When most people hear that we take the entire month off the reaction I typically get is, "you are so lucky to have one month off from work!". The truth is luck has nothing to do with it. We are "obliged" to take the month of August off. This made no sense to me at the beginning. I mean why August. Why couldn't I take my vacation in September or February for that matter. It is so expensive to travel in August because everyone is on vacation. It made no sense that is, until I spent my first August in France.
You see, France is closed in August. Restaurants, bakeries, almost everything is shut down. For one month! There is nothing more frustrating than going to get bread only to be greeted by a sign that says they will open again at the end of August. Perfect. Even the cafeteria at work is closed for the entire month of August. And as for the restaurant across the street...
Translation: Closure Thursday, July 29 3:30 p.m. Reopening Tuesday, August 24 7:00 a.m.
Talk about culture shock. Can you imagine if Target just shut down for a month? What would you do if you just showed up at the mall and there was a sign on the stores asking you to come back in one month? It never ceases to amaze me. And while frustrating at first, you have to just go with the flow and enjoy the three weeks of vacations. I don't know how I'm going to handle going back to the states and working in August. What will I do without these 42 days of vacation?