Summer is my fourth favorite season.  My favorite podcast host (do you guys listen to podcasts?  I bet you’d love this one as much as I do) said that about spring, but ya’all, summer is not my jam.

I like school days with routine, cooler temperatures, fall colors and Christmas.  As a Colorado girl, I even like snow in May.  Aside from camping, which I love, summer has little appeal for me.  Having lived too many years near war-zones, I cringe at Fourth of July fireworks and unexpected thunderstorms.  While I normally refuse to be the entertainment director of this circus, bored kids are real thing in a country with no libraries, playgrounds, public swimming pools or VBS.

Summer in Afghanistan is especially challenging this year, because it starts with the month of Ramadan.  Next week, all of our friends, neighbors and co-workers will be fasting from food and water from sun up to sun down for thirty days.  The sun is up well before 5:00 a.m., the temperatures are in triple digits by noon and the last call to prayer at sunset gets later and later as the month goes on.  You can imagine how difficult it is to get through this month, how tired and grumpy everyone is and how most things come to a grinding halt including visiting and teaching ESL.

In order to make the most of this month, we are going to flip our schedule around and see if we can’t do things more like our local friends.  Instead of sleeping in, we are going to get up at 5:00 a.m. and enjoy the cooler morning hours.  Mr. Incredible will be at his workshop from 6:00 till 11:00 when everyone knocks off for a long afternoon siesta.  The kids and I are still going to go to Dari class, but early in the morning instead of midafternoon and there are plans to become reacquainted with typing programs, piano lessons not to mention all the Legos and art supplies we’ve brought over the years.  This is the current plan, anyway.  Its possible things will dissolve into all day Minecraft marathons followed by ice cubes for dinner, but we are going to try.

The exciting news is, that in the hottest weeks of summer, our family will be traveling to Greece!  I Googled “cheap family holidays in Europe” and although it didn’t cooperate when I tried to make it say “Swiss Alps”,  I did find some interesting lists of underrated cities.  The top two choices were Krakow Poland and Thessaloniki Greece.  I figured there was only so much looking at old churches and cobblestone we could do with the kids, but Greece has old stuff plus beaches plus, Ikea, so we booked an apartment in Thessaloniki.  We can fly somewhat easily to Istanbul for not too much money but for our break we wanted to get all the way out of a Muslim context and into a country where we could be freer with our food and clothes.  Opa!

We are down to the last three days of school and regular work hours, so here’s hoping our summer Ramadan schedule can keep us going and keep us happy with each other.  And here’s really hoping the electricity stays on to run the fans and fridge!

What are your favorite, low tech ways to keep the kids entertained this summer?