Saturday, May 10, 2008

No rest...

Continuing the theme of public holidays, since the May Day celebrations and demonstrations (on the first of the month), we have had VE Day last Thursday (Victory in Europe 1945) and the coming Monday is another holiday, being Pentecost. Now none of these are UK holidays but during this month the Brits enjoy their Early May holiday (5th) and Spring bank holiday (26th).

What is the point of listing all these holidays? Well, as usual, it is a matter of the expat's perspective and what is the most appropriate course given a choice about holidays. For example, in the day job we have British clients and some expect us to be working on French holidays, as we specialise in services for English speakers. So, should we observe the British holidays instead? Well, our French associates certainly expect us to be working when they are, so that does not work either.

Of course, many expats who are employed in their host countries have no say in the matter and have to observe the local practices. Personally I am not too worried about these holidays but there is a danger in our situation that we end up taking no days at all! Having tried to compromise between the two we have found that is no solution, so perhaps the best approach as an expat should be to observe the traditions and holidays of our hosts, in the interests of goodwill and integration - and ask our British clients to understand that.

OK, that seems like a good decision... apart from Boxing Day, of course - now, even if our French friends and colleagues are back to work that day, the Christmas period would not be the same if we did not enjoy that extra holiday, of uniquely British origin! Well, I wonder if we can do it this year...

2 comments:

RainforestRobin said...

I'm a Yank but I lived in OZ for years and I found it so interesting as the holidays are so different there that in the USA...Boxing Day, The Queen's birthday, Melbourne Cup Day, Australia Day, etc. At first it was very disorienting but I eventually got used to it and found it a relief not to have celebrate all the American holidays. The hardest part was having Christmas in the summer. Since Dec is OZ summer. I grew up in MAINE with 3 feet of snow at Christmas. So to have Christmas and see palm trees, swimming, surfing, etc. just didn't feel like Christmas at first but after several years it kind of grew on me.

I also lived in Paris and Central France for awhile when I was younger. It's interesting living in another country, being there longer than a vacation. Especially being a Yank it gave me another whole perspective on the world and the people in it that I really like.

Will Pow said...

Nice to hear from someone with so much expat experience!

Yes, Christmas in the heat is strange if you are from the Northern hemisphere - I have had Christmas in New Zealand and the oddest thing was the greeting cards, etc., showing traditional snow scenes!