I’m pushing forward into my 3rd week from leaving my little, independent life in Boston to Europe. I say Europe vaguely because we have been splitting time in France (weekends) and Luxembourg (weekdays). This will come to a halt next week when we lose free reign to the apartment we have been offered in Luxembourg because the tenant will return from his vacation on the 22nd. So even though I left with 3 bags and a backpack, currently, I still live out of a bag and a backpack.
Plans to establish a bank account and a foreign phone number have been stalled because there just isn’t enough time in the day. We get back in the afternoon on Saturdays to Metz from Lux and half the day is lost after re-grouping, doing laundry, cleaning out old food and trash that has been neglected from being away in Lux, then already having organized plans to meet up with several friends, you find you are pushed for time. Although I’m very happy to have the moments and laughs and drinks with friends, nothing is open on Sundays to do errands. Honestly, you can’t get to a grocery store. It’s mind-boggling, plus difficult to food prep between bouncing back and forth. So these necessities, not crucial, but essential will be placed on the back burner for next weekend.
This past week has been full of mulled wine, dinner with friends and family, Christmas shopping and running. We also had a family dinner with Julien’s family and got to meet his brand new 4.5-month-old niece. Trop mignon.
One problem I encountered with my American made electronics is the need for an adapter. I have one but left it in France. So phones, computers, curling irons, etc just won’t work without one. Luckily most things are convertible through USB but my curling iron definitely is not. And let me just tell you, the weather is almost always humid, even if it’s cold. Not good for hair that tends to have frizz. I thought the solution would be Luxembourg’s huge shopping mall/Target/Wal-Mart-ish store called Auchan. It’s magical, efficient, with name brands and others I’m not familiar with and I’m finding that I’m becoming obsessed with European fashion (mostly black, white, with a splash of color). Unfortunately, they did not have a US/Euro adapter but with the right tools, my handyman boyfriend made my hair products work like a charm.
The grocery store within Auchan is an adventure. Everything is in French and it takes me an hour and a half to get 15 ingredients, but I am able to budget healthy meals for two now. I’m learning my way around and starting to be able to differentiate between sour cream and yogurt.
Running has been allowing me to learn about each city. The roads are like Boston, cowpaths, no perpendicular or parallel concepts to help a tourist find their way around. There are buses in both cities but I find the rivers or forests or main streets help me get a visual and perception of my direction in space. And buildings and landmarks and names of roads help too. But from a previous blog, I’ve mentioned, one wrong direction and you could end up basically in Germany so…I take advantage of another fun fact about Luxembourg City, that there is free wifi provided everywhere. It’s a pretty remarkable concept. So I try to google map my directions on runs while on wifi and if I lose the wifi, I at least still have GPS to follow my path of direction. Hence this brings me back to why I need to get my new phone service, say heaven forbid, I also ever got myself into a real emergency.
This weekend I have to get errands done. I’m starting to feel this is not just vacation mode. I’m really living in France and will have to commute starting next week – eek. However, France has come to their senses and stopped controlling borders into and out of Luxembourg, so traffic should be less intense (instead of 4 hours it will probably be 1-2).
And no, I still can’t speak French but I did learn this expression: if someone asks you a question and the answer is obviously yes, you may respond with this catchphrase – Ne demande jamais un aveugle si il veut voir. (Never ask a blind man if he wants to see)