Enduring the late afternoon with two kids screaming at each other is easier than doing it with seven loud, messy kids complete with poo and milk underfoot, right?
Last week I got together with some friends for a playdate for the first time in over a month, also my expats women's Bible study group met for the first time in about 2 months. It was so great to see my friends, most had been away in their passport countries for The Summer, as they call it. Somehow that sleepy grumpy late afternoon time of day is easier with friends, I didn't realise how much I missed them until they came back.
The whole concept of July as The Summer is totally foreign to me, I don't really associate with myself or my family. In my passport country, July is actually winter, and in Cambodia July is not the hottest time of year either (hot season is April). Also none of us study or teach in any international schools. Our main community is the Khmer church, and their timetable doesn't change. So unlike many expats, there is really nothing special about that time of year for me.
Last year lots of expat families moved out of town, leaving in June. There were lots of goodbyes, so that was a distinctive time of year. My Bible study kept meeting the whole way through "The Summer", each week there were at least 3 of us in town so we just kept meeting.
So there was no nice mid- August reunions, as the families who left never came back, and there was no "first meeting of the year" for Bible study group. Also we had some visitors from Aus, and then a friend on maternity leave, so we actually had extra playdates. So I guess that is why I was taken by surprise this year!
July as Summer doesn't feel like it has anything to do with me, but just those two weekly get-togethers with other expat women have such a huge impact on my week, so it turns out The Summer is part of our life. Having those connections with other foreigners either with shared faith or with same age kids (sometimes both) really helps balance out the stress and boredom of the rest of the week.