We can quite happily admit to needing a holiday, but never needing the office. A conversation about missing the office is as socially taboo as discussing one’s salary, so what happened when behind the seams girl took her first month long holiday, Italian style?
At risk of sounding like crazed career woman, I was looking forward to a holiday as much as the next person. For the first time in my life I was going to holiday like the Italians - for the entire month of August, a month of relaxation off the coast of Sicilian. For someone used to working in London and making do with a week’s holiday - the whole idea made me feel like a school child again (along with most of the office/Italy).
Summer as a concept does something funny to the Italians. Brits have Christmas - it’s our excuse to let off steam, sing drunkenly one another, wear hats and leave the office at 4pm. For Italians, summer is very much the same. Romantic songs enter the charts, and there is a race to find the summer number one, much like the British race for a Christmas number one. Men and women splash in the sea like school kids, reminiscing about family holidays and indulging in ice ream and cold beers in a way rarely seen throughout the year (at least in Milan) .
What no-one prepares you for however as you leave the office for such a long time are the possible withdrawal signs. A conversation about missing the office is as socially taboo as discussing one’s salary, however in my first week on holiday, I will confidently admit to experiencing several worrying signs that I had become addicted to office life. It wasn’t helped of course by the fact was I travelled to an island without any internet access, limited water and occasional electricity. If I wanted a coffee and to see real people I had to take a 20 minute scooter ride (and of course learn how to learn to ride a scooter). After becoming aware of behaviour such as, reading out of date German gossip magazines in order to get my celebrity fix, obsessively scouring the horizon for signs of Naomi Campbell on a yacht, taking a 40minute round trip scooter ride in order to get a phone signal and secretly switching on the air conditioning in my room when no-one was around - I decided I was officially in office withdrawal.
There is of course a happier side - and in manner of the office, a list of things I achieved whilst on holiday.
1. I can now ride a scooter
2. I can now gut a fish and cook squid.
3. Despite glamorous dreams of sailing on a super yacht I actually have horrendous sea-sickness. I'm convinced my career in fashion is unlikely to proceed much further as a result.
4. I thought wardrobe envy was expensive - try boat envy. Somewhere on the 'boat' above and what my friend at first thought was a ferry (she's an opera singer and so doesn't read gossip magazines) is Russian tycoon Abramovich.
5. There appears to be no such thing as competitive dieting outside the office. People eat cakes and enjoy them????
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