We are back from summer camp. I´m back in Berlin, sitting in my room after 12 hours of sleep, still so tired and still buzzing from our 2 weeks of craziness, art, love and everything that´s worse than a party.

What a time we had!

I have so many fond memories of our 2 weeks in Dale that I don´t really know where to begin.
The biggest, greatest and most amazing thing have to be the people I met. Artists from all over the place and from various disciplines. Observe them working, talking about their work and my work and getting to see it every night at our after-dinner sharing sessions, has been so interesting and valuable. Learning about other artist´s processes and building a network of many different artists is invaluable. I can hardly express how comfortable and understood it has made me feel to be around people, who share your views, your way of thinking and living. It didn´t take long for me to feel at home in this tiny little village in West Wales. And I haven´t even mentioned the friendships that have grown around and within the safe walls of Dale Fort.

We danced and laughed and cried and ate and worked and struggled. We left our comfort zones and put ourselves out there, always risking to be misunderstood or hurt or criticised. We have felt so safe that we were able to do this without further damage. We have trusted and, the way I experienced it, have been rewarded for doing so. We have made mistakes and have apologised and been forgiving. We have grown together and apart and in different ways.

We have learned about NTW, about marketing and finance and approaching venues, about TEAM and WalesLab and the Arts Council and they have learned about us. We have attended and enjoyed 'Feedback corner' (please imagine this title in a singing voice) and we have had the time of our lives at the Dale fete, where we got beaten at the raft race by two five year olds (sorry guys, you know this happened). 

We have had wine and talks and irritation. We have been supported and pushed further in our vision, closer to who we could and/or would like to become.

Kirsty- please let me know how I can become as cool as you. Thank you. Safe travels around Wales!

Anna- please teach me how to hula hoop. Thank you for talking to me at the gate in front of the entrance to the port one warm summer´s night. Hope you had a great time in Germany!

Aisla- thank you for allowing me to face my fear of the dark. Art that can challenge is valuable. See you at the next TEAM event.

Farah- thank you for making me laugh and for asking my opinion on different things. It made me feel appreciated.

Sherrall- I´m still thinking about our adventurous coach ride, haha. Thank you for sharing your piece with me and everyone else. I know how close it is to your heart.

Ben- oh Ben, thank you for so much. For your jokes and your optimism in times we thought we might die. 

Heloise- I hope the beacon can see what I see and will make a little more of an effort to get it!

Heeran- thank you for introducing me to your art. Enjoy Edinburgh and come back to Europe soon.

Simon- thank you for having me and taking me with you on summer camp.For being so funny and for making me feel safe.

Catrin- I can´t stop listening to 'The Most Beautiful Girl in the World.' Thank you for your words and the wine and disturbing stories about seagulls.

Verena- thanks for making me look for a mouse that was never lost, haha. I´m only joking, that was really awful of you. Thank you for sharing stories and experiences with me about what it means to live in a foreign country.

Catriona- thank you for teaching me to hula hoop, sorry I didn´t manage to learn it. And thanks for the story about the vomit point. I mean you saved some lives and all but I just can´t get the words 'vomit point' out of my head.

Rebecca- well done on your wedding speech and I´m glad and also a little sad that you didn´t have to do the thing with your arms in order to make people laugh. Thank you for making me feel a little less lost during our first couple of days in the Fort.

Katherine- thank you again for the lovely label on the notebooks, I can´t get over how much I like it. Thanks for being patient and teaching me how to drive the spaceship/beast/ pimp mobil.

Rachel- thank you for making me feel. 

Hazel- I´m a little bit in love with you.

Josh- so unhappy you didn't turn up for lunch in Berlin yesterday. Haha. Thanks for all the good times. Hope to see you soon!

Dom- yeah I have nothing to say. Haha. Come on, one last time!

Jack- I`m so happy my kind of stalkerish wish of us becoming friends became true. 

Jac- I´m so glad you were there.

Sojung- thank you for the sunshine you brought with you every day and for making us listen to Rachel`s and Jack`s dirty talking. Come back soon!

Catherine- thanks for one awesome barbeque and all the help and patience before summer camp. Have a great time in Edinburgh!

Tina- I can still see you dance when I close my eyes.

I feel like I have so much more to say but as I have learned in summer camp, if blog posts are too long no one can be bothered to read them, which I guess is fair enough. (I can see how it might look like I ignored this rule a little judging by the length of this post). So, I´ll leave you with one of the many, many videos that have been made during our time at WalesLab summer camp and hope you enjoy it.

I understand that this blog post has been rather sentimental, so if you would like to know more about WalesLab summer camp and my experience there, please feel free to drop me a message at any time. You can also relive parts of our journey if you go on twitter and find #ntwsummercamp and #ntwsummercamp14.

I might go out and see what Berlin has been up to the past weeks and try to stay away from sending everyone messages about how much I miss them and how I feel a little lost right now. I´m not sure they are ready for waves of Christina-sentiment yet. But then, measured by the flood of summer camp videos and picures filling up my facebook newsfeed right now (I love it!), I think they might just feel the same.

Hope to see you again very soon guys, I´m thinking of you!

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Comment by Farah Allibhai on August 9, 2014 at 10:54

Thank you Christina for bearing and sharing, Summer Camp would not have been the same without you for sure. What the heck Christina your amazing! (I know that feels like me giving you a hug for no good reason but has to be said)


Comment by Christina Handke on August 8, 2014 at 23:56

Thank you guys x

Comment by Heloise Godfrey-Talbot on August 7, 2014 at 19:26

Beautiful Christina thank you x

Comment by Ben Tinniswood on August 6, 2014 at 9:26

A beautiful Blog post. So much so, I can't think of a witty comment to put here. (Mind you, if I did, Simon would just nick it & repeat it in front of everyone.)

Comment by Christina Handke on August 5, 2014 at 20:01

Fair point! I hope it`ll also involve saving lives x

Comment by Catriona James on August 5, 2014 at 19:55

One day you'll meet your vomit point. And I hope you make the right choice when you do. x

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