Thursday, July 24

Summer Lovin'

Having spent a good many of my working years sharing a job/vacation schedule which echoes my children's school year, I have yet to grow out of the anticipation and thrill of arriving at summer vacation.

The school year here in Holland is an extended year lasting roughly 190 school days. And while the schedule is filled with (lovely) intermittent breaks at half-term and semester end the length of the year can feel a bit daunting and the march to "last day" slightly overwhelming.

I made a post-it note countdown on the window frame in my office to see if it would help make the days go faster. It helped a little bit. But still the long term between mid-May and school's end last week felt a bit eternal.

But then it happened. The last day of school arrived and with it some tender goodbyes from our Year 6 students as they will head to the Secondary school in the fall, and lots of well wishes for a restful and fun break from parents and colleagues. Oh, and there were gifts. Many of them in the form of chocolate, and seriously, who couldn't get excited about that?

That was Friday last and with two further days this week to finish up the administration of the year my actual last day of school came on Tuesday of this week.

I am now officially on holiday.

There are travel plans of course, but mostly there are plans to do just...hmmm... nothing. Yes, lots and lots of nothing.

I remember nothing days in my childhood. There was a large group of pine trees at the top of my street in Salt Lake City, Utah. I think it was maybe 5 0r 6 trees in a cluster and all were tall enough that the lowest branches sprouted from the trunk several feet up and then dropped low to the ground creating the perfect natural cave underneath. With a thick blanket of pine needles covering the ground it was a cozy spot for all my imaginative play and tea parties with doll friends. The shade was an ideal respite from summer sun and it was a quiet place of my own to read, or to think, or yeah, to just do nothing. I never was able to coax my mom into letting me sleep out under my tree cave, but I used to dream that I was doing just that and in my dreams it was the sweetest night sleep ever.

Nothing days also included walks to the Winder Dairy to choose ice cream or popsicles from the freezer shelves inside the mini-store.

Nothing days meant swimming at the city pool with all the neighbors in tow. All of us piled into the Ambassador station wagon, hot sweaty legs clad in shorts sticking to the naugahyde seats.

Nothing days were for hamburgers on the grill in the backyard. And spaghetti nights with the Italian family in the corner house.

Nothing days were nothing short of wonderful.
And I am facing now a summer break full of them.

The first part of our holiday will include a full family trip to Croatia after which Don and big kids will head to the U.S. for an extended visit with family and friends. Andrew and I will spend our time here together while they are away and as he and I have contemplated and discussed our "time alone" together in August he has created the list of important things we should do. That list reads like this:

1. Walk to the farm and feed the goats.

2. Go to the Aquarium at the beach.

3. Watch Kung Fu Panda at the movies.

Seems like a perfect summer of nothingness to me.

Picture me blogging from here for the duration:


  1. Oh, man - nothing days! I am SO jealous!

    Enjoy - you deserve them.

  2. Ahhh, it sounds wonderful. Now, just make sure you do actually BLOG from that chair... :-D

  3. Oh I love it - you brought up great "nothing" memories of my own!!!!

    Did you ever make cardboard box houses out of old refrigerator and dishwasher boxes???

    The best "nothing" memory has to be climing cherry trees and claiming entire branches as our own and then eating cherries until we were sick!!!

  4. Oh, my parents didn't let me have nothing days...I always went to sleep away camp when I was young. Camp was fun mind you, but it sure would've been nice to just sleep a day away at home...closest I came was playing on my street with all 200+ kids--skateboarding for HOURS and just running around the me a warm fuzzy feeling!

  5. Enjoy your long awaited vacation period!!!!!! enjoy enjoy enjoy your nothing days! Nothing days are precious. I never understood people that started feel bored in the summer ! enjoy it!

    but I would enjoy it if your nothing days still include some blogging :p. Yeah I know, I am selfish.

    And don't forget: visits to Leuven could be fun as well :p. Are you still around next Tuesday? I come back from some workshops at Heineken near Leiden, but I suppose I'd better avoid evening traffic around Rotterdam by first having a meal in Leiden/The Hague or somewhere. Or is there no traffic jams in summer?

    (ps: the Looking Into queue seem to have fallen dry)

  6. Oh, enjoy your nothingness.... sounds lovely.

  7. I aspire to a career with an August full of nothing days...

  8. I really miss those nothing days of childhood. Running around and playing with friends . . . sitting in the shade to escape the heat . . . listening to a chorus of frogs and crickets in the evening.

    Enjoy your time off!

  9. I love those "nothing days." I am determined to have at least one of them every week. After all, even God rested after six days, right?

  10. I thought that chair belonged to mister Andrew.

  11. Doesn't everything belong to Mister Andrew?

  12. Oh, I love summer and for this very reason. Nothing days! They are good for the heart and soul.