From the beginning of May until the beginning of September we are on “summer hours” here at the university. That means 8 to 3 with a half hour lunch and often two informal coffee breaks, that last anywhere between 15 and 30 minutes (I rarely go to these coffee breaks but I think I am in the minority). It sounds like a pretty sweet deal, except how can anyone get any work done?!?! It also means that if you need someone to do something for you over the summer, you need to be really patient. Remember last summer when we were waiting anxiously to see if I would get the job here…
In addition to the short hours, Norwegians (and me too!) also take long summer holidays. We have 25 days of holidays (at my work at least, some places only have 20) and we have the right to take at least 3 consecutive weeks off in the summer. Most people do this at the beginning of July. This week were 5 of us in the office (out of approximately 50)! People often go to their cabins, visit family, or go to “Syden” – the south, aka Spain (or any combination of these destinations).
While I have the “right” to take 3 weeks of vacation this summer, I don’t actually get paid for it this year. Holiday pay is based on how much you worked the previous year, and well, I didn’t work in Norway last year… Luckily, I have enough saved up so taking unpaid time off is not a big deal (and I actually will probably save money on the food front by eating somewhere other than Norway!!).
So in 24 hours, I’m off. I’m headed a few hours north (chasing the sunny weather) with a group of friends to camp and hike for the weekend. Then I’ll be back in Trondheim for a few days’ stay-cation (and maybe a little work due to the pesky paper deadline I have at the end of the month), before heading to Germany on Wednesday. I’m excited to spend 2-1/2 weeks relaxing in southern Germany, Switzerland, and the French Alps. At this point, travel planning has been minimal – I know I just want to spend some time outdoors, ride a bike to a beer garden, eat fondue (cheese and chocolate please), and hike in the Alps, but otherwise, anything is possible!