Friday, July 21, 2006

Heat Wave!

The heat here in Luxembourg this week has been incredible - it has (from all accounts on the radio) been getting up to 35 degrees or hotter in the day and not dropping more than a few degrees at night.

We're just not equipped for it - places don't have air-conditioning. And I am not just talking about people's homes, I am talking about malls, movie theaters, grocery stores, offices. Anywhere that does proclaim to be air-conditionned, you find that at best is a few degrees cooler than outside.

Every morning there is a weather warning on the radio: put down all your blinds during peak sunshine hours (with an East/West facing house that is from 5 am until almost 10 pm at the moment), children and the elderly needs to stay inside and spend at least two hours a day in a "cool" place (which means less than 25 degrees - it would be helpful if they provided a list of such places), do not leave the house between 11 am and 3 pm, drink 1.5 litres of water a day minimum... etc etc. It doesn't help that we have a water ban on at the moment and we have been forbidden to fill small kiddy pools.

Last night it was 30 degrees on the main floor of our house. I don't even want to hazard a guess what it was on Stu's floor 2 flights up. Luckily we bought a small mobile air-conditioner a few years back that we roll from room to room to cool things down a bit - but it doesn't do as much as we had hoped and needs emptying every few hours.

I have been lying awake since 5 am trying to think of where to take the kids this weekend to cool them off. Poor Stuart fell off something at the park last Sunday and has a cast on his arm until Tuesday (nothing on the x-ray, but they wanted to immobilze his arm as he was in pain - what a week for it!!) so pools, if you could get into them, are out of the question.

My office probably comes close to the 25 degree mark - about 26 or 27 I would say (we hear regularly about how we have air-conditioning, though I sit near the building managers at the moment and I know one of them was up all night night before last because the alarm in the print room goes off at 40 degrees and it went off all night). Marc has nothing at work - how he is managing to wear shirt and sometimes tie is beyond me.

So - next time I am complaining about how short summer is here and how long and dreary our winters are, and how we long for it to be warm... I have something to refer back to!

Monday, July 17, 2006

The Stu

Stu fell in the park yesterday. Didn't seem bad, he was able to move his arm and not much seemed amiss. This was around lunchtime, so we packed up our stuff and headed home.

Well, by 7:00 last night he was so cranky and clutching his arm so Marc took him (against Stu's wishes) to the hospital. Apparently the x-ray process was pretty scary.

While they found nothing serious wrong with him (though there was some question as to if there was something wrong around his elbow) they decided to immobilize his arm for 8 days...

Poor little guy - what a way to start school holidays!!

Saturday, July 15, 2006


Yesterday was Stuart's last day of school - a lovely sunny summer day, the teacher invited us to a small party at the end of the day in the courtyard playground behind the school where we ate cake and sipped champagne (Luxmebourgish champagne - otherwise known as cremant).

I can't for the life of me understand how the last 10 months have gone by so quickly... this time 10 months ago we were full of angst. Would he be ok going to school? Would he make friends? Would he be able to speak Luxembourgish? Would he like his teacher? With all the schooling options here (Luxembourgish system, European School, International School, French School, Waldorf School... to name only the most common) were we making the right choice?

Well the answer to all of those questions turned out to be a resounding yes - he is heartbroken that the school year has come to an end and seems to think we are punishing him with summer holidays. He just can't understand why he can't go back on Monday morning. He wants to see Joffer Martine he insists (Joffer is teacher - at least female teacher- in Luxembourgish)

Looking around the school yard - cremant in hand ;-) - Marc and I watched him tear about, completely at home in his environment (more so than in our local park even!) playing with his friends and shouting out in Luxembourgish that bears no trace of an accent (unlike his mother's!!) We watched him hug his Joffer and had to drag him home.

Our little boy did better than we ever hoped for and we are so proud of him!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

It's amazing how their minds work...

We have been having a pretty hectic spring/summer, and I have not been very good at keeping up to date here about some of our adventures.

My Mum was here the last week of May and first week of June for a visit - and I was able to go with Marc on a business trip to Oslo for two nights. What a beautiful city, lilacs blooming, blue sky (it had been raining here for three weeks at that point), a visit with an old colleague - overall, lovely!! Thanks Mum for the opportunity!!

