My worries have subsided a bit - here's how my first phone conversation went with Arda, after four days of camp:
A: Hi mom
Z: Hi honey, how are you?
Z: Are you having fun?
A: Yeah. We have so much fun here that we don't want to go to bed but we end up falling asleep really quickly. I guess I get tired after all the fun.
Z: (worried that he's totally making that up so as not to let his feelings out) So, what activities do you like the best?
A: We spent the night on the mountain, in a tent last night.
Z: That sounds great.
A: We giggled so much they told us to be quiet like 20 times.
You know what, we have the biggest room in camp.
Z: Who else is in your room?
A: (counts four boys' names, plus his coach) We have the biggest room. It's great. And we get to shower at 6PM every day. Then we play games all night. And we dance.
Z: How about basketball?
A: We have practice, umm, three times I think, but mostly we play. And it's here. I used all my sweatshirts. But they're not dirty. I used my windbreaker last night. And that's not dirty. And my shoes are perfect. They're not dirty either.
Z: Well, it's OK if they get dirty, your coach can tell you how to clean them, or I can send you extras after the weekend.
A: It's OK. I can manage. Oh, I get your emails. And my cousin sent me an email. There was a picture. He wrote that my uncle looks stupid. I laughed really hard. I showed it to all my friends. They laughed, too.
Z: Your brother wants to say hi (I put him on speakerphone)
Tunca: Hi Arda. I miss you (and he gets teary eyed). I miss you.
A: I miss you, too. Are you OK
T: Mom, you speak
Z: Tunca is great. He is going to summer school and swims everyday.
A: Tell him we can't swim here. Maybe this weekend we can swim. I don't know. Tell him there is no pool.
Z: OK. I'll tell him.
A: I have to go.
Z: OK. I miss you! I Love you! We'll talk on Monday.
A: I miss you, too. Yes. Write me emails. I got two emails one day, July 3rd. I got my uncles and my father's as well. I can't write back, though. I don't have a computer.
Z: I'll write to you, don't worry.
Z: Bye honey.
Then I spoke his room coach for a few minutes. He said everything was great, that ARda was really doing well, and he was getting along with everyone.
So I feel better. I still miss him. But I definitely feel better.
Burak also spoke to Arda later, and he said that Arda really sounded happy as well. Ufuk, the room coach, said they have a 16 km hike tomorrow. Yikes. I hope he's mistaken and that's 6km. There's no way Arda can hike 16 kms. I can't hike 16 kms.