Monday, March 22, 2010

missing that land above the clouds...

In the land of Lucian Maxwell
Where the quaking aspen grow
Where the wild grass fills the meadows
And the rocky rivers flow
By the hills that I call home

 * The hills that I call home

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Spring is springing?

There's something so refreshing about spring - especially when you've had one of the hardest winters in recent history. True story: there are Luxembourgers who had never seen snow actually in Luxembourg.

...until this winter:

Chateau grounds, February

But then, according to custom, these Luxembourgers had a little fete that, translated, means 'Burning Sunday.' This is a particular Sunday in winter when they literally try to burn away the winter. There were bonfires, parades, the occasional burning cross (in a very non KKK fashion, I've been told) and fireworks - making me think Luxembourg was under siege for the umpteenth time in it's history.

And you know what? I think it may have worked. The sun is shining, the birds are singing, and I don't think I'm going back inside. Ever.

Metz, this weekend...

bikes? in this weather?
yes please

games in the park, under the watchful eye of General Lafayette

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

the one and only Big Weave

Things I love about my poppa:

1. How he always let us bring him his coffee and newspaper when we visited - even though we were small, and loud, and probably not the best 'first-thing-in-the-morning' crowd

2. The way he took singing in the shower to a new level

3. The way he crossed his arms when we said grace before dinner

4. The way he called my grandma 'mom'

5. The way he wore his watch

6. The way he could just envelop me in a hug

7. How he always said, without fail,  'well, you know we love you and are so very proud of you' after every single conversation

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Oh, La Fromage...

These days I'm finding myself with another culinary problem. No, this isn't the same kind of 'I have enough corn-meal to feed this small country of Luxembourg' problem, but one involving food none-the-less.

My fridge wreaks. At first I thought it was spoiled milk, or maybe that questionable yogurt in the back. But even after a thorough cleaning, throwing away anything I thought could possibly be expired, it still smelled like something had died.

The culprit?

 Fromage. Cheese. Queso. Käse. 

I actually noticed this problem a few months ago when I first arrived to Luxembourg. I looked at my beautiful normal-sized fridge (as opposed to the cold shoe-box that could hold about three items), ran to the grocery store and took full advantage of the beautiful cheese you can find here in Europe. 

One of my favorite things to do in France was to go to the Fromagier, an expert of cheeses, at the market and walk away with something new and different. I remember one spring morning in La Rochelle, looking at the nice cheese-man, and telling him 'I want something stinky, green, and really really old.' 

It was so good, so flavorful, and set me down the path of stinky cheese adoration. 

Which makes for a very smelly refrigerator. 

Apparently this is a very common problem in France (oh, la belle vie) - wonderful cheese, terrible, unstoppable smell. The Dean says that there are products in the French market specifically targeted to solving this problem - sturdy plastic boxes, special plastic bags, the whole gamut. And of course, there are lovely home remedies, the most popular being to keep a piece of coal in the refrigerator.

I'm not sure where I can find coal, or even these fancy contraptions, but I do know one thing - I won't stop buying chevre anytime soon. This love runs deeps.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The Expat Book Club

As most of you know, I'm an avid reader. I think this is why most of the time I don't mind taking trains and buses everywhere - it provides a great opportunity to dive into a good book.

A few weeks ago I started to reflect on Lent - how was I going to prepare for Easter?

I decided to give up secular literature and to replace it with faith-based reading. What could be a better way to submerse myself in the reason for the season?


My first book? The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel. Strobel approaches Christianity the way C.S. Lewis did a few decades earlier - a skeptic trying to make logical sense of Christian faith. 

One of my favorite parts? He visits a scholar from the one, and only, Miami University! Hearing him describe those lovely red brick buildings just tugged at my heart strings....