Cultural Confusion

I’m reading this very interesting article on Wal-Mart leaving West Virginia and there’s a sentence I don’t understand. It must be something cultural:

Already, she spends half her $1,200 post-tax monthly salary on car insurance and repayments.

What are “repayments”? $550 a month sounds like an enormous expense. It’s more than 1/3 our mortgage payment. Does anybody know what it is?

European Mentality

When a colleague heard we were going away to the beach for 15 days, she was all, “OMG, you are SO European. I’d love to have one of those long vacations, like you Europeans do.”

“You could,” I said. “We aren’t back to teaching until the end of August.”

“No,” she said. “I don’t have the mentality. I’d feel guilty all the time.”

I just stared because I can’t begin to imagine feeling guilty about a staid family vacation on the beach. It’s not like I’m suggesting she go shopping to Paris with a lover for 2 weeks while the husband is home with the kids. How European do you have to be to allow yourself a trip to the beach with your family?