Sunday, April 23, 2006

Well, we're at the end of Easter holidays... and I am serioudly late in describing some of the Easter traditions in Luxembourg!

As we live in a Catholic country, Easter is of great significance - perhaps the most significant being that Stu has been off school for two weeks!! Tomorrow is back to school - yeah!! He is (and we are!!) quite excited.

Easter kicks off on the Thursday - or Grengen Donneschdeg (which apparently means Holy Thursday, but sounds like Green Thursday to me - my Luxembourgish books have been in the car for almost 2 weeks...) On Holy Thursday the church bells all stop ringing because they are "flown" to Rome to be blessed (blessed... not CLEANED as I was convinced). Because of this local children go around for 3 days with lovely (please add sarcasm) wooden rattles called Klibberen to take the place of the church bells (they make way more noise and go on a lot longer). Luckily for us we live in town (yes, in town, even though we have a farmer's field behind our house) so they aren't quite so gung-ho.

Good Friday is apparently a very high holiday - however it is a working day for most of us.

Easter Sunday saw the arrival of the Easter Bunny at our house.... yum yum... given that the children have a chocaholic mother (who they take after!!) they thought that was just amazing... someone hiding chocolate for them to find!! The children with the Klibberen go around from house to house to collect money for all the "klibbering" they have done. Apparently they actually get some...?

Easter Monday is an official holiday here... called E'maischen. It is celebrated with two markets, one in town and one in a pretty little village called Nospelt. The highlight of the markets are small ceramic birds called Peckervillercher (loosely translated by my Lux teacher as "Little birds who peck"). They are hollow birds that you blow into and they whistle... and everyone has to have one, braving crazy crowds and numerous elbows to hand over a few euros. This was the 50th anniversary of the Peckervillerchers being sold - and yes, we have one for every year we have been here :-)

Marc and I both took the week off and have had a relaxing week hanging out with the kids and doing some things around the house - we have flowers in our flower boxes thanks to Monsieur le Jardinier (a.k.a. Marc). We even managed to get to Nancy, France for a day - just the two of us!! It was very nice, had lunch in a tiny creperie we used to frequent in our pre-kid days and did a little (lot!) shopping...

So here we are, Sunday morning... back to real life tomorrow. Blah... end of vacation blues setting in. But who can be sad watching Dora the Explorer?? Have to run - it's Boots's birthday episode and I am being called for to learn how to make a banana cake.. never a dull moment!!

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Birthday Week has our family we celebrate a birthday with an entire week of little things - cake, dinner out, movie, breakfast in bed or fresh-squeezed orange juice. This year however, I created a new twist - the Birthday stocking. As Tracy's favourite thing about Christmas - minus the friends, family and religious celebrate is her stocking - so this year, she also had a stocking for her birthday as well.

Happy Birthday Tracy!

Stu and Jools made some great cards and we had a great time last night walking into town and walking off an Indian dinner downtown and stopping off at a pub before catching the bus home. One of my best nights out in a while.

This is day two of Birthday Week and tonight is roast beef dinner and birthday cake...stay tuned for further updates.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Nothing more Canadian than a log cabin

Our 22 month old daughter is just learning to talk and it is amazing to see her put thoughts together, although in short bursts - "Stu's room - NOW!" is a good example. While visiting a local shopping centre, Julia became fascinated with a plastic wooden house. If that does not make any sense to you, then check a kid's store or catalogue for those castles or homes with the outrageous prices - 300 plus EURO in our case. She kept saying, "HOUSE ME!" "Me house!" and so on and so on. It was really hard to get her to leave.

Thinking this would be a one time experience was foolish on our part, as she kept repeating the same phrases all day and I mean ALL DAY. In fact, she would put her coat on and try to open the front door. We live on a pretty busy street and had to deadbolt the door. This went on for days. Tracy sent an e-mail to American Women's Club to see if anyone would be selling a house secondhand to help us out of our misery - but to no avail. But good fortune did smile on us as one was advertised in the English community magazine at a reasonable price. Both parents did a full court press to try and secure salvation.

We were successful. However, Marc took the directions to a tiny village in Belgium - groan now. Yes, it was raining and yes, we got lost. No surprise there...

Upon arrival, we met a lovely British couple who with their 3 children just moved to the area. This log cabin was much bigger than expected and did not fit in the station wagon. Curse Italian cars! Really, why have a station wagon if nothing fits in it? Fortunately, we thought to try their Volvo on the off chance it could fit. Well, of course it did - bonus points for getting a Volvo to replace the lazy Lancia. The previous owner offered to drive the log cabin to our house in Luxembourg - huge, as it about 40 km and Saturday traffic.

Got the cabin home and upstairs to the patio - powerwashed it, while the sun was out, as we have not had sun for about 8 days. Tracy and I tried brute strength to join 2 walls together - no luck. All to the singing of "House me, me house, house now..." God bless the rubber mallet! With quite a bit of pounding, in about 20 minutes there was a very happy little girl, who kept singing "House me, house me!" Her birthday present arrived early, but her parents couldn't wait to make her happy (and save themselves).

And now it is even easier to spot the European-ey Canadians in Luxembourg, as we are the ones with a log cabin on the back patio.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

We're going to try something new...

Okay - we are, for the most part, bad at keeping in touch. Between the kids, work, business trips and language lessons - well things get a little hectic.

So I thought we'd try this blog thing out to see if we could at least let you know what is going on in our little corner of the world - and share some of our experiences with being European-ey.

European-ey? you ask... the term was invented over a few glasses of wine and a good dinner at Hugh & Miche's a few years back. A friend had recently starting working for a company that made some "chocolatey" products - and the explanation of chocolatey (being chocolate like but not really chocolate if I remember correctly) somehow got translated into us being "european-ey". We have picked up a lot of the local habits and customs (some good some frightening) and could sometimes be mistaken as Europeans - but underneath it all we are not (we're just good ol' Canucks!)

So - it seemed a somewhat appropriate title for our blog as we have now had two babies here and bought a house and appear to be staying - Stu and I are both studyiung Luxembourgish (he's learning much faster than I am...).

Most of all we'll try and just post things so that you can know what is going on with us and find out what the kids are up to. We miss everyone at home - don't forget you are always welcome to visit!!