Summer vacation looms large in a child’s life, pretty much no matter where you grow up or what your summer vacation looks like.
To celebrate the range of wonderful summer experiences out there, the Sassy Mama team will be sharing our own fond summer memories from childhoods spent on different continents. Look out for a new summertime reflection from the Sassy Mama team every Friday through July and August, mamas! Today: Marketing Manager Andrea reflects on the magic of roller skates and the one family trip that looms large in her memory.
Every summer holiday in the Liu household was pretty much the same – ‘Get on your bike kids, go off and play with your mates and see you at dinnertime!’ However, the summer of 1988 was a welcome break from our normality.
Having grown up with a dad in the restaurant business (and it never shut), we never went anywhere. The endless summer holidays growing up in a small town in Kent, England were long even for us kids, but at least we got to spend it outdoors, playing in the park or around each other’s houses. Parents worried less about their children in the 80s – especially in my hometown of Tunbridge Wells. I remember being pretty independent from around 10 years old.
Back then we were also into roller skating and if we were lucky one of our mums would drop us at the local sports club’s weekly ‘roller disco’. Showing off our backward skating and going round and round in circles listening to Salt N Pepa and Soul II Soul… 80s music – loved it!
So back to the summer of 1988. It was particularly memorable for my siblings and me. And perhaps it was because it was our only family holiday as kids. There’s a 12-year age gap between me and my baby sister, so for her these were her earliest memories.
We flew to Tenerife (one of the Canary Islands), and spent one whole week in the fanciest of hotels. I was 14 years old and I remember meeting another teenage girl and we ‘hung out’ whenever we found each other by the pool. I even remember her name – Robyn, and I thought she was the coolest. My brother was a royal pain at 10 years old. Always annoying and winding me up. He followed Robyn and I everywhere that holiday. At that age there was a lot of bickering and sibling rivalry.
Looking back, it was probably the most ‘carefree and relaxed’ I had seen my dad. We hired a convertible roof-top car and did little day trips around the island. My mum stole – yes, stole – a cactus plant off the side of the road. We bought this cactus home and it is still alive today, 6 feet tall and in my sister’s flat in London!
My dad retired nearly two years ago and we are certainly making up for those lost family holidays. I suppose they were never lost, we never knew anything better. There is so much expectation nowadays for families to get out of Singapore when it comes to school holiday (and they get so many). Life was simpler in the 1980s!
My sister Eva now plays in her own indie rock band – Dama Scout. Her first music video was dedicated to our family holiday to Tenerife. Although it is embarrassing for me in parts, I am glad to share little snippets of our most memorable family holiday!