Sunday, November 30, 2008

....and I'm spent...

Well, it's inescapable that this is the last day of NaBloPoMo, but it's also the last day of a lovely fat 4-day holiday. Something pretty rare in America. How many of you still have that LOTTD (list of things to do) hovering uncompleted? I have failed to transform our office in to a baby room, failed to write all my Christmas cards, sort through and wash Anna's baby clothes, tidy the chuffing house, wrap and post all my Christmas presents. Maybe the list was a little ambitious considering the time allotted, but four days off in this country? Such an unusual occurrence that you begin to think it's sufficient time to gut and remodel a kitchen, a house even.

When I first moved here I had many, many pre-conceived notions about America. I thought it was a land of rampant crime (and indeed my suitcase was almost stolen in front of my eyes the minute I landed at LAX), of oversized meals, people and free time. Some of which was true, but the free time part? Never in my wildest dreams did it occur to me that the land of 'leezure' could be such a workhouse on the sly.

My first shock was when I asked if we got both Friday and Monday off for Easter, or just Monday. A question met with polite laughter then incredulity. Two days off for Easter? What kind of bible-bashing work-shy country did I hail from? Now, I do applaud America for trying, in some instances, to separate church from State and for playing down the religious holidays - but please throw us a frickin' bone here - give us something in return. A lot of employers do not recognize Presidents Day, which means that you go from January 1st to the end of May without any recognizable public holiday. This is a country that typical offers only 5-10 paid vacation days a year in a new job.

The UK is considered the 'workhorse of Europe' for its lack of public holidays, but maybe it just seems to me that whenever I call home it's always a three-day bank holiday weekend. Either way, it was pretty lovely to call on Thursday to wish everyone a happy Thanksgiving safe in the knowledge that it was just another Thursday of toil and freezing rain in North Yorkshire.

Maybe this pregnancy is wearing me out, but I want my Boxing Day! and don't even get me started on maternity leave.

9 comments:

Sugarplum's Mom said...

Yeah I don't get any recognition for Easter either. But then we do shut down for extra days between Christmas and New Years so I guess my company sees that as a fair trade.
Maternity leave? HA! that pretty much sucks here. I think it's a year in Canada though and once I heard it was 3 years in Germany. I would have loved that.

Expat mum said...

Guess what? We've got the Monday off too. My kids' school has some kind of teachers conference day. Mind you, it's freezing and rainy here so it might be a little too much togetherness.
When I first got here, my vacation allowance was two weeks, but you couldn't take it till you'd earned it. You accrued a day and a bit per month, so if you wanted to take a week off, you had to have been there for 6 months. Sheesh!

Hyphen Mama said...

Maternity leave? Snort! Next thing you'll think work places should supply a place to pump milk. That's just crazy.

ExpatKat said...

It was a joy to have my mother call me Thursday hoping to 'catch me at home', only to tell her that it was Thanksgiving so the whole gang was here.

mommyknows said...

Ah, you are in the wrong part of North America. In Canada we have at least one holiday per month (in Alberta anyway) and of course boxing day and 1 year maternity leave.

Then after your frozen tundra comment @ jenandtonic.ca you probably wouldn't want to live hear, eh? *wink*

It's the maternity leave in the USA that I think is backward and barbaric. Someone needs to have a chat with Mr. Obama about that.

Lady Peugeot said...

Thanks for the comment :)
I completely agree on the work holiday thing! It's one of my pet peeves about living/working here. Bank holidays are what get you through the year at home while you're waiting for your next 'proper' holiday. With barely days of real holiday time granted here (plus I earn mine a day per month at a time, grrr)we could really do with all the freebie holidays we could get!

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Mary Girdle said...

Surprised to learn how little holiday people get in the US, I just assumed it was about the same as the UK.

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