Last night marked my first month in Luxembourg. It’s amazing to be living here – my entire life and being feel so much more open and free. I truly love living alone (well, with my boyfriend, but he doesn’t count :P) and being “in charge” of my little life, even if that means a tonne of anxiety on difficult days. But that can always be solved with a short (chilly) walk or by burning a calming candle.
Even though I’ve done some pretty heavy-duty job-hunting this past month, I’ve also devoted myself hugely to my proofreading business, and my income didn’t even take a dip. The new environment and the new structure to my working-day have also made me feel so much calmer and more productive (even if I still don’t have any proper office furniture yet – a massive trip to IKEA is planned for this weekend though!).
The fact that I’ve been meeting a few more people over the past couple of weeks (mostly due to the super-lovely and super-awesome blogging community over here) has made life so much brighter, and I hope to meet lots more people from all around the world as the weeks roll on.
The language(s) barrier has seen me struggle a bit over the month, and I still haven’t started formal language lessons (hoping to do so by the end of this month though!). The worst is the utter feeling of frustration when a kind (or not so kind) employee at a shop or bus driver or another person speaks to me in French/Luxembourgish and I would have no clue (or only a small idea) of what they would be saying. Most of the time, it would be very simple to ask them to speak slower or to switch to English, but the initial pang of frustration with myself for not understanding the language being directed towards me makes me want to just give up. I was in Zara about a week ago, and a lovely man at the changing rooms spoke to me – I’m not sure what he said – but as soon as I realised that I would need to go the extra mile to try and understand (or to ask him to speak slower or to speak in English), I didn’t have the energy to even attempt anything. So I smiled and just left. I shouldn’t have done that, but in the moment, I was too tired and frustrated with everything. I definitely need to work on this (both my patience and my French language skills).
My innate sense of direction thankfully kicked in almost immediately upon arriving in Luxembourg, and I have a good idea of a lot of places in the city centre (and in the area where we live, particularly on the bus route). This (and a reliable bus service) has helped a lot with my ability to explore and get around.
One thing about Luxembourg which disappoints me (it’s not that big of a deal though), is their (seemingly large) lack of cider, which is my alcoholic beverage of choice. They don’t really seem to drink it here, and even the biggest supermarkets will only have a couple of the most popular brands (Bulmers and Strongbow), and maybe a local version that’s in a wine bottle with a cork. I even went to a pub last Monday where I would have thought they’d definitely have some form of cider, even if it’s just Bulmers in a bottle, but they didn’t even have that! Disappoint. I guess my year in Durham must have spoiled me (oh, to have a pint of organic cider at the Swan and Three!) – well, I’ll just have to find some beers I really like (of which I can stomach more than half a pint), or explore my options a bit more.
What else? The snow has been fantastic, even if we did get stranded a mile away from home last time in a snowstorm, because our bus just wouldn’t stop skidding and riding up pavements. It was fine though, I had my sense of direction to (roughly) guide us home.
I’m very excited about what the next month has to offer. Hopefully some more exploring of this beautiful country, and making our apartment a more homely place. I can’t wait.