Another thing we did (to get back to how my kids minds work), my mum and I that is, was to take the kids to a little kiddies amusement park called Didiland near Strasbourg and spend the night in Strasbourg. It's a park geared, I would say, to the 3-8 year old crowd. My kids LOVED it.

Julia tried lots of the rides - insisted in fact (though she usually started protesting "me off, me off!!!" halfway through. The only one she didn't protest on at all was the flume which she thought was great. Meanwhile I was clinging to both kids and the raft (involved using my legs too) thinking "how stupid am I to take two small kids on this??"

Now my mum isn't that big on rides. Stu made her go on one near the beginning that looked really tame (hot air balloon thingys that go up and come down slowly) but in true Stu fashion found a way to make the thing spin in circles - and tested how fast he could make it go. She did venture a few others and was getting quite brave near the end of our visit.

I was still pretty surprised when Stu and I got off the (evil) bumper cars to see Mum and Julia on the caterpillar rollercoaster. Stu of course couldn't be outdone by his sister, so we had to go on. It was horrible!! Fast, bumpy and I got the safety bar wedged between my ribs (or at least that's how it felt). Mum and I agreed that it was not the most pleasant ride at the park. Julia apparently protested the entire ride.

Well, Julia has mentioned several times "Me go caterpillar with Nana, go fast fast round!" with frantic arm gestures. But it has been a few weeks. Then tonight, I was sitting next to her crib watching her. She was at that beautiful stage of almost dropping off... heavy eyes, slow hands, I stroked her cheek and she reached up to stroke mine... really beautiful bonding moment, remember why you had kids...

And then - eyes wide open "Me go caterpillar with Nana!! Round round, through apple, fast fast!!"

So Mum, I don't know what she was thinking about, but the 3 minutes of discomfort left a huge impression on a little person :-)

Tuesday, July 04, 2006


Here in Luxembourg, and in many parts of Europe, stores cannot merely have a sale. Sales are regulated by the government and happen twice a year - in January and July. This summer's started last Saturday.

Understandably, they are eagerly awaited and can get... well a little busy.

This afternoon I left work a little early (I decided that my lunch meeting *yawn* did not count as a lunch break and skipped out 1/2 hour early) and hit the mall near my office at just after 3:30. The mall was chosen for it's grocery store (needed food) and the fact that there is an H&M where I was hoping to pick up a couple of pairs of shorts for the Stu who is going through a growth spurt.

Well - even after 6 1/2 years of living here I was unprepared for the throngs of people milling aimlessly through the mall - at 3:30 on a Tuesday afternoon! Do they not have jobs? Do they have to wander like unherded cattle blocking any possible opportunity to walk quickly to one's destination??

Inside the stores is a different story. You can feel the tension as you walk in - people grabbing, no change rooms, 10 deep at the cash. I found not a single pair of shorts in H&M so I hit the Zara kids department next door, where I had far more sucess and found young Stu 3 pairs of shorts on sale.

I also found Julia a green top... in fact I don't think I ever intended to buy it even though it is quite cute (and I am hoping big enough!!) but there was this annoying woman who came to sand behind/beside/on top of me as I was looking at white t-shirts and this green one fell off the rack into my hand. Turns out (after a few minutes of me ignoring her and her standing even closer) that she wanted the green shirt in my hand. And yes, I was uncharitable and bought it for my daughter.

I'll be sure to take a picture of her wearing it... really , it's cute...

Sunday, July 02, 2006

My Hockeymom...

Happy Canada Day everyone!!

There was a great Canada Day party organized here in Luxembourg, up at a campground near Larochette. Great location, beautiful weather, barbeques, swimming pool, bouncy castle - what more could you ask for.

It was great to get together with other Canadians, drink a bit of Canadian beer (though sadly no BLUE)... even sing along to a bit of Anne Murray (I KNOW - but when you haven't heard it in a while and it's playing softly in the background, you'd probably find yourself singing along too!). And we sang Oh Canada in French and English (though not the "hockey" version which we are all most familiar with mixing French and English) and generally felt proud to be flying a big Canadian Flag.

But the best thing might have been the expression on the face of the guy wearing the "My Hockeymom can kick your footballmom's ***" - so happy to finally be among people who thought the shirt was cool - and actually got it!