Like most families, we loved our vacations, and our camera tended to see the light of day most often during vacations . . . .
Where? Well, you may know Yosemite National Park in California’s Sierra Nevada. But we also vacation in Saint Mâlo and Brocéliande in Brittany, which are their own kind of paradise, and once even in each of New York City and Vancouver BC.
Ever fancied a train trip across the entire USA, courtesy of Amtrak? Now that was a vacation, and what better way to introduce the children to all this wonderful land? How about a boat trip across the English channel? Or a charming little English town, or an English Funfair?
As we got older, we took more and more vacations in smaller groups, so that the teenagers could do their own thing, or should I say because the teenagers were doing their own thing and it rarely included us!
Vacations for us meant family and friends most of the time.
In 2007, for example, we spent most of our summer vacation in France, and most of that time at Grand-père‘s place, La Grée, in the Morbihan. On a day trip down to Carnac, on the coast of south Brittany, we stopped in on Denis (Marie-Hélène’s brother) and Claire’s summer place that year. In addition to Alex, Charlie and Marie-Hélène, the below group of Berhauts in the garden at Carnac includes Denis and Claire (front left), Denis’s son Bertil (in front of Marie-Hélène), tante Lucette, Grand-père and Denis’s older son Cédric (behind Grand-père).
A week of this same 2007 summer vacation was spent in England, visiting Ian’s family and friends. That was the typical breakdown: I’d spend a week in England, and Marie-Hélène about a month in France.
It would have been easy to regret the relative absence of other summer vacation choices: we’ve never been to Hawaii, for example, or to South America, both of which would have interested me. They still do. If I ever have a lot of vacation time, I’ll try these other destinations.
But going home always felt good, as a vacation should, for me and for Marie-Hélène. I don’t think that either of us really missed these alternatives, however compelling they were in and of themselves. We lived away from our respective families most of the year, but emigrating never cut our ties with them. It doesn’t work that way.
My only regret was the occasional year that we (principally Marie-Hélène: this was her obsession) elected to make improvements to our Santa Cruz home rather than take a proper summer vacation. It didn’t happen often, and we did live in the house all the rest of the year, but we both dearly needed the change of scenery of a decent vacation.
And vacations give us the classic justification for fooling around!