Wednesday, June 29, 2011

American Independence Day, Luxembourg Style

Last summer was our first 4th of July overseas. I spent the day stealing several moments to scroll through Facebook, wistfully reading through status updates of friends who were headed to cookouts or neighborhood picnics, Independence Day parades, and eyeing their plans to watch local fireworks displays that night. I was jealous…and more than a little bit homesick. Nick often jokes that I'm "America's #1 patriot" and, when it comes to the 4th of July, he's right!  

"Captain Mike" leads the Independence Day parade
in my old neighborhood in Ohio.
Growing up in a small town in Wisconsin, one of my favorite days of the year was the 4th of July, when my mom spent the entire afternoon popping a giant paper grocery bag full of salty, buttery popcorn that would double as dinner and a treat when watching the fireworks later that night from the high school football field. Years later as a teenager in Ohio, our neighborhood began the terrific tradition of decorating bicycles, wagons and lawnmowers in red, white and blue; parading them up and down the streets in an unofficial Independence Day parade, complete with a “lawnmower brigade” of several dads pushing walk-behind lawnmowers that stopped to perform military-style drills at points along the route! And for the decade that I lived in Washington, D.C., not even the oppressive heat and humidity could squelch the patriotism I’d feel while watching the fireworks from the lawn of the U.S. Capitol building, beneath the Washington Monument or along the banks of the Potomac River across from the Lincoln Memorial.

Ahh, there I go, getting wistful again.

I digress.

Anyway, instead of sitting at home scrolling through Facebook and feeling sorry for myself again this Independence Day, I’ve found a cookout to attend. And you can come, too!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Luxembourg National Day Events (June 22-23)

It’s the big day, folks: today is the start of celebrations marking the Fête Nationale, Luxembourg’s National Day. The weather looks a bit iffy at the moment, but claims that the rain should move out of Luxembourg Ville by about 6pm…let’s hope their forecast is correct, because we’ve got a lot to do this evening!

While the actual National Day is tomorrow, June 23, the celebrating starts today with concerts all over town (and all over the country), a torchlight parade, a dazzling fireworks display and more food and drink stands than a merry-maker would ever need to make merry. Read on for the schedule.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Dialing for Dinner

A lovely view in Cascade, Idaho.
After 8 days, 6 cities, 3 states, two 10 hour flights and 1,000+ miles driving in a car through the great state of Idaho, I’m back. Nick and I spent the last week in the U.S. on a whirlwind tour visiting friends and family who promptly wore us out by dishing out great stories, stuffing us silly with American favorites, and showing us a truly terrific time in general. Just take a look at the incredible view to the right.

We landed at Findel yesterday morning and, by some minor miracle (i.e. a four hour afternoon nap); I actually managed to muster the energy to cook dinner last night. Because usually after returning home from any kind of out of town trip, this House Frau is first in line to suggest that we order in for dinner. So frequently, actually, that I’m a little embarrassed to tell you that I’m pretty sure the guys at Royal Bengal know my regular order.

Anyway, it took me a little while after moving here to discover that we actually could order food for delivery in Luxembourg, so I thought I’d share my growing list of restaurants that offer home delivery with those of you who are new to Luxembourg Ville. It’s so nice to have the option to not cook on those nights when you’re just back from a trip, when it’s raining, when walking around the corner to pick up take out just seems too far to walk, when it’s Wednesday…you catch my drift.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Le Chien a Mangé Mon Devoir (The Dog Ate My Homework)

Since moving to Luxembourg a little over a year ago, my French has gone from nonexistent to awful. And this is actually something I’m incredibly proud of! Hey, progress is progress.

When I moved here, I knew a few important words that had stuck in my memory from previous vacations, like s’il vous plait (please), merci (thank you), pardon (sorry), ou est le toilette (where is the bathroom) and un autre verre de vin, s’il vous plait (another glass of wine, please). But that was all. Hardly enough to live on in a country that only recognizes French, German and Luxembourgish in an official capacity. I knew that I’d be able to get by on English to an extent, but hey, I’m in Luxembourg; I should be speaking a language spoken here, not expecting everyone in Luxembourg to speak the only language I speak. So, I started researching language classes.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

User’s Guide: Crime Buster! (Well, almost...)

Last spring while waiting for a bus at Hamilius one Sunday afternoon, a few teenagers appeared, clad in black trenchcoats, piercings, and one sporting a giant Mohawk. They seemed possibly a little bit drunk and definitely a little bit rowdy. Out came a can of aerosol hairspray and a lighter, which they proceeded to use to blow flames at each other and also at buses, spraying flames directly onto the windows where passengers sat on the opposite side. Looking around, Nick and I saw other people sharing furtive glances and moving a little further away to wait for their respective buses. Nobody seemed to know what to do to get them to stop, including us.

We had only been living in Luxembourg for a month or two at this point, so we were at a bit of a loss for what to do to help the situation. Did this constitute an emergency, one worth dialing 113? We weren’t sure. So far, there had been no serious property damage and the teens clearly were just being stupid in their dangerous actions, probably not out to hurt anyone intentionally. I decided that since nobody around us seemed panicked, the non-emergency number would be our best bet. I whipped out my phone to start searching for a number to call. But after nearly ten minutes, I still could not find a better number for the police than the 113 number designated for emergencies.

Fortunately, a bus driver with his wits about him pulled in, yelled at the teens, and (I suspect) notified the police. Minutes later, a police van roared around the corner, sirens blaring. They diffused the situation, and everyone went on their merry way. Except me, who kept stewing about not having being able to find a non-emergency phone number for the police. (Usually, I am an exceptional Googler!)

Early this morning, though, I finally earned a little redemption.