We are still on summer vacation. We started late (last day of school was July 12) and we get 6 1/2 weeks for the summer. 1 more week before the kids head back to school and I can finally clean the house and it will stay clean (for 4 hours)!!! Well, at least theoretically that will all happen. Lol
Vacation in Germany is a huge perk of living here. Not just the time the kids have but the time that M gets off of work. His company gives him 30 days of vacation, which is the normal amount. Some companies give only 25 days, but those companies can find it hard to hire people. Germans love their vacation. So, 30 days is not including weekends which really means its about 6 weeks of vacation time EACH YEAR!
You are actually required to take a main vacation in the year as well. You must be gone 2 weeks in a row or you didn’t actually take a proper vacation.
Plus, there are a ton of holidays here. There is no separation of Church and State here. Good Friday, Easter Monday? It’s a holiday. Christ ascension into heaven – Holiday. It lands on a Thursday? Work 15 minutes longer and earn a bridge day, so you don’t have to use up a vacation day on Friday. That makes a nice long weekend, and you didn’t even use a vacation day.
My favorite part is – if you get sick on your vacation, go to the doctor for a note and you can actually get sick time instead of vacation time. So you don’t loose out on your vacation!
I’ve tried explaining we only get 2 weeks a year in the states. People here are horrified. Then I try explaining PTO time, where my sick day is actually docked as a vacation day or simply paid time off. Most people don’t believe me. They honestly think I make that up.
I have to admit, I love this part of being here in Germany. We took a week vacation at Spring break. The kids had 2 weeks off of school. We took our 2 weeks over the summer and toured around Germany. We will spend a week in the Fall heading north and we are still coming to Arizona for Christmas for 2 weeks.
There is a small catch though. There’s always a catch, right? You have to really focus on when the kids have off of school. Right now K’s kindergarten (pre-school) is actually shut down so all the teachers get a 3 week summer break. If I worked, we would either have to take our vacation time right now, or stagger it so we could be home with the kids.
And because R gets 2 weeks for fall, Christmas and spring break, there is no leeway to taking her out a day early or bringing her back a day late. They actually FINE you if you don’t have your child in school before or after a holiday break (unless you have that doctors note). They are very strict on education, so you need to be in school.
But that’s ok. There is enough rest time here, down time. We are learning to vacation. 6 weeks a year and I hope to see so much more of Europe! There are so many places on my list! Paris is only 5 hours away; Luxemburg is 3 hours by car… And M wants to lie on a beach somewhere when there are so many cool cities and museums to explore. We might need more time after all.