Monday, 11 July 2011

Les vacances

Not just any vacances, but les grandes vacances. In France, when people refer to les vacances, it's generally the 2 month summer break during which most people take a month or so off. I'm lucky enough to have a lot of time to spend with my kids. But my husband has less time so we go away as a family for about 3 weeks.

Vacation time is one of those "quality of life" things that I would never trade in. So, I guess I can't move to the US until I can be guaranteed at least 4 weeks of vacation a year.

We are leaving on Wednesday to spend a couple days outside of Tour, then heading to the Southwest near Toulouse to spend time at my in-laws' vacation house. Then we rented a house in Auvergne for a week in August. When we get back, my parents invade/arrive. :)

Something that's always hit me during the summer months is all of the cahiers de vacances that you find in the supermarket, book stores and news stands. In the US, I remember having summer reading lists. But here, there are special vacation workbooks so your child can work during vacation. For example, the books for 5 year olds include learning to write cursive and coloring books where you need to copy the model. No free hand or free thinking allowed! I remember hours of fun with Richard Scary's rainday activity book during our summer vacations (I do have a copy of it which I am desperately looking for. I put it away last year so it wouldn't get ruined and now I can't find it! Typical). Richard Scary was all about cutting, folding and coloring. No writing allowed! (I got this Barbapapa one for has stickers and a puzzle in it, on top of cursive skills).

Which reminds me of when I worked in HR at a very large French company in Paris and all of the candidates' handwritten letters were sent for handwriting analysis, called graphologie in French. I was told that handwriting analysis on non-French writers wasn't valid because it's not the same writing rules. And I can confirm that it wasn't because I "stumbled" on my own handwriting analysis while going through the HR files one day. I now understand where the formated handwriting comes from.

1 comment:

Reb said...

So my mom actually told me that we did have activity books and that it's even worse now! the NYT just had an article about summer camps. Definitely not like good ole Silver Lake where all we did was have fun!

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