Friday, February 20, 2009

Start the Spring Vacation Week

Today was the last day of school before the spring vacation - lente vakantie, they call it My students were sort of restless the whole day. They wanted to get out of class early and they had a rough time paying attention. Fortunately, I had some lighter activities planned for today. Quick grammar lessons and some speaking exercises.

When I asked them what they were going to do with their week off, I got the basics: sleep, go out, see my friends. There were a few variations, but it was pretty much the same across the board. They were just glad that they were going to be out of school for a whole week.

I had actually forgotten that vacation week is next week, but I was happy to be reminded. When asked what I was planning on doing (fair question, right?) I said that I would do some writing. That got a few of them asking questions and I decided that it would be better if I kept it vague. I didn't say anything about knitting. I'm in the closet with the knitting, as far as school goes. (Kids can be so mean!)

One of my students is a Turkish girl. During a writing exercise a few weeks ago, she wrote that she would be going to Turkey during the vacation because to not go to visit her family would be disrespectful. I read that and thought, I'm so glad I never had that trip laid on me. There are whole groups of people here who spend all (or most) of their vacation time going back to where they came from. The most common are the Moroccans and the Turkish, but I know Americans who do that as well.

Part of the fun of living here is that Europe is really close. It's literally right outside my front door. So if we get a week of vacation, or if we want a week of sun, we can go somewhere within Europe and not deal with a flight across the Atlantic. And it always feels exotic because I'm so easy to please. I'd hate to feel like I had to go back to the states for every vacation, or even every year. A trip back to Texas is not a real vacation. It's a lot of work.

My family is not the closest-knit group of people. One of the benefits of that is that I've always been allowed the freedom to stay away - for years. I think the longest I've gone without a visit is three years. It would be nice to go back more often, but it's a long way to go to say hi...and then what? Most of my family have an unspoken disrespect of who I am and how I live my life. I don't want to spend vacation time dealing with that.

The downside, of course, is that I have seen my nephews and niece only a handful of times in their relatively short lives. I have written before about being Aunt Jenny on the Brady Bunch. I'm the mysterious world traveler who lives in Europe. I'll take it. It beats being the grumpy uncle who lives next door. (I'm just sayin'.) And it would be great to see Kathy more often. We're close even if I'm a little more distant with the others. And my I speak to my mother every week.

Of course, we're not going to Warsaw or London this week. I'll just have a couple of days off. I'll do some writing - on the blog as well as on another idea I'm working on - and I'll knit. And tomorrow is some big "hand workers" thing in Zwolle. It's not all knitting. In fact, I've heard that it's heavy on the quilting, but it'll be an interesting day and there will be lots to look at. It's like a big crafting fair, I think. I'm actually not sure about what it is. Some of the knitting girls suggested we go and I said, "Sure!" And then Fred and I have a ballet tomorrow evening.

It should be a great start to a vacation week.

By the way, that pink tree is SO not what the weather looks like lately. That tree is completely bare right now. I just needed some color. It's totally gray here.

1 comment:

tineke said...

andy
I just want to tell you how much i enjoy your blog.

i am dutch, having lived in the usa forever, and your observations about dutch life is great. also, many things are so normal to me because i don't know any better until you point out the absudity. i relay taht to my husband who gets a real kick out of it.

i am actually going to holland in about 10 days. i will meet my son, who spent a year in west africa with the world food programme. will be fun to show him around again.

keep up the good work

groetjes
tineke