Expat life, the good life?

A year on our expat life and I thought it was time to sit back, reflect on it all. Is it the good life?

It still takes me by surprise, most days, that we are living abroad. It was not in the plan, I am not sure what was but I had not considered that we would live abroad. Luxembourg is not far from the UK, not all has changed, but enough has to make you sit and realise, for it to occasionally take your breath away.

Learning, trying to speak French is hard work. I have had lessons for a year. Yes I can  manage buying food, ordering in a restaurant, asking for things and I can hold a  basic conversation. Fear of getting it wrong holds me back from speaking more. When I am in meetings at the library I can keep up with listening, I get the gist, but speaking in the meeting, I have not got enough brain power for that! My achievement of the year is reading 90% of the letters that come home from school with out a dictionary.  But we live in Luxembourg and it is a truly multi lingual place. French is spoken here but so is Luxembourgish and German. To illustrate how it works, Pook speaks mainly Luxembourgish in school, but letters and official paperwork are always in French and the main newspapers , well they are in German!

Pook  can now speak Luxembourgish well, having learnt though ‘direct immersion’ at Spillschoul. It is incredible to hear your child speak a language of which you can only master the basics. And I mean the basics, Hello, Goodbye and a few numbers! Meemoo is staring precoce in September so she will learn Luxembourgish too. I think it is time for me to start lesson so I have a small chance of keeping up!

Living in a capital city, all be it a small one, has given us so many things to do. It has been rare that weekend passes without some event somewhere. We have enjoyed Street Art Performances, Schueberfouer (massive funfair)  Apple picking festivals a bus ride away, Christmas markets, Easter festivals. If we have not we have a whole new city to explore full of museums and new sites to see.

Honeslty I did not think I would enjoy living in a city so much. Its charm is in is compactness. You can get on a city bus and within minutes discover beautiful countryside.

A change is as a good a rest….right? So the saying goes, but  some days it feels like everything has changed and you are left standing on shifting sands. Some days it is really hard. These are the days when I cant speak enough French, or I really want a Chocolate Digestive. Some days it is really lonely or too hot in the sun or too cold in the winter. But then it surprises you. You get to take delight in experiencing new things and making friends who are from all over the world. Please don’t think I am not enjoying my new life. I am having an amazing adventure. One that I never saw coming. One I am not sure I want to end!

 

 

 

We’re off and away!

 

Off and away, indeed we are. Our great adventure has truly begun now that we have been in Luxembourg for a whole month. A few weeks ago we were reunited all 228 boxes and packages, which made our house more than just walls.

So apart from unpacking and sorting out we have taken full advantage of being here by becoming weekend tourists, enjoying the ‘Summer in the City’ events.

 

Our first event was Kanner in the City, where parts of the city centre where turned into playgrounds with hundreds of different free activities for children to take part in. Meemoo and Pook had a wonderful time, exploring how to make different sounds with all of the interesting and different musical instruments.

However, the oddest thing I have seen in a long while was troughs of water for children to stand in and copy an adult in front of them doing various dance/aerobic moves. The children, Pook included loved it.

 

Last weekend we enjoyed the Street A(rt)inmation festival. It consisted of lots of art performers on the streets of the city. We saw lots of performers singing, acting and dancing.

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This weekend in Luxembourg saw the start of the Schberfouer in its 676th year. It began in 1340 as a sheep market and has continued to this day with a lot less sheep and lots more fun fair attractions. The first games appeared in the 18th century with a Ferris wheel and roller coaster appearing in the early 20th century. I have never seen a fun fair on this scale before, with restaurants on site and huge scary rides whizzing around overhead.

We went in the early evening, when the music is turned down for the children, before it got too busy.  Meemoo and Pook loved looking at all of the rides and enjoyed a few of the child friendly ones.

So we have had a busy first month full of polar opposites. There has been lots of unpacking, finding your way around a new city, registering Pook for school, trying to find some new friends, and then on the flip side being a tourist, making the most of exciting opportunities, seeing new sights, exploring and having new  wondrous adventures.

Maybe this is what it means to be an ex pat, somewhere in between a tourist and a true local who has seen all this many times before.

We’ve landed.

So we have finally landed in Luxembourg, to begin the adventure of our life as expats.

It all began last week with the arrival of the packing and removal company, who began the enormous task of boxing up our house. They were so quick just wrapping, filling and stacking boxes before writing in all down on an inventory, our life all packed up in 228 boxes.

I just spent time panicking that things I wanted would be packed so decided I was best off out of the way and had my hair cut. You gotta look glamourous arriving in a new country right?!  Meemoo and Pook were out of the way at pre school for thier last day.

The next day we travelled to Heathrow. Meemoo and Pook had never flown before so were amazed at all the people, the shops and restuarants. The pair of them squealed with delight as the airplane took off. The weather was particularly stormy in Luxembourg that evening so 30 mintues before the end of the flight all tables were away and seat belts back on as we flew through and around thunderstorms.  Meemoo and Pook however just thought it was an extended rollercoaster ride, with their arms in the air shouting again after each turbulence encounter and laughing as the airplane was buffeted by the wind and dropping through clouds. Finally we landed in Luxembourg and were reunited with Speedy.

We have spent the last few days exploring Luxembourg city. It is a beautiful place, with a new park for Meemoo and Pook to discover daily.

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We have been on so many buses, hopping on and off accross the city as we find our way around,

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but as I found out yesterday you need to be really quick at getting off as the buses dont wait, so we went on to the next stop and found a new way back to our temporary flat. Getting I am sure will be a common experience in the coming weeks.

Next we we move again to our new flat for the next two years and can be reunited with all 228 boxes and items.  How I am going to fit all of it into our new home I dont know. I do know that want to have spaces for play and spaces for grown up relaxation without stepping on hard bits of plastic. I do know I have to make a balcony, three floors up a safe place, and sort out how Meemoo and Pook are going to share a room.

So off to obssesivly scroll through pintrest for neat ideas!

Will keep you all posted soon.

Thanks for reading!