Home > Everyday Life, Working Life > Love It or Leave It . . . It Is August!

Love It or Leave It . . . It Is August!

Time is up!  Whatever you have left undone in your office, home or neighborhood – you are just going to have to leave it.  August is at the door and he wants you!  It is time for you to go to paradise.  I am not talking about some out-of-the-body experience here.  It is a temporary moment to truly breathe and relax (in theory) before September arrives with full gusto.

Is It August Yet?

Is It August Yet?

They have always said that everything shifts to lower gear in France during August.  I have to bare witness that yes, in fact, it does.  Whether you like it or not, life around you will take on a new energy – a pensive one.  Depending how you approach life, this change may not be bliss and actually raises the potential of some frustration.

At work, there is definite change of mood as the speed of all projects is alleviated.  The word deadline walks around without a proper definition.  Not to mention you walk down the hallways and there can easily be an eerie silence.  Things don’t come to a screeching halt, we are still an international IT firm that has clients looking at a different calendar and living in a different season.  So it is business as usual.  The colleagues who are in the office in a way look forward to this month as it is a great time to catch up on smaller projects.  There are fewer distractions.  August is also a time to exhale after the July rush to complete projects in order for everyone to go on vacation.

What about outside of work?  I have to adjust my way of life in several manners.  My bus (#230) that carries me to work every day now has a different summer schedule.  My wonderful 5:09 p.m. express bus after work is now a local bus.  During off-peak hours, the bus now only comes every hour instead of every 30 minutes.  I don’t blame them, there is plenty more room on the bus with fewer passengers – so why run as many buses on the road?

I have enjoyed that my neighborhood post office is open until 6:30 p.m. allowing me to pick up any letters or packages right when I get home.  Well I just saw the new hours posted for August and they are now closing at 5:00 p.m.  If I need their services, I will have to wait till a Saturday morning.

My favorite boulangerie has announced on their front door that come August 15th, they will be closed all together until September.  I will have to buy second grade bread?  I did what any good French person would have done – rolled my eyes and complained to the first person I met.

So where are my bus driver, postal worker and baker going on vacation this month?  In 2011, they are staying in France.  I have seen several news stories that the French are taking their vacation domestically.  With the talk of an economic uncertainty and the revolutions in the Arab world, the French are choosing to leave their passport in the closet and program their GPS to another region of France.  I can feel it first hand since Nice is a key tourist destination.  I don’t have any exact numbers but there feels like a lot more people this summer in Nice compared to last year.

Because Nice is a travel destination, there is a flip side to all this vacation energy.  For one month it is easier to do food shopping.  The little market across the street is now open all day Sunday instead of just a half day.  The supermarché down the street is now staying open an extra 30 minutes in the evening till 9:00 p.m.  Everyone has got to eat!

So how am I defining my August?  Well for one, I am taking all my Mondays off for the month.  I mean why bother working a full workweek?  Then the last week of August I am off to Bordeaux to meet a close friend and classmate at the Alliance Française de Philadelphie.  That trip will be another great opportunity to see another corner of France, home to one of the oldest wine growing regions.

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