Monday, August 31, 2009

On y va!

And so it begins! Tomorrow I'm leaving for Dusseldorf to pick up a group of students on Wednesday morning. Beginning Thursday we'll be thrust in to a fury of orientation activities filled with speeches (two given by yours truly) and field trips. I am so ready to get this semester started!

But seriously, sitting in my office, with nothing but my thoughts and a closet full of broken umbrellas (a rather one-sided lost-and-found), has been at times constructive, but almost introspective to a fault. On the constructive side, however, I've been able to create some objectives for the coming months: reconnect with old friends, discover true luxembourgish life, and find ways to challenge myself.

And speaking of challenges. I've decided to run a 10K in Munich on October 11th. This decision came after talking to one of my colleagues at the Chateau, an art professor who is running the marathon to raise money for an Fine Arts endowment at Miami. It's an inspiration, and I encourage you to check out her blog to learn more about her project.

So far training has been great. Running around town has been the best way to discover the little nuances of Differdange. I see people drinking espresso outside the local cafes, children playing in the park, couples strolling down the street - its iconic Europa and I love it.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Joyeux Anniversaire

I'm officially 23....yikes! Another year older, another year of adventure. It's funny, but, my birthday always happens on the cusp of transition - right before a new school year, a new job, a new living situation, etc - and in a way, its a great way to begin a new phase of life.

I'm starting to get settled into life here in Differdange. I was reading/reflecting on earlier posts from when I had first moved to France, and in a way, they are very comforting to read. The emotions were the same at the beginning - nervous, anxious for routine, a little homesick - but now, when I remember last year, those feelings are so foreign. By the time my contract was over, I had my myself a little home in La Rochelle. In French, the expression is 'c'est parallele', or 'it's parallel' to refer to similarity. I think its another charmingly French phrase -things more than just 'similiar', but the same in a way that they almost echo each other. One could says it's another way of rephrasing 'the more things change, the more things stay the same.'

Coming back to Differdange, I can't help but think about that - things changing, but remaining so similar. And three years ago, things weren't so different. I was in Greece on my 20th birthday, (my first time out of the country) cliff jumping, sipping on ouzo, wondering with excited anticipation what the semester would be like. Now, I sit in my apartment (unfortunatly Differdangs is sans cliffs) sipping on wine, once again trying to imagine what my life will look like in two weeks.

I'm still trying to find my feet, but, on my birthday, I had a few warm and fuzzy moments that made this place feel more like home. The first occured in the afternoon, after lunch. That morning, I woke up to find an email notification about a staff meeting at 2:30pm. Yet, when I arrived, there was coffee, plum tarts, chocolate and a lovely rendition of 'happy birthday.'

And all I could think, smiling ear t0 ear, was 'What a lucky girl I am....'

Saturday, August 15, 2009


home sweet home, circa a century or two ago

And so, the adventure continues. I'm in Luxembourg, drinking a large glass of Cote de Rhone, nibbling on cheese and bread, finding myself appreciating the strange familiarity of European life. The bells are ringing outside my apartment, I hear children playing soccer outside, off-tone ambulance sirens periodically interrupting, and I realize...this is my life. For the moment anyway.

My living situation has changed 180 degrees from that in my French life. For starters, I live in a Chateau. And let me tell you, nothing makes you feel like a giddy little girl quite like exploring a large 14th century house when no one else is around.

I should also mention that my goal for this upcoming year (after a somewhat 'basic' year) was to have a table. And chairs. And if possible, more than one fork. I'm happy to report that all goals have more than been met!

Today I walked around Differdange and found myself under a tree in the park, reading. Sitting there, I heard French, Luxembourgish, German, Italian, and suddenly, I didn't feel like the outsider. Maybe because I am a foreigner in a country of immigrants, or maybe because I am living where I first found myself in Europe. And here, in this little town in Luxembourg, I feel like I am reunited with someone I said good-bye to three years ago: wide-eyed, ready for adventure, believing in limitless possibility.