I remember when the few Jesuit priests that were left at my gradually secularized boarding school used to take their Catholic students on retreats. They were supposed to isolate themselves for prayer and meditation. I selected Geneva for a ten day "academic" retreat from the hustle bustle of Dubai: my faithful children followed, ready to slow down and take it easy.
Every so often, my blackberry will ring to remind me that there is golf, pilates, arabic, violin, swimming.....but I ignore these reminders because I am miles away from "all that".
On a different continent, on a short vacation. I am glad it was short. In fact, I felt so isolated and worked so hard that "short" felt long! The weather was milder then we had expected it to be in November so we spent much time outdoors. The children even took their bikes out and cycled around the lake.
The trip was worth while because we visited two different libraries, borrowed 50 children's books and read them all. It was worth while because we took two train rides to Lausanne and visited two museums. It was worth while because we sat at home for hours and caught up with our studies. We even finished a whole series of home schooling and mailed them: what a relief!
The trip was worth while because we feasted Eid on a splendid Indian summer day, ran to a huge tree by the lake, and ate fondue for dinner. The trip was worth while because my children became more familiar with Henry Moore and got acquainted to Howler. It was worth while because they helped around the house, loading the dishwasher, making their own beds, taking the trash out, and even vacuuming!
The whole trip was worth it for the view I encountered from the gardens of the Elysee Museum of Photography in Lausanne! Travelers cross the world to encounter the reflections of the Alps (in this case the Evian Mountains) in the Swiss lakes.
But a retreat with three children for ten days was a strenuous time and I am not ready to repeat it for a few years! I can't wait to pinktaxi them to school again ....