When I first arrived here, I had no idea how close I was going to become with my cabin mates. Just recently, I was reminded that on arrival day, me and one of my cabin mates were the first to come and unpacked everything in almost complete silence. We now look back and laugh since we can’t even keep a straight face when we’re together. I’m still in disbelief about how close we’ve gotten in just such a short while; every single one of us is best friends with each other, and we’re always having a good time together.
The bonding started during orientation week. Almost every night we would sit on each other’s beds sharing stories about our lives. We had a lot of laughs, and got pretty deep as well, never refraining from sharing too much because we already knew that we could trust each other. Because of the Covid protocol, our cabin mates were the only people we could get close to and be maskless around for the first couple weeks. Although I love being able to interact with the other students maskless now that the mandate has been lifted, the first couple weeks were super fun too because I was able to get incredibly close to my cabin!
One of the most distinct memories I have from the beginning of Chewonki was the first Saturday night. I can’t remember who suggested it, but we all agreed that we needed to dress up and have a dance party. The only thing was that we didn’t have a radio or any sort of speaker, but we got an idea. We would go to the boys cabin next door, and use our nicest voices and ask for their radio and extension cord. They willingly gave us them, and it was the start to our love for the cabin Gordy. There’s even a ship name for us which is “Gorchy.” We ran back to the cabin and changed into our best dresses and outfits, doing our makeup too. Although the attire was all over the place, with me wearing my prom dress and blonde wig, someone else in a long black dress and pearls, we all fit in with one another. Each of us coming from different backgrounds, communities, and locations around the country, it was incredibly easy to get close to one another and have so much fun right off the bat. We danced around the cabin, both slow and fast songs, and it was some of the most fun I’ve ever had.
This was just the first of many times, and still more to come, where we had an incredible amount of fun together. After the mask mandate was lifted, inviting people over was the next big thing, and we soon became the party cabin. On the weekends, lots of people would come to Orchard to make jewelry like bracelets and rings, make art, have cuddle puddles, and listen to live music (electric and acoustic guitar with singing too!). We even made a mega bed one time. During every semester, each cabin is able to plan a Saturday night activity, and since so many people enjoyed the atmosphere, we have gotten multiple requests for our cabin to plan a prom. Our cabin has a very artsy vibe, and we’ve made a lot of fun decorations to go along with it. We designated the table as the art table, and it always has some sort of craft supplies on it whether it be watercolors, knitting, or colored pencils. We’ve had a lot of fun making various funny posters around the cabin, including one that says “Gorchy” and a chiasmus/word of the day. We’ve also added some interesting banners from various objects we’ve found like pine cones and mushrooms, or forestry tape streamers. Overall, our cabin has a lot of personality to say the least, however weird the decorations may be.
We have had an amazing time so far, and I know there’s so many more memories waiting to be made. I always look forward to our nightly drama spill after study hours about what’s been going on with all of us in our friendships and relationships. Just yesterday I mentioned to one of my cabin mates that I was going back home after the end of the day, and I really meant it. My cabinmates feel like my family and my cabin feels like my home. At the end of the day, both literally and figuratively, my cabin mates will always be there for me. Whether I need a shoulder to cry on, someone to cut my hair in the Hilton bathroom, a friend to feed chickens with, or someone to laugh at an inside joke with (we have many), I know Orchard will be there for me.
Arianna Roeder-Fabos, Amherst Regional High School, Amherst, MA