Thursday, January 27, 2011

Thisclose to Being Kicked Out of Germany

This is the first of probably a very, very long list of "learn from my mistakes" posts to come.

Today, I went on a day trip with a friend to Saarbrücken, Germany. On the bus, we started chatting about carrying around our U.S. passports, and I was genuinely surprised when she told me she carried hers with her at all times. I don't, because I always worry about losing it; I also assumed that with open border agreements in Europe that I'd never need it for a quick day trip close to home. Plus, I've traveled in and out of the Luxembourg border countries several times and have never been stopped before.

Well, wouldn't you know it, just about ten minutes later, our bus was stopped by a police blockade.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

User’s Guide: Adventures in Grocery Shopping

Last weekend, I braved the masses on Saturday to go grocery shopping at Auchan. Auchan one of the biggest stores in town (read: country) and is pretty much a megamarket of the kind that rivals the biggest Target Greatland or Super Wal-Mart you’ve ever seen. In fact, since there are no department stores in Luxembourg, mega grocery stores like Auchan are actually anchors for the few indoor shopping malls in the country, believe it or not.

Anyway, I enjoy buying bread from the boulangerie up the street and flowers and vegetables from the farmers’ market when I can, but I love, love Auchan. This place has helped me to not only improve my work-in-progress French (via puzzling over labels and trying to decide if the product I’m eyeing is actually the product I want), and it’s the only place in town where I can buy an 18-pack of Diet Coke and a family pack of chicken breasts to trim and keep in the freezer in one stop…so, it’s like a little slice of the USA, right here in Luxembourg. So, if you’re new to town and are overwhelmed by the price of meat (so expensive) or underwhelmed by the over-picked produce selection at the grocery stores in town, hop on the bus and head to Auchan. Just make sure you’ve got a sturdy rolling grocery cart and keep a few of my following tips in mind:

Monday, January 17, 2011

Sunday Staycation

We do not own a car in Luxembourg and - at least so far - having wheels at our disposal is not something we miss on a regular basis. But when we do rent a car, as we did this past weekend, it is a real treat to be able to both run errands and to do some sightseeing in the area, visiting places that would otherwise require more complicated bus or train travel to reach. Yesterday we went to Rodemack, France, then followed the Moselle River up to Schengen in Luxembourg and ended the day at the Luxembourg American Cemetery and Memorial, just outside of Luxembourg Ville.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Gambling House Frau

Today was a gray, cold and rainy day; yet another in a long stretch of gray, cold and rainy days here in Luxembourg Ville. So, what's a bored house frau to do when she wants a mini adventure on a rainy day? Why, head to the casino, of course!

Friday, January 7, 2011

A Pastry for Every Holiday

On its country profile of Luxembourg, the US State Department writes that it is against Luxembourg law to collect information about religious practices...but our Luxembourg guide book says that the country is 90% Roman Catholic, so we'll go with that figure. Being such a Catholic country, there are a number of religious holidays that are celebrated much more widely here (and throughout Europe) than I ever noticed being celebrated back home in the US. And there seems to be a delicious pastry to go with every single one of them.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

No broken legs & I still have eyebrows

Nick and I wrapped up 2010 in Garmisch-Partinkirchen, Germany, visiting Nick's sister Jill and her boyfriend, Tim.  They treated us to great skiing (so great, in fact, that General Petraeus was skiing at the same place with his family while we were there!); to some near-death experiences on New Year's Eve during a town-wide homemade fireworks display, to an annual New Year's Day ski jump competition, and to yet more near-death experiences on sleds down a ski hill the day after.  It was an excellent spot to bid adieu to the old year and ring in the new one, and here is a writeup with photos to prove it:

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

9 Months In

They say that some of the most stressful things in life include selling a home, moving, leaving a job, and planning a wedding.  In 2010, my (now) husband, Nick, and I did all of those things.  So, with the craziness of last year behind us, it's time to start blogging about our experiences living abroad!