Summer vacation in Europe, what is this?!

I have always worked in a global company and i find that a blessing in some sense. we get to meet many colleagues from other parts of the world and it’s interesting to see how each country has a different (working) culture.

When it comes to the European Summer holidays, boy, this is a big deal in Europe. We know when it comes to July to Sept, especially in Aug, almost everyone in Europe will disappear at one time or another, for vacation ranging from 2 weeks to 3 weeks. We had so many issues and problems arising from that, and of course i would also be the backup for my European colleagues so while they are having vacation, i’m working my arse even harder than usual. So, you can see why we can’t really be that happy for our European counterparts. I had 22 days of work leaves (and that’s quite alot by local standard) while the European colleagues have way way way more. I didn’t know exactly how many they had, because ignorance is sometimes a bliss.

But if they could go for 3 weeks holidays it means they pretty much have more than me! And all these welfare about not able to work overtime, goodness. I mean, pardon us. What an easy life!

Well i’m one of these people now! I’m one of those who could disappear for 6 weeks at one time. AND I LOVE this!!

But will i take a vacation for 3 weeks or a month straight. Maybe? Would i take a vacation to stay in one place for the whole time like how most French do? Probably not. Maybe it’s the Asian in me. Maybe it’s just not my preference. I prefer shorter trips and visiting different places instead of spending my whole vacation in just 1 place. If it’s a country, then i would prefer to travel around from places to place. I prefer to take my holidays and travel, and learn things. I prefer to see as many things as possible at my own pace.

Most French’s idea on an ideal holiday seems to be about staying put at one place, having lazy days, having drinks, meals together, basically spending many hours doing NOTHING much TOGETHER.A holiday is a time to relax and do pretty much nothing i was told.  I mean it’s also very pleasant. But i don’t think i can do that for 2 weeks straight.

Basically, over the last 2 Fridays, many of my colleagues have gone for their holidays. I won’t see them online until September. I’m here to cover them for work of course. I do my part. Likewise, when i needed them to cover me over me during my holidays, they did their part too. Although i must say, i didn’t think the Americans were  that pleased with my endless holidays, i felt bad though

In August, the MASS holiday migration happens. This is quite something to me, pretty interesting. I can’t figure out why the whole Europe would choose the same time to travel especially knowing that everyone else would be doing the same?

I know it’s pretty much the hottest (warmest i mean) season but it is pretty frustrating when everywhere is crowded with tourists, the accommodation rentals are insanely expensive, the beaches are crowded beyond having some personal space, traffic is bad, restaurants are crowded or can’t even get any decent place to eat. If i could avoid this month taking holidays in this month, it would be avoided AT ALL COST.

Unless well, if you have kids. I understand kids and parents function on a whole different level regarding this topic.  Would it be possible to get my kids out of school earlier before their vacation starts so we can all go for vacation earlier say in May? Would that be unethical? Would that make me a bad parent? Would the schools allow that? oh well, lucky me, i have no kids to worry about.

In all fairness, most people in Europe only take vacation ONCE a year, they do take it for a longer period but like i said it’s only ONCE a year usually.  While in Asia, we usually take a few small trips over the course of the year, mainly because we rarely have enough leave to disappear for 2 weeks at one time. Believe or not, our work culture sometimes is a factor not allowing us to take long holidays. Not as easily. Trust me, i’ve been there. Sometimes it feels like the company would collapse without me if i leave for a week holiday. And no, of course the company would not die without me?! On the contrary it is so much easier to go on leave in Europe because the culture is such here. We would need to clear the holidays anyway, it’s our right to use our vacation leaves (while in Asia, some bosses think it’s not our right to use our leaves),  no bosses here would want to be an evil person stopping anyone from taking their yearly summer vacation!! Even i want my team members reporting to me to take their vacation, how can i deny their vacations while i want to go on mine?

There are some frustration to this though.  August is the month where it seems every service is pretty much dead. I was trying to book few clinic visits and of course, i have to wait for doctors, dentists to be back from their vacation. In fact, many of the clinics are not even answering their bloody phones because it’s just simply CLOSED! So it’s kind of like a shutdown. The whole country is kind of functioning at a minimum level to get things going by.  What i do is to just simply resign to this simple fact – that nothing can be done until the person in question is back from their vacation. Just accept that, and move on.

* French Shoulder Shrug*


Photo credit: Pininterest (unknown)











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