Toward the end of the school year all my friends and I could enthusiastically talk about was the coming summer vacation. We all needed a break from school. Homework assignments, classroom activities, school projects, not to mention the never-ending pop quizzes and periodic examinations have all but sapped the last ounce of our energies. The mere mention of summer vacation electrified the atmosphere. We dreamed and we kept on talking.
Some of my SAS Ai scholar friends talked about escaping with family to faraway places. Others talked about trying new adventures and visiting relatives who lived in nearby provinces. A couple of classmates declared their upcoming trip and break to the big city. I felt a tingle up my spine when they mentioned the “Big City”. They were talking about the big city of Manila. Blinking neon lights danced in the back of my head, tall buildings rising up skyward, and rows upon rows of them adorning the city skyline. I swallowed hard as I tried to mask my intimidated pride and feelings of envy percolating to the surface. I was happy for them and I told them so.
For me, I knew my parents couldn’t afford such trips. I resigned myself to the idea of staying local. Indeed I will spend my summer vacation in my home sweet home – right in the middle of the green rice fields, accented with banana trees and edged by a lush forest of mangoes, santol trees, longboy and sarguelas.
Besides, my father had planted new cash crops and he needed help not only in making sure the irrigation system flowed unimpeded but also in making sure the seedling beds were properly watered and weeded. My mother, bless her heart, also expected me to look after the vegetable garden out back, watering it and making sure the goats didn’t break in to ruthlessly feast on the morangi leaves and sweet purple yam shoots.
In between trips to the fields I managed to read two books. I did some deep thinking too about the coming school year. I have set my priorities, the most important of which is to learn all that I can learn and be the best scholar.
The little help I gave my parents during the summer break made me fill good and fulfilled. I noticed how my father would usually work in the fields starting early and working until sunset, walking home in the darkening dusk of twilight. During my summer break my father was able to come home earlier, joining us for family dinner. What a great feeling that gave me.
Every good thing comes to an end. The summer vacation is no different. Summer must leave so that the new school year can begin. So with a sad heart I bade my friend, Summer, farewell. Until next year… until next year.