I a British/Luxembourgish dual national and have lived in Luxembourg since 1999, I have two children (18 and 15) a lovely husband and crazy rescue dog called Fred! Luxembourg has been good to us, my children are fully integrated, speak 4 languages (not all fluently I have to add) and have in my opinion had a super childhood in Luxembourg. Two years ago I decided to learn Luxembourgish and am pleased I did, I would say to anyone that to truly appreciate the country you live in learn the local language and culture, a whole new world will open up and you will be surprised at how even a few words makes all the difference. I can say that I feel completely at home in this wonderful country. I still love going back to the UK to see family and friends as well as stock up on a few essentials (although less and less as years go by!) and I still miss the sea, but a walk in the beautiful forests or around one of the many lakes is equally as nice.
What studies did you do and what is your main activity?
I loved languages at school, despite rarely having the chance to use them living in rural Norfolk. I decided to learn French and moved to St Tropez to work as an Aupair. This love of languages and travelling lead me on the career path as a stewardess, first with Air UK then British Airways, a job which I did (and loved) for 10 years, even whilst living in Luxembourg (commuting was not easy though!) I then worked for the British Embassy in Luxembourg as a PA for 10 years and am now at the International School of Luxembourg.
How long have you been in Luxembourg?
Fast approaching 18 years now – time has flown.
Which reason took you to Luxembourg?
My husband’s work initially and was supposed to only be for 1 year….18 later!
Tell us few things that have surprised you when first arrived?
How nothing is open on a Sunday – coming from the 24/7 UK this was a real cuture shock. At first I found it inconvenient and missed spending Sunday afternoons at the local DIY store. Now though I love that about Luxembourg and feel this is a major contributing factor to happy family life. Our Sunday’s are mostly spend on family dog walks (of which there are many beautiful ones on our doorstep) and a nice long lazy family lunch.
Can you give me 3 adjectives to describe your life in the Grand Duchy?
Cosmopolitan, Charming, Picturesque
What aspect of Luxembourg would you miss if you had to leave tomorrow?
Quiet Sundays, fabulous sports facilities/clubs, great public transport/easy commute and hearing different languages every single day.
Tell us what is your preferred district in Luxembourg and why?
We have lived in Limpertsberg, Hesperange and Niederanven, and have loved them all. Each suited us at different times of life. Would recommend them all – Limpertsberg for walking to city, Hesperange for the great restaurants, park and river path (can cycle to town) and Niederanven for the fabulous pool, park and Aarnescht nature reserve (little known fact that wild orchids grow there!)
Can you give me one word in your language which is impossible to translate into other languages?
Kitsch meaning objects of art which the design is considered pretentious, garish and of bad taste but appreciated as such (like a lamp that I own and adore!) and serendipity meaning coincidence, happy accident, stroke of luck. OK that is two I know!
For which reason have you decided to join the JUST ARRIVED Ambassadors club?
I arrived in Luxembourg one very cold and grey November as a 26 year old young, first time mother with a three month old baby, I will never forget how lonely I felt, my husband worked long hours and I was away from friends/family and without a support network. My son had terrible colic and I soon worked out that the only way I could survive was to walk him in his pram around the city to stop us both from going mad. On one of those dark evening walks feeling tired, fed up and ready to get on the next plane home I came across a shop on the Glacis called ‘Magasin Anglais’ the lights were on and I heaved the pram up the steps. I stood in the shop feeling completely exhausted and overwhelmed, the shop assistant came over and asked me if I was looking for something… ‘Friends I said’ and cried my heart out! ‘Oh dear’ she said we don’t sell friends but I’m sure if you join the British Ladies Club (BLC) you may find someone else in the same situation’ and she handed me their monthly newsletter (yes this was before the days of Social Media !) I signed up and made some amazing friends, many of whom are still in Luxembourg today and are more like family now. I will always be grateful to the BLC and of course that lady in Magasin Anglais (who in bizarre twist of fate I met again after 18 years as we are now colleagues!)
I joined the Just Arrived Club to give back and if I can help even just one person feel a little more at home here by giving a little advice then it will be worth it!