Wednesday, July 6, 2011

What I love about Luxembourg

I love Luxembourg.  I really do.  I think it's a beautiful, unique, utterly charming country.  I have thoroughly enjoyed my time here, I cherish the people I've met, the places I've visited, the experiences I've had, the little (and not so little) differences that remind me that I am in a whole new part of the world.

However, in the past few weeks I've been feeling, to put it bluntly, like I can't wait to get the hell out of this country and go back to America.

Maybe all expats feel like this at some point.  For me, I think it's a combination of a few things:  the endlessly long school year (July 15!); the constant pain of my knee injury (3 months now!) and the uncertainty about whether I'm facing surgery; a husband who travels constantly, leaving me with sole responsibility for house and kids (you try managing two kids and a 5-story house with knees that don't do stairs. 3 months of going up the stairs on my butt!); plus the fact that I haven't seen my family in an entire year.  (Note to family:  COME VISIT!!)

Last week, after nine days away, Roger came home to find me crying on the couch while the kids enjoyed a dinner of chips, crackers and day-old pastries.  It was not a pretty sight.

I know that all of this is temporary.  It's been a rough spring, brutal, I think, when I'm really feeling sorry for myself, but these feelings will pass.  I am sure that a good, long trip home will rejuvenate me, give me some perspective (really, I don't have it so bad.  I know that.), and restore my enthusiasm for life in Luxembourg.

So, to get me through these last couple of weeks before school is out and I can, in fact, get back to the good old U.S. of A. for a long visit with my family (and possibly a knee surgery or two), I thought I'd try writing about some of the things that make me love this country and my experience here.  Maybe a reminder of how lucky I am to be in this incredible place will snap me out of my self-pitying funk.

There are actually dozens of things that I love about Luxembourg not particularly things that other people would appreciate or even notice, which is why I haven't posted them here before*, but if listing them cheers me up and reminds me of why I love it here, then that's a good thing, isn't it?

So, with that said, here it is, the first thing about Luxembourg that I absolutely love, something that makes me happy every single day, without exception:


The view from my deck in early spring.
 Luxembourg is surrounded by forests, and they are glorious.  Having never lived anywhere near a real forest, I didn't realize how much I would love it.  Spring, summer, winter, fall -- it doesn't matter.  I love the forest in every single season.  In fact, I really can't decide which season I love best. Fall is spectacular, with all the magnificent colors, but then spring is so exciting with the neon green leaves, the bright color after all the months of drabness.

But then winter can also be spectacular:

Really, the forest is gorgeous in any season.  And did you know that from any point in Luxembourg City you can walk to forest in 15 minutes or less?  I'm even luckier because I don't have to travel 15 minutes, I have the forest literally in my back yard.  Even though I can't spend hours walking in the woods (because of my knees) like I used to, I can still sit on my back deck, enjoy a glass of wine and watch the birds and butterflies--and bats--swoop through the trees.

Now who could be depressed with a view like that?

Not me... :)

* Okay, so maybe I have posted about forests before, once or twice or twelve times.  But it's a big one for me.  


  1. oh, hugs to you. you are one of my favorite people in Luxembourg. I'd gladly take you back to the States with me. I know you'd fit in one of our Eddie Bauer duffel bags. I'd pack you a little snack to eat in there - cremant, speculoos and a pain au chocolate from Oberweis (in keeping with your diet) I know it has been tough for you lately. I wish I could have been of more help. Now I have to leave you in the care of others. Hmph. Not that I've been any help anyway. But at least I could keep an eye on you. If I had a magic wand I would definitely use it on your naughty knees. I sincerely hope you get some relief soon. I'm here for you even when I'm not. xo

  2. Oh, Katy, what am I going to do without you? I'm tempted to take you up on your offer to smuggle me back home (the snacks alone are nearly reason enough -- and you reminded me of three more things I love about Luxembourg. Maybe you should use that duffel bag space to carry a stockpile of those delicious snacks back to Seattle?) but we'll be heading home just three short days after you. I do appreciate the offer though. And what are you talking about? You have been an enormous help to me this year, for emotional support and otherwise. You may be moving thousands of miles away, but you'll be getting that fancy iPhone, so I have no doubt I'll still be able to call on you whenever I need you (and vice versa too). You'll probably even set up your voicemail box, right? ;)

  3. Don't feel bad that despite all the lovely scenary there you still want to be back at home.

    I've never met you so I don't know how you usually handle things but I can offer this perspective.

    Any pain over a period of time can wear the strongest of people down, and especially when it can interfere with the day to day things you used find simple to do. Dealilng with pain when you aren't in your own environment (no matter how long you've been in Luxembourg its not home home like the US will be for you) can be even more difficult to handle because you don't have the same network around you (no matter how great Luxembourg and its quality of life is etc).

    Ongoing pain has a strange way of affecting everything in your life so if you can have the surgery that should aleviate the pain then do it, or talk to a gp about a pain management programme (different meds etc) until you can have something. Make sure you are getting sleep and supporting your knee enough. All sounds straightforward but as I said ongoing paiin clouds judgement.

    (take this from someone who has scoliosis and had surgery when she was 33. I managed for years and it never bothered me but once the pain changed that was it, everything became difficult. Same with this year, thyroid levels have altered so pain levels have changed and the lack of sleep really increased the pain levels which increased my frustration and a vicious circle began...

    as my Gp alwasy says: start by treating the simplest thing and slowly the rest will fall back into place.

    hang in there and I hope you feel better soon :)

    and if I can offer any advice on how else to deal with ongoing pain, then please ask!

  4. Chele, thanks so much for your comments. You're absolutely right: pain and lack of sleep make dealing with life's little bumps so much more difficult. Nothing makes me lose my rosy outlook faster than sleep deprivation, which is why I should not be on the computer at midnight. Can't promise that will change anytime soon, but I'm going to try! I hope your surgery brought you some relief and that you've found a way to deal with the thyroid issues.

  5. Yeah well it's is so much easier said than done to not be on the pc late but having family and friends in a time zone (that is more than 1 hours difference) kinda puts paid to that.

    I know most people dont like using medications but if you can find even something natural to help with the sleep it might help a bit more with the pain.

    yeah hopefully thyroid will be stabilised soon, I'll know in 2 weeks! and the surgery thought me to realise Im not superwoman and that there are ways to work around stuff.