What I Did For Summer Essay

What I Did This Summer

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As a young student in India, every June, the first day of school, I was asked to write an essay that was always titled: "How I spent my summer vacation". "And make it interesting," my teachers would advise. I assumed that mere recountings of my days spent reading Nancy Drews would not qualify as "interesting". Neither would my detailed accounts of making paper straws and trying to blow bubbles with glycerin solution. So I always made something up—like visits to fairly exotic locales like Poona. I made sure the locales were not very exotic (very tempted to write the Himalayas once) or else the teacher would smell a rat.

II

Now that I am older, I can say it like it is. So here's a sampling from my diary of a few weeks this summer:

Week #1:

Every year, we have faithfully vacationed in Camden, ME. It is truly a wondrous place right on the ocean and qualifies for a very relaxing vacation.

This year, we thought we'd try something different and booked ourselves a pilgrimage to Disney World. Along with apple pie, a trip to Disney World probably completes the quintessential American childhood experience. So we all flew down to Florida. The first day, it rained so much a twenty-minute drive from airport to hotel took us three and a half hours! Senior daughter (SD) broke down at some point during hour #2 and demanded we go right back to Boston. We finally reached the hotel in one piece and had a wonderful time. Disney World was all right. The girls had fun and we really, really, enjoyed the hotel, its pools, and the drinks! At the end, SD said to us, "Isn't Camden, ME so peaceful"? If that was meant as a hint that we should have gone there instead, I pretended not to have got it. She quickly added, "I love Disney World too, especially the pools"!

Week #2:

We took the girls to sign up for the summer reading program at the local library. I could rave and rant endlessly about most reading programs targeted at kids, but I will save that for some other time. Both SD and younger daughter (YD) dutifully signed up and were promptly given "prizes" as incentives just for signing up! The librarian chirped enthusiastically, "And if you read your quota, you will get more prizes". That was all YD needed to hear. She enquired what her quota was—six picture books for the entire summer.

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She checked out the first six books that she could lay her hands on that looked moderately interesting. That night, she insisted we read all six of them out to her. From the next day on, for the next week until we could visit the library again, all I would hear from her was: "Aai, can we go get the prizes", "Aai, when can I go to the library to get the prizes". On and on and on. I finally caved in and redeemed her reading log for a prize—a "crystal" ring that broke in the car, on the way home. Even today the broken crystal lurks around in the house and shows up at odd times especially in the middle of a vacuuming session.

After prize redemption, the girls still do read books, but every single time we go to the library now, YD loudly asks the librarian: "Will I get any prizes today"?!

Week #4:

We have a local farm stand that allows junta to pick any and every kind of fruit (and now vegetable) imaginable. We enthusiastically went on a hayride and picked out five pounds of strawberries during strawberry picking season. After that, it was strawberry lassi, strawberry shortcake, strawberry muffins. The only thing we didn't toss strawberries in, was in our sambar. Gotta draw the line somewhere! Since then, we have been blueberry picking, peach picking, and recently, even green bean picking. After picking the green beans, YD insisted she'd eat them all up for dinner that very evening. Predictably, when she got her plateful, all we heard was: "Eeewww! Baba do I have to eat these?" YD is still very much plugged into the concept of picking. Yesterday, she promised my neighbor that she would visit her sometime soon to do some "rose picking"! Neighbor laughed politely and nervously. She has since been protecting her roses even more zealously!

Week #5:

Heat wave hit. We sat still in front of the fan. 10:05AM: "Aai, what time is it"? "It's 10:05." 10:06AM: "Aai, what time is it"? "It's 10:06." 10:10AM: "Aai, what time is it"? "It's 10:10." "That's it? I thought it'd be at least 10:25 or something". Most of the week was spent in such stimulating discussion!

Week #6:

Camp started for the girls. They are enrolled in "environmental education hands-on experience" camps. Every day, they brought home a healthy tan and huge projects made entirely of "recycled materials". Very creative, but also very big and space consuming. Unlike other artwork confined to paper, these can't be tossed quite as easily. I heard SD exclaim out loud: "Heh, how did my Native American canoe boat get into the trash?" I feigned an innocent look but I don't think she bought it. So now, the girls are slowly accumulating more and more art and science projects in their room. They have even converted it into a museum and are now charging me admission fees (all of a quarter) to come by and appraise their collections. The gall! After one such museum tour to a neighbor's kid, I overheard YD tell her: "Next year, I want to go to the paleontologist's camp. They make huge dinosaur skeletons in that one and you get to take them home". Egad! SD's dino skeleton from last year is still fossilizing away in the attic. I don't want him getting a play pal. There is no room!

Week #8:

Despite innumerable trips to the clubhouse pool, we still haven't visited the beach yet. The beach is an hour's drive away. A large part of that drive is (of ghi
There is a part of me though that is now ready for September!



Summer break is a great time to kick back, relax and enjoy yourself and, if you’re lucky, to go on an awesome trip! But how can you translate your amazing vacation into a narrative essay for English class or work it to fit a common application prompt? Here’s some tips to help you out:

Save Mementos From Your Summer

Even if you’re not the sentimental type, make sure to document your summer travels. Take pictures, write diary entries, save train stubs. This is the best way to ensure that you’ll remember your summer well enough to look back and write about it later.

Write an Outline Before Writing Your Essay

Regardless of whether you spent your summer break in Madison, Wisconsin or Madrid, Spain, you should plan out what you’re going to write before diving in. Make a list of what you’ve done over the summer so that you can later narrow down a focus for the essay itself. Keep in mind that the best essay topics aren’t always on the most exciting activities an essay about getting stuck in traffic on the way to the airport on the way to Denver could work better than an essay on hiking the Grand Canyon and looking out at the incredible view.

Be Specific

Since you’re going to keep a record of your trip and come up with an outline before writing your essay, you should be able to put some detail into your essay. Be as specific as possible when it comes to your word choice. If you’re talking about some gelato that you ate in Italy, don’t say that it was “delicious.” Instead, say that it was “creamy and chocolatey, with a note of vanilla.”

Focus on Feelings About Your Trip, Not What You Did

If you spent the summer on the beach in Cape Cod, you shouldn’t write about what you did. You should write instead about how you felt while there. An essay that reads “I went to beach, then had lobster for dinner” is not quite as exciting as one that goes, “As I went for a walk on the beach, I thought about how lucky I was to be able to enjoy nature.” Feelings translate better into text than events, and you should try to place those feelings into context.

Stick to Writing About a Small Moment

With any essay you write especially a short one it’s important to focus a narrow moment in time. Don’t write about your entire week in Paris. Instead, write about the moment you got lost in the city at midnight and fumbled your way home in the dark. You don’t have to pick a particularly glamorous moment from your trip, but you should pick one that meant something to you.

Edit Your Essay Carefully

The shorter the essay, the more important precision is. Regardless of length, make sure to carefully read over what you’ve written to make sure every sentence conveys the message you most want displayed. The editing process matters just as much as the writing process, even if it seems less so.


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