As it's close to Christmas, there are decorations everywhere, children are laughing and excited and people rush about from store to store, frantically shopping for presents. Holidays in foreign countries can often be surprising. For example, here's a short video of Zwarte Piet, or "Black Pete", that I shot here in Amsterdam. Zwarte Piet is the helper of Sinterklaas and if you've been a bad boy or girl, he'll snatch you away in a burlap sack and take you to Spain, where he and Sinterklaas live during the off season. Doesn't sound like much of a threat to me, but a couple of hundred years ago, it might have been scary.
Photo by Emanuele
There's really nothing interesting in any of this recounting of "a day in the life." Aside from locations many would consider "exotic", it's just business as usual. We are ordinary people with ordinary lives. Except that we don't have medical bankruptcies. We don't have people living in studio flats under a crushing mound of university debt (my wife has a Master's Degree in French law and she spent about €2,000 a year for that). We don't have people constantly scrimping on vacation days since we tend to get five weeks a year or more. In short, we work to live and we enjoy life. If you doubt this, just check out the various studies regarding standards of living and national happiness. The US is never on top. European countries usually are.