I Live in a Small Town (with apologies to Mr. Mellancamp)

Posted in Luxembourg on April 26th, 2012 by admin – 6 Comments

So I’m in line at the grocery store yesterday.

The woman in front of me is paying. The clerk informs her, in French, that she has earned a 5 EUR fidelity check. Would she like it now, or would she like to let it ride until she has earned 10 EUR?

“Oh,” says the customer, clearly baffled. “In English, please?”

Before I can jump in to help, the clerk repeats it in English, and then turns to me. In French, she says, “Did I get that right? Because I know YOU speak English.”

Oui, madame. Yes, you did.


Posted in Luxembourg on February 26th, 2012 by admin – 14 Comments

Flying away on a package tour for the first time ever.

I’m wondering how many blogs out there in the Blog-O-Sphere have entries that begin with some groveling excuse about “Sorry, Dear Blog, that I’ve forsaken thee”?

Well, here is another one.

My standard excuse is something along the lines of “Luxembourg is so normal/charming/lovely, that you will be tired of my constant glowing descriptions of Michelin-rated restaurants and encounters with professional cyclists.”

In Moscow, you could always count on seeing someone pooping by the Lenin Library or stumbling home at dawn through the park in a suit jacket, dress shirt, tie, and dress shoes but no suit trousers or passed out across the hood of someone else’s Lada.

It was so colorful. Never boring. Every day another blog topic.

Here, I have to leave town in order to generate some material for my long-neglected blog. It is scanty, but I do have a few things to share.

First, is that I finally ventured into the world of Package Tours. I always do my own travel arrangements myself, armed only with Expedia, Trip Advisor, and the ability to spend hours googling. For once I thought I’d let the travel agent handle everything for me, and over all, I have to say it was a pleasant change of pace. Not something I want to do every time. But worth trying. Although I didn’t feel that way immediately.

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In Which I Win! I Win!

Posted in Luxembourg on January 6th, 2012 by admin – 5 Comments

Andy celebrates my winning the contest for L'Essentiel readers.

One of our little local newspapers runs regular contests for readers. You send in a text message, and maybe you will win tickets to a concert or something.

I have entered before and won (tickets to see Kate Nash, which I was unable to use, alas). I have entered before and not won.

On Tuesday, the contest was “Win a Chat with the Schleck Brothers and Laurent Didier.” (Didier, another Lux pro-cyclist, will be on the new RadioShack-Nissan-Trek team with the Schlecks.)

Perfect sort of contest for me, you would think, right?

Except I didn’t see it. read more »

Poubelle Piracy

Posted in Luxembourg on December 31st, 2011 by admin – 10 Comments

So last week was Christmas.

Our street–nay, the entire Grand Duchy–was deserted as residents fled for the slopes or warmer climes. read more »

Remember When We Were in High School and the Michelin-Starred Chef Cooked Us Lunch?

Posted in Luxembourg on December 6th, 2011 by admin – Comments Off

Yeah. Like THAT ever happened.

Yesterday, my kids reported, in an almost off-handed manner, that, oh, by the way, we had a chef prepare lunch in the school cafeteria. He was someone’s dad.


Today when I picked up the local newspaper, I saw this article. Seems the chef, one Renato Favaro, was recently named Luxembourg’s Chef of the Year by Gault et Millau.

Although only the 7th graders got to participate (and neither of my kids are in that grade), in addition to Favaro, Michelin-starred chef Rene Mathieu conducted a workshop for 23 students. But being the bon vivants we are, we have all experienced Chef Mathieu’s cooking at the Bourglinster Chateau (but I confess, I did not know he had a star when we ate there a few weeks ago).

So what do fancy chefs make teenagers for lunch? read more »


Posted in Luxembourg on November 9th, 2011 by admin – 7 Comments

The mall on November 1. Too early? Or just in time?

I had a cultural misunderstanding last week at the mall.

I arrived bright and early one morning to discover that the entire mall had become a winter wonderland.

“Noooooo!” I groaned to myself. “It is waaaaaay too early. Sheesh! Even in Luxembourg?”

Then, this morning, I heard Mark Weedon discussing this very thing on ARA City Radio.

The decorations are not up early at all. Not when you have Kleeschen coming on December 5.

Thank you, Mark! read more »

To the Nice Woman in Line Next to Me at the Bakery Yesterday

Posted in Luxembourg on October 28th, 2011 by admin – 8 Comments

You spoke only a word or two in German. No French. You wanted a couple of pastries for you and your kid, but you didn’t know how to say that. You wanted to politely point at them through the glass.

The woman working behind the counter knew what you meant.

“Have a seat on the restaurant side, and one of my colleagues will serve you there,” she said. In French.

You didn’t understand, so she repeated it. All very kindly, but still in French. read more »

Old News

Posted in Luxembourg on October 20th, 2011 by admin – 5 Comments

I apologize for being such a lousy correspondent lately.

It is not that anything bad has been happening. Far from it. Life is just chugging along, but not much of it is either very amusing or very noteworthy.

I will share two good family outings you might enjoy if you have kids or guests or friends you need to entertain. or if you just like these sorts of things. I would go to them even if I didn’t have kids. read more »

The Romance of the Ruble

Posted in Luxembourg on September 1st, 2011 by admin – 5 Comments

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Found on My Phone

Posted in Luxembourg on August 31st, 2011 by admin – 5 Comments

Text messages from this summer. I was writing to one of my favorite-est people ever–a wonderful, hilarious woman who was my colleague back in the day. When I was part of the working class. Pushing health insurance for The Man.

I share this as a reminder that these trips back to the USA are not vacations. The good news is that they can be rife with blog material.

Me: You’ll love this. At MIL’s. TV on, as always. Never mind we are only here 5 nights. Tonight’s special feature: the RAPE episode from All in the Family. With the Closed Captioning on just in case the kids miss the details.

Me: The Spouse says, “Mom, the kids are here.” She replies, “You can go out on the porch.”

Me: Best of all? It’s a two-parter. read more »