It’s our third winter here, and for the first time, we’re going to be taking advantage of the Austrian “semester break”. Semester break is just that — a break between school semesters. Here in Austria, it’s a whole week, typically in early February. All of the school children are out of school at the same time, and it’s traditionally a popular time for the whole family to take a week’s skiing holiday in the mountains.
The boys’ preschool stays open during this time, so our first two winters here we never knew it was coming until it was already happening. At some point in February we would turn up to drop B off at school and be confused about where so many of his classmates had gone. It was no big deal, though — B would have a small class for the week, and we went on with life as usual (and if we wanted to go skiing, we just went whenever we wanted to).
This year, though, B is allowed a limited number of days off, and although that number (3 weeks . . . not including sick days, 2 weeks for Christmas vacation, a week for Easter and a week for the semester break) seems generous in comparison to the number of vacation days an American child could take, this restriction has kind of hindered our holiday planning this year. So this year, we decided to take full advantage of the “free” days off he’s allowed during semester break — though the school is open, he isn’t required to be there, and these days off won’t count towards his 3 week limit of days off — and we’ve planned to “go on holiday” (my kids “go on holiday” now, they don’t “take a vacation”).
So, we’re taking a week, starting today. We have no specific plans, but lots of good ideas. With the busy pace of the holiday season, we thought we’d take a week and just relax, and maybe enjoy some of Vienna. We may go skating, go to the zoo, take a day trip out of the city for some skiing … or maybe not. We might just snuggle up on the couch, watch movies and play video games. Whatever we do, I’m looking forward to the week spent together, doing whatever fun stuff we might choose. (And yes, we’ve been totally converted to the European attitude towards time off — more is definitely better.)