Kathryn Cehrs, Iowa State
Life As a Vet Student, Entry
My most random job occurred in the summer of 2012. I lifeguarded for a week at an Armenian Orthodox Youth Camp in the Sierra Nevada mountains in California (Hye Camp). This might not seem unusual except that I am not Armenian, related to any Armenians, or in a relationship with an Armenian. I was one of 4 people in the camp who did not have dark hair. It was an odd feeling being the only non-Armenian in a camp with over 100 people. I felt very ignorant at first. I wasn’t even sure if Armenia was an independent nation (it is) or a region in a different country (not). I had a vague idea where the country was located (near Turkey), but I couldn’t find it on a map.
Despite being the odd one out in the camp, I had a great opportunity to learn about another culture. The Armenians are fiercely proud of their heritage, something I am not familiar with as my heritage is mixed and far removed from Europe. As a whole, they are very highly educated and high achievers. And their food is fantastic, even though my tongue hurt a little from the amount of lemon and garlic. They had backgammon tournaments, a history hour, cooking and dancing lessons along with the more typical summer camp activities. I spent most of my time down at the waterfront on the job, but still had time to participate in a lot of the activities. My favorite was the traditional Armenian dancing. It was a ton of fun and involved fast music and a lot of fancy footwork.
Overall it was a great experience and I learned a lot: about their culture, and also how to relate to people I knew little about.