a camping place where the bus drivers have already brought the grill down and are preparing the charcoal. All we have to do is amuse ourselves with some group games and chit-chat until the meat and grilled cheese are ready to satisfy our hunger.
Afterwards we do continue further to a watchtower and there it is, the whole county at our feet. It’s a staggering sight to behold – all those fields and woods, but this is only one village. Only a bit over 1500 people lives here. Just mind boggling.
Psychologists say that best rewards are the ones you receive randomly and after hard work. The hard work part was behind us – walking on a day as hot as this one. Now it was a time for a “random reward” – a downhill ride with a tricycle! So much fun and nobody skipped it! Some went faster, some slower, but everyone indulged in the action of racing down the hill on a tricycle. Pure joy.
Now it was time to leave this day behind us and get back to Pension where Irenke would await us with delicious dinner like every evening. I secretly think she holds us as her grandchildren, there is no other explanation.
Sleeping outside. There is always something magical about it, this hasn’t changed since I was a kid. My hope is that this will become magical for our Hellenen youth, too. We put up some blankets beneath the sleeping bags on our outside court. When is the last time you slept outside in the middle of Transylvania on an open basketball court? Exactly.
First, we do our feedback round. The group has become even more solid. They share their experiences and opinions, agree and disagree. Then something happens that according to Sandy and Miri has never happened before – kids ask for OUR feedback. Not only that, they even want to thank us directly, now
and there with majestic two-finger-claps. We could not be prouder of them and all the development they have made in the past days. This is the part where the coaches and Orga staff think to themselves – that’s it, we hit the spot just right this time.
One, two hours ago, where it was just getting dark outside, we could have not really imagined what we were seeing then. From mostly cloudy, the skies had turned into a clear ocean of bright, beautiful stars. Not a single cloud covering them up. It’s just one of those days you get it all. If that wasn’t enough – shooting stars. Tens of them, it felt like the sky had put up a show just for us, sometimes so bright it could be mistaken for a lightning strike or fireworks.
Well, and if the company is right – sleep likes to hide. I am sure to say, that most of us slept a bit less than necessary, some not at all. This would be a challenge for our future selves, this night we decide to enjoy the magic of starry night and each other’s company, and some just start a practice session right after at 06:00 when the first rays of sun appeared.