If I were to choose two things that make summers in Lebanon so special for me, it would be light and water. It never rains in the summer, so the sun shines gloriously everyday warming the place magically and forcing you to long for the water. And Lebanon is rich with water, a phenomenon in the midst of dry the dry lands surrounding it. Its rivers, its waterfalls, its beautiful sea, its natural wells, a treasure to behold.
When the silvery day prepares to meet the golden night there is a moment of magic. It is like a desperate lover’s embrace, a holding on, knowing that they must soon be separated again. And in that moment of passion, golden sparks fly, a stillness descends on all who witness this daily miracle. It is the time of day that makes us sigh in awe of the magical planet we live on.
We love to draw lines in our modern world. We enjoy keeping order by creating clearly defined and fixed rules and regulations about what can and cannot be done. You must be 21 years old to drink (at least in America), you must be 16 years old to drive, you must be a male to drive (until recently in some countries), you must be a man to vote (sadly still the case in some countries), you know how it goes. And with children, they start battling and aiming to cross these lines from a very early age. They have to be a certain height to go on some rides, they have to be below a specific age to get free stuff and they have to be with an adult to cross to the deep end of the pool even if they argue that they can swim. In our case in Shanghai, they are most definitely better swimmers than the lifeguards, who save drowners by pulling them out using a long pole thingie because they are scared of the water!
This is the argument I have to listen to every time I am at the pool from my daughter and her friends!
We, foreigners living in Shanghai are often found to be very annoying to the local people of authority. We are sometimes referred to as the ‘why people’. With the summer here now in full power, the pool is open in our compound, and with that come the strange rules. One rule is that you must wear, outdoors, a swimming cap at all times if you were to enter the pool (a rule that is adhered to for almost one week tops). Naturally, every year we ask ‘why’? The answer is “there is no why, it is a rule, why do you ask why? What is wrong with you?”
Can you imagine living your daily life and never ever asking why certain things are they way they are when they don’t make any sense to you? I am a ‘why’ person and proud to be one!
photo: Lea with her friend on top of her new inflatable dolphin wearing the cap, don’t ask me why 🙂
Just like that, unannounced, a day of summertime came today. The temperature rose to almost 35 degrees centigrade, the sun was shining, even the mosquitoes showed up to claim center stage. But this is Shanghai, a city of extremes, and so many times the gentle Spring is very short lived and is pushed over by the more aggressive Summer. The children have no complaints as they have been eying these pools all winter and finally they can splash away!
Living in China means taking on some things that are integral in the make up of the Chinese society: training, discipline and repetition.
Swimming lessons have been a weekly routine in our 6 year old daughter’s life since she was 3. This was taken today during her swimming class.