Friday, April 16, 2010

Confused by my yogurt

I recently bought this yogurt at the grocery store.  It looks completely ordinary.

 But look closely:  notice anything different?  Here's a hint:

The paper label was on the inside of the yogurt container, actually in the yogurt!  Why???
Did I get a defective batch or is there some good reason for this?

It was a little annoying to have to extract the soggy liner from the yogurt container because it tore into pieces when I tried to pull it out.  I guess if I had just eaten the yogurt with a spoon it would've been fine, but I was using it to make a smoothie for the kids.  And so I needed to dump the little yogurts out of their containers into the blender, but the annoying labels kept falling in too and then tore into pieces as I fished them out with my fingers.

And so I ended up with this:

A soggy, annoying mess on my counter.

I don't think I'll be buying that yogurt again.  Fortunately for me, there are at least 50,000 other kinds of delicious yogurt to choose from here (seriously, the yogurt aisle at the grocery store is incredible!  But that's another post.).

But, really, why?  So confused...

Thursday, April 15, 2010

New car

Our search for a new car is finally over!  We're the proud owners of a 2007 Toyota Corolla Verso, which, though it looks small, can actually seat seven people -- handy for all those visitors we're expecting.  (There will be lots of visitors, right??)  Granted, the two seats in the back are best suited for little people or those who don't mind riding around with their knees tucked under their chins, but the flexibility is nice.

The car search -- in French -- was daunting, to say the least.  Once I figured out what kind of car we wanted, I scoured the used car listings, emailed the possibilities (with the help of Google Translate), and set up appointments to see cars.  This was one of the first ones we saw, thank goodness.   The seller spoke no English at all, but I managed to muddle through the appointment and test drive, express that we wanted to buy the car and then... tell him our relocation company would contact him to work out the details.

I caved.  I don't have the vocabulary to talk about cars (the seller may as well have been speaking Greek when he was telling me all the car's fabulous features), much less navigate the pitfalls of insurance and car registration.  The relocation assistant has been wonderful.  She's taking care of everything.  I think I may love her.

So here's our new car:

So far I love it.  It is a stick shift, but let me say it is SO, SO, SO much easier to drive than the other car!  It doesn't stall at the drop of the hat, I don't have to wrestle with the gear shift to put it in gear, and it's really easy to shift smoothly.  I'm beginning to think that rental car may have had some issues.  Maybe all the trouble I was having wasn't due to my inexpert driving??  Or at least not entirely.

I can only hope...

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


I'm waayy behind on this blog but will try to catch up in the next week or two (don't hold your breath, though).  We have been busy in the past month trying to see as much as we can before our two years is up. I know, I know, we just got here, but there's a lot to see -- and we don't want to miss any of it.

Most of our outings have been short day trips around Luxembourg, Belgium or France, but we did take a longer venture to Paris.  That deserves a post all its own.  Near future, I promise.

One of my favorite outings was to Vianden on a rainy Sunday a few weeks ago.  It's reputed to be the most magnificent castle in Luxembourg, and it didn't disappoint.  Well, except maybe Will who says he's "had enough of castles."  (He'd seen all of two, but I guess to a five-year-old boy, that's enough.)

It's perched atop a huge hill, essentially dominating the skyline from any point in the little town:

It also offered spectacular views over the valleys below:

And nice window seats that allowed little girls to indulge fantasies of being princesses:

And plenty of suits of armor and scary, medieval weapons to interest little boys:

(I just noticed how the reflective trim of Will's jacket glows with the camera flash.  How funny!)

Gargoyles or other interesting creatures hung from the top of the castle:

And there were lots of great photo ops to make Mom happy (not that the kids were thrilled about it, but they mostly cooperated):

Apparently, Victor Hugo lived and wrote in Vianden for a few years and you can visit his house, which has been turned into a museum.  Being a big fan of Les Miserables, I wanted to see it.  But we didn't.  Grumpy, tired, cold kids aren't much interested in seeing the former homes of 19th century French writers.  Go figure.  Maybe next time.

There's also a telesiege (chairlift) to whisk you up to the top of the hill, but it was closed when we were there so we had to make our way to the top the hard way.  Maybe next time.

And there's an adventure park complete with rope courses and zip lines that let you whiz around the forest.  But it was closed too.  Maybe next time...or maybe not.

Bottom line, though, there will be a next time.  We're just going to wait a few months to let Will regain his enthusiasm for castles.  Or maybe letting him fly through the forest on a zip line will do the trick.