The tension is mounting and now I can really tell that I haven’t had a proper vacation in almost a year.
Next week will be my seventh week at my new job. Because my manager will be in town and physically on the premises I will be allowed to work this coming week unlike (almost) everyone else in the company. The rest will be on vacation. This is the week of the mandatory company shutdown.
One of my new coworkers clarified the shutdown story for me: August is a dead business month in Germany because of the school holiday schedule. For this reason a company shutdown seemed to make sense especially as many employees seemed to have a problem with taking all their vacation each year. The company shutdown makes plenty of sense for people with families because the kids will be out of school and everyone wants to go on vacation, so saving on power plays and bickering over who gets time off. But for people who are not in the family way or even headed in that direction this is not so great that everyone has to take time off on a predetermined date.
It may be school vacation time but it is also peak travel time and tickets are at a premium if they can be found at all. For some this is a favor and for others this is a huge burden as this is a forced vacation and no windfall at all.
Mandatory vacation is weird and for me unfortunate as it will always fall on this week which is one week too early to fit into my traditional journey home to the States. It will always be a week when my mother is hiking and two weeks before all my friends will be frolicking in the unsanitary desert conditions I love. It will never be a good fit and will therefore always suck in particular because it is SO CLOSE but yet too far from my target travel times.
But at least this year it was a non-issue. My ever-so-gracious manager has given me the time and miraculously did so without any discussion. I must be scarred from too many bad work places because I anticipated crying blood in order to get her ok and was prepared to offer crazy things in order to make this work.
So the week following the next one is my vacation to the States. I plan to cram in visiting my brother and his wife, my parents and members of my entire extended family in the valley in addition to doing my yearly pilgrimage.
Oliver and I just got back from Austria where we’ve been visiting his parents and their friends at the lakeside in Karenten (Carinthia), Austria for the weekend. His sister and her husband were also there.
It rained almost the entire time. Nevertheless the visit was good.
Now we will try to get all our shit together and pack in the short evenings after work in order to be ready to fly on Saturday for a three-week vacation.
Oliver keeps saying, ‘Only four more days to go!’ but it still seems looooooong.