An Unforgettable Summer

For as long as I can remember my summers have been spent taking courses and training for the upcoming hockey season, mixed in with a random part time job.  In May I was always making an optimistically grand summer bucket list of things to do and places to go but as the 1st of September approached, feelings of disappointment and wistfulness inevitable arose when I realized I had barely made a scratch on my list.

Thankfully Summer 2014 was much different than those of the past decade. With none of my previous typical obligations of class and training (graduating and my hockey career coming to an end), I began an exciting period of travel. It started with a relaxing few days on the beach in Cuba, and then a fun-filled weekend in NYC visiting friends and family. Two weeks later I jumped on a plane to France and moved in with a very welcoming Belg-American family living on the border of Switzerland.  During May and June my responsibilities were primarily to drive the kids to and from school, help with homework and pitch-in around the house from time to time.  I had to often remind myself that I was working, since it felt like a vacation, getting to explore nearby French and Swiss cities.

In July I jetted off to the Czech Republic to meet Mel to start a month long trip in Central Europe.  We had an incredible time visiting Prague, Cesky Krumlov, Vienna, Zagreb, Plitvice Lakes, Slpit, Hvar, Rome, Florence, Interlaken and Paris (take a look at the highlights if you have already).   We had an incredible time exploring the cities, eating gelato and taking in the incredible natural beauty of Croatia and Switzerland.

Upon my return to France to resume my au pair duties, I found myself spending large amounts of time with the kids in the newly finished pool, playing mini-golf, doing high ropes courses, sliding down water slides at VitamParc, eating too much pizza and ice-cream, building the deck and binge reading. The last three weeks have been fun and relaxing with the kids, making this a markedly different summer than I have become accustomed to.

Today is the last day of Summer 2014, and a good summer it was! I read nonacademic articles (yay!) and read about 15 books which I chose; I ate less salad and more ice cream; did not do a single hang clean but hiked, cycled and walked more than ever before; and I crosses off major items off my bucket list.  To cap off the summer I made a large purchase yesterday: a new road bike! I love it and can’t wait to put 100s of km on it!

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Sadly school begins tomorrow for the kids and I return to my driving and homework duties.  In two weeks my own classes (French language courses) begin. I will also begin to work at the intentional school that the kids attend, within the SEN department providing extra support to students who require it.  I am very much looking forward to the experience.

So here’s a toast to Summer 2014, for being the most memorable summer of my life and for teaching me the value of travel, the rewards in taking risks and reminding me the pleasure in reading for fun.  I hope you all had a great summer too!

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