40 days

That is the total of vacation days that Hubs earns on a yearly basis. Apparently, this is not uncommon in many countries outside of European nations. Austrian government mandates everyone to have at least five weeks of vacation time. This doesn’t include sick days either! As long as you have documentation, it is unlimited. People here frown upon you being at the workplace sick. And that is understandable, because really, who wants to be around a hacking sickie?

This is such a stark contrast to work life stateside. If you are lucky, you get maybe 10-15 days of leave and it’s usually lumped with sick time. You are also given the guilt trip or the risk of losing your job trying to use that time. When I told some of my classmates this, they were shocked and disgusted. They couldn’t wrap their heads around the “live to work” mentality. People have always had the stereotype that Europeans are lazy and life is just one long vacation. From what I’ve observed, they actually work really hard but also know that there’s a balance too. This is not to say that Americans don’t want that balance, it’s just not encouraged enough. It’s very much a “live to work” society. It’s sad because you start working around age 16 until about 65, and depending on your health, you  might be lucky enough to enjoy retirement years.

I feel grateful for the time that we receive and definitely won’t take it for granted, because it may not be like this forever. There will definitely be another adjustment period when/if we move back stateside.

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