A Summer Like No Other
EL Singapore|August 2020
A Summer Like No Other
As the long school break approached in June, Expat Living reader Priyanka Gupta reflected on how different the 2020 mid-year holiday would be for her family.
Priyanka Gupta

Six months ago, if someone had told me that my summer this year would not include a road trip in New Zealand, a visit to the pandas in Chengdu, or a few weeks in sunny Thailand, I would have laughed in disbelief.

In our family, summer vacations are an annual, well-manicured project consisting of ambitious weeks of travel to at least two must-see places in the world. Summer is always that time of year where we as parents consciously attempt to take a break from our normal routines. A typical holiday for us would include exploring new places, experimenting with new food, discovering new places and embarking on new experiences.

Changed circumstances

However, this year will be very different. The summer of 2020 will be devoid of almost all these things – the things that in hindsight we took for granted. For most of us around the world, this “break” will not include having grandparents visit, and it won’t feature physical playdates in each other’s houses. We won’t be over-extending our kids and enrolling them in after-school classes to build their physical fitness and other skills, preparing them for the year ahead. And yes, there will be no travel, not even to a staycation in a neighbourhood hotel.

As a working mother in the Circuit Breaker period, I just about managed to find the rhythm and routine of balancing distance learning with remote working, along with my other household responsibilities. Knowing that my 14- and 9-year-olds would be at home for eight weeks without the “usual” summer offerings made me extremely anxious. Like most mothers from this decade, I instantly reached out to all my trusted resources for help. This included classroom WhatsApp groups, girlfriend chat groups and, last but not the least, our almighty digital universe. My single-minded objective? To make sure my kids had a solid plan for their summer holidays.

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August 2020