Monday, September 19, 2016

Summer's end

The long summer is over and we are all a bit sad. Summer was so long, a bit more than eleven weeks. We completely forgot about school and routines and all that. Recreating the wheel has been a bit hard this week but all in all, the change is good. The twins, now in 8th grade, are the top of the middle school heap and Tori, in 10th grade, is no longer at the bottom of the high school pile. All seem pleased with their new situations, and more importantly with their classes and teachers.
But summer...with the heat and humidity still lingering, the memories are still there. We started the summer with a trip to Germany. The kids spent the first few nights with friends. Tori stayed with friends the entire time and we really only saw her in passing. She loved the freedom of taking the sbahn into town and hanging out at the lake with friends. In a true test of her German (or at least her composure) she got stopped by an undercover police man on the train for not having a proper ticket or paperwork. She had neither but managed to resolve the situation without a fine. Germany looks different this year with tent villages for refugees along the lake and on roundabouts going into villages. No one wanted to talk about it much but we saw lots of people on both sides of the issue trying to do the right thing.
We drove to Italy, staying at the same place with the same friend. And that all looked the same in a good way! Continuity was needed by all. A tiny ancient village, baked hot in the sun. A field of corn was replaced with sunflowers but that was about the extent of the changes. And perhaps the walk to the village, the uphill walk, seemed harder this year. But well worth it as we cheered on Germany beating Italy in the Champion’s League. As the only people cheering for Germany, we left the town square, where we were watching the game on an outside screen and walked home, downhill, through the lightning bugs and the quiet. No more Italians cheering.
Back in the states, the kids scattered to various camps. Boy scouts for Adam, track and horse camp for Royce and tennis for Tori. High school tennis begins before school so Tori was busy. She played tennis in the mornings and then lifeguarded in the afternoons. She took her first job seriously, reviewing her first aid course materials and asking her parents, old long ago lifeguards, questions. But soon she got into her lifeguard stride, counting when her breaks were, chatting with other guards and hoping for thunder and lightning. She got her first couple paychecks and was shocked at the bite taxes took out of her pay. She is also now a big proponent of a federally mandated minimum pay.                                                       
As summer came to a close, we tried to embrace some US activities in our area. Giants pre-season football games, Broadway shows and US Open tennis. It definitely takes a year to orientate and find the new activities but we are getting there. Even if we still cheer for the German tennis player at the US Open. But this year we only did so after all Williams sisters were out, so progress indeed.