I was watching photos from our honeymoon on Curacao, again, thinking that if/when we have kids, we will take them on trips to show them beautiful places. So that they wouldn’t miss on it and learn about the world since young age. But then I thought about my childhood, my summers, my vacations. We rarely traveled further than 100 km away from home, never left Poland, I haven’t even swum in the sea until I was around 19-20 years old. We had a rather modest life, being a big family (I have four siblings) living in a small town. But I never felt I am missing on anything. I didn’t know anything else, so maybe that’s why. I was a happy kid, enjoying summer every year, having fun and now keeping all the memories in my heart.
So what did we do during summer? First of all, we were always with my mom, because she was also at home. She’s a teacher so she has long vacation as well. We never had to be sent away. We spent holidays mostly at home, sometimes visiting family in other cities and also spending some time in the villages, that my parents came from. I will travel back in time now and make a list of our favourite activities during summer.
1. Going to the lakes. Definitely number one on the list, because it was our favourite thing to do. We have lots of lakes around our small town, so we had a choice, either something smaller, or bigger, with more or less people. I learned to swim in the lake, I enjoyed kayaking, laying on the inflatable mattresses. I remember waiting for my dad coming home from work, hoping he would still be in the mood and not too tired to take us to the water. My mom doesn’t have a driving license and walking to the lakes wasn’t an option, little too far. Sometimes we ended up at the lakes in the evenings, when there were only few people left, the water warmer than the air. How cool was that!
2. Going to the village. And helping (read: disturbing) adults during harvest. And climbing trees. And eating apples and pears from them. Going for long walks in the fields and making a bouquet of wild flowers for mom. Playing with our cousins, having adventures. Drinking milk almost straight from cows. Getting lost on the forest and then finding the right way. Running down the hills and then climbing the back up, so we can run again. And after all those activities coming into grandma’s home and finding huge plate with sandwiches for us. And very sweet tea with lemon. Or delicious donuts. Or homemade cookies. Summer in the villages have this special kind of beauty.
3. Playing outside the house. That mostly involved bikes, races, or building castles in the sand in our yard. We lived in a house that stood at church yard so we could ride our bikes around the church itself. We would make flower crowns made of yellow dandelions. Playing hide and seek or different ball games. Even rugby, with our personal rules. We had two boys in our neighbourhood that were more or less our age, so we played most of the time with them. If it was only me and my sister we would take our baby dolls for a walk and play best friends. Or some other girly games that involved jumping rope or drawing something on the ground. I don’t recall being bored. Ever.
4. Badminton matches. And even tournaments that we used to play in our yard. When we got brothers and when cousins would visit, we would take rockets and start pretending that we are some tennis stars. Even though we played badminton. Usually the wind was calm in the evening so we would start around 7 pm and go on until it was too dark to see anything. The bats would fly above us and mom would call us for supper but we just enjoyed the game way too much.
5. Rainy day? No problem for us. The possibilities of games at home were countless. All the forts we built from blankets and chairs. All the “floor is the ocean” kind of games. Preparing artificial tea parties for ourselves. Creating a barbie dolls stories. Playing shop, or school, or office people. Sometimes we would watch tv. Or play on Pegasus game console. But very rarely. We also liked to sleep on the floor. It gave us the feeling of camping I guess, it was hard and less comfortable, but we loved it so much!
6. Trips to other cities. That was always a big deal. We would be very excited every single time. I still remember when we went to zoo and I saw tarantula for the first time in real life. I think it made me scared of spiders even more… We loved to walk the old towns or parks in those cities. Everything was so big, especially the distance we had to make of our feet.
There are way more other different things that we used to do during summer. Our holidays were nothing fancy, but we loved them and we were happy. I don’t think that kids who got to travel the world, because they had opportunities, were happier than us. If you think about it, a child doesn’t need much for happiness. Other kids, fresh air, lake, parents close by and that was the recipe for perfect holidays! But still, I plan on taking my kids on vacation and show them the world 😉