School’s out! Dutch children have to do with a meager six weeks summer holiday, but here in Lebanon, we do it differently. My daughter has eleven weeks; her brother gets fourteen (!) before he returns to the classroom. I get a lousy eight weeks, but knowing that the poor inhabitants of the ‘no vacation nation’ get only 10 days off with pay, and will in general not take all as it “ might look like they're not committed to their job“’, I guess I will take my eight weeks without complaining.
|Beirut's new skyline|
Most Lebanese will spend their holidays in country, but move to the mountains where the ancestral family home awaits in order to escape the smothering heat that is upon us now. This has been an unusually pleasant spring. I am used to Junes in oppressive heat, when you take a shower in the morning, and while drying off, you’re sweating again. This June has been cool (in comparison) with some pleasant showers. This Global Warming climate changing pattern has been kind to us so far.
|School's finally out!|
The kids jump right into the holiday; they have no problem with being idle. They can make the switch instantaneously. When you leave for work in the morning, they lay sprawled on the couches in the living room.
“What are you going to do today?”
“Uhh, dunno. Beach maybe.”
And then when you come home from work, they still lay on that same couch.
“What did you do today?”
“Uhhh, dunno. Nothing.”
But being idle is good for you. I just read that city people have stressed-out brains. ‘People who live in the city, show more activity in the part of the brains which are associated with depression, anxiety and violence,’ according to a Dutch research. (source)
|An ice cream a day ......|
And so ‘Doing nothing is, however, very good for the mind, body and spirit” (another source) .
It seems that (and I quote) ‘The holiday, or holy day, has its origin as a break from toil and commerce, and was a chance to meditate, contemplate and reflect on spiritual matters.’ I'm not idle enough yet, but I'm getting there.