How I Spent My Summer Vacation

19 08 2013

I’m not sure who wrote it, but someone once said “Every summer has a story”. It may seem early to some of you for us to be writing “how I spent my summer vacation” before the end of August.  But for many of the ex-pat community here in Hong Kong – including ourselves – our summer vacation is already over.

School ended mid-June, and we took advantage of the 6½ week break to travel back to North America again this summer.  It was an opportunity for us to visit family, friends and to speak at a couple of churches in the Pacific NW.

Having fun on Lower Table Rock - Medford, OR

Having fun on Lower Table Rock – Medford, OR

The highlight for us was seeing all of our grown children – spending a few days with each of them, even if that meant some extra travel for us. Spending a day & a half with our son Nathan and his wife Jasmine exploring the sights in southern Oregon – attending a baseball game in Detroit with Ryan, Janelle and Debbie’s dad – it was great being able to have the chance to catch up with each other face to face.

While it seemed that we were more busy than we would have liked with all of our traveling, there were definitely some aspects that helped us relax, including the wide-open spaces, fresh air, green grass and slower pace of life.  Life in Hong Kong is so different in so many ways than what most people in North America experience – and the break from the more hectic pace, the densely populated small area and humid climate was worth it.

But for those who stayed in Hong Kong over this summer – what was there for them to do?  When the majority of people live in apartment buildings, there’s no backyard for the kids to go hang out in. With most parents already placing a strong focus on education, many students spent part of their summer attending a summer school program. The ICS summer program welcomed 1,200 students from ages 3-15 who attended during the month of July, with a variety of courses offered – all using an English language base.

It’s not only international schools that offer these summer programs.  Earlier this year we received a flyer in our mailbox that asked the question: “Is your child being left behind in math?” They were offering a summer program focused completely on math, and in this flyer, this learning center provided a series of questions parents could use to assess their children’s aptitude in math.  The questions were designed for children ranging from 3-4 years old, right up to those in their teens!

In ways I was a little amazed that parents here would be concerned about the math skills of a 3 year old – but then again, with such a strong focus on education here in Asia, parents want to give their children as much of a head start as possible! I have included two sample math questions for you (grade 7 & 8 level math) so you can decide if you should consider attending a math learning center this summer!

#1:  Given that x + y = 6 and xy=5, find the value of x2 + y2
#2: Solve the system of equations 2x + 4y + 3 = 3x – 2y – 12 = 3x + 4y

After reading through those math problems aren’t you glad you decided to spend your summer working around the yard or relaxing at the beach with your family this summer?  While our summer vacation is over for another year, we are thankful for time together with family and the good memories we have.

So however you spent your summer vacation this year – even if you’re still enjoying it right now – cherish the memories of time together with family – “The tans will fade, but the memories will last forever.”

Until next time,
Joel & Debbie

PS: Here’s the answer to the math problems:   #1 (26)           #2 (x =  3; y = –2 )

Teachers at ICS reported back to school on August 1st, and classes began on the 7th.  PRAISE God for a positive start to the new school year, and that the students were ready to engage in learning after a shorter summer holiday.

Nathan & Jasmine moved from California to Indiana this summer, where Jasmine will be studying for a PhD at Purdue University.  PRAY for God’s leading as Nathan has yet to find a full-time job, and that they would find a church to call home.

Janelle has successfully completed her studies at Azusa Pacific University and has decided to remain in the Los Angeles area for the next year.  While she currently has a part-time job, she is still looking for full-time work related to her area of studies – exercise science.  She also needs to find a place to live by the end of August – PRAY for God’s provision for these needs in her life.