Campfire under the Starry Sky

This is a memory from the time when I was six.

In July, my kindergarten hosts an overnight trip for all the kids of my year. We rent a bus and stay at a small village on the foot of Mt. Zao.

We have all looked forward to this day for so long. Our brilliant teachers have arranged this trip in such a way that makes us feel as if we were the characters of the adventure story that they have been reading to us for the past several months.

I leave home with a red Snoopy backpack, fully packed with my pajamas, water bottle and snacks. My two best friends are also with me. This is the first time I will be staying overnight with them, and that makes this trip even more special.

Once at the lodge, we change into our activity clothes, leave our belongings with the caretaker, and start exploring the surrounding forest. Our teachers have created a scavenger hunt in the forest based on the adventure story, and our mission is to answer questions and collect requested items along the way. By the time we reach the end of the hunt, I totally believe that the story has come true in my real life.

In the evening, we sit around the campfire and sing songs and dance – our month-long practice coming to fruition. I am enthralled by the magnificent view of the burning fire, the smoky scent that fills the air, and the powerful togetherness as we sing and dance under the starry sky.

After the long evening, we go back to the lodge to sleep. The futon bedding covers the entire floors of the two large rooms allotted to us. Some of us have fun throwing pillows, but before long, the room becomes silent as we all drift off to sleep, taken out by exhaustion of the adventurous day.