It’s early August, and although summer doesn’t officially end for several more weeks, summer vacation has come and gone. School in Texas starts pretty early, and I’m already back to work in the office getting ready for another school year.
While I’ve been in education for pretty much my entire adult life, it has only been the past couple of years that I’ve had a true summer vacation. This year I was off from June 14-July 24, almost 6 full weeks! So what did I do during that time? Travel!
Several years ago my brother graduate from Trinity College in Dublin. Unfortunately I couldn’t get away from work, so I missed his graduation that year. Recently he finished his PhD in Literature from Trinity, and this time I was determined to make it to the ceremony.
Trinity was founded in 1592 and truly resembles a Harry Potter-type school. It’s probably most famous for housing the Book of Kells, which was written around 800 A.D., as well as notable alumni James Joyce, Oscar Wilde, and Jonathan Swift. I’ve been to Dublin before, but this was the first time I was able to see the college in full force.
We stayed in Dublin for a few days and then headed north to County Donegal, which is full of castles and cliffs and beautiful coastline. It’s also one of the areas in Ireland where people still speak Irish on a regular basis. My brother’s girlfriend, Eimear, was born and raised in Ireland and is still fluent in Irish. It’s a unique language quite unlike anything I’m familiar with. I learned a few words, but sadly I’ve already forgotten them.
From Ireland it was a short flight across the Pond back to the States, where I met up with my wife and 1-year old son who were visiting grandma in Madison, Connecticut. Madison is the quintessential charming New England town you see on postcards. The old Boston Post Road actually runs right through the middle of town, and all the houses are from the 18th and 19th centuries.
Not only does it contain a ton of history, but Madison also has very pretty beaches. Grandma lives only a 10-minute walk from the beach, so we spent most of our time there just lounging and digging holes for Smith to play in. It was a great way to unwind and spend time with the family.
One of my favorite parts of summer is 4th of July. In Madison they do it up right. There is a parade that goes down Main Street, and everyone in the whole town attends. The Good Humor ice cream truck even shows up to the delight of young and old alike!
After resting up for a few days back in Austin, Laurie and I left Smith with grandma (she flew in to babysit) and headed out to San Diego for my cousins wedding. My dad lives just outside of La Jolla, so we stayed with him the whole time.
It was our first trip without Smith, so we wanted to take advantage of being on our own. I got a couple of really fun days of surfing in, and Laurie and I spent time together just hanging out at the beach in Del Mar and in Coronado. San Diego is one of my favorite places, so it was nice to unwind and just soak in the perfect weather.
My cousin’s wedding was a ton of fun too. I hadn’t seen some of the family members there in quite some time, so it was great to catch up with them. The wedding was at the Karl Strauss brewery, which was a really interesting place. We ate and danced the night away!
I am very grateful that I get such a long break in the summer. It’s a great time to unwind and spend time with the family. But as much fun as the summer was, I was definitely ready to get back to work and start planning for the new school year. I know students are finishing up their own summer breaks right now, but hopefully they are as excited for a new semester as I am.