Sunday, July 08, 2007


Sometimes when you make a decision as big as the one we've made to move back to Canada, you are plagued with doubts (okay, even for some of the not so big decisions, but hey, it's me).

It's hard to leave somewhere we've been this long, and I've been worrying a lot about whether or not it's the right thing for the kids. We talk about moving home and yet this is the only home they've ever known.

And I am sure if you could open Stuart's chest you would see a little Luxembourgish flag on his heart, not a Canadian one. He's devastated by the move.

I will spare you the questions I've asked myself (and my poor saint of a husband - no sarcasm).

Last week our babysitter, a very mature young woman at 17, said "well they'll be Canadians and have a sense of belonging." She knows this from first hand experience, having moved to Brunei at the age of 8, living there for 8 years and moving to Luxembourg 2 years ago. She says she and her brother might have British passports but they don't really feel like they are from anywhere.

Hmmmm. This is definitely something in favour of a move.

Then the other night we were out (OUT!! US!!) at an engagement party for a good friend. Most of the people were English or Irish and everyone was speaking English. One of the fiance's colleagues was French and when we headed to a pub after dinner I spoke French to him. After he crawled back on to his seat ("Quoi? On parle Francais tout d'un coup?") I asked him a bit about himself.

He is, he tells me, "Franco-Allemand" (French-German). But it turns out he was born in Luxembourg. But he does not speak a word of Luxembourgish (though speaking French and German it is pretty much impossible not to speak some Burgish. It would hardly be like learning Chinese). And he has no intention of learning Luxembourgish.

It is, he says, NOT a language. It is a "dialect"... you hear the disdain dripping from his voice.

I will not berate this poor young man more than need be - though I would love to point out that he is entering competitions in France to become a civil servant and can't get in... whereas if he took a few months to learn Luxembourgish he would surely be able to land one here - in the country he has spent his entire life, with the exception of university - residing in.

I am not denying my own love-hate relationship with this country. But I can't get over the gall of someone growing up here and coming back to work here yet being so disdainful of his country of residence that he won't even acknowledge the official language of the country.

I don't want to judge (though I realize I am). But it just made me think that I want more for my kids than this. Being more Canadian than Luxembourgish, more Luxembourgish than Canadian - and somewhere in the middle not really fitting anywhere. I have seen it too many times here.

This afternoon in the car we taught the kids the words to Oh Canada. In English. In French. And of course the most famous version of all - the Hockey version, part French, part English.

Putting Stu to bed tonight he wanted to practice more. He's got a good little memory for song lyrics (we're still singing "Mama keukemol...den himmel as roodt" a song about Kleeschien - St Nick - in JULY!).

"Do you want to practice the French or English version?" I ask.

"Mo-oo-om!" (you know the "come on woman are you kidding me?" Mom) "NO! the HOCKEY version!!"

That's my boy! We'll turn him into a Canuck yet!

1 comment:

Maija-Leena said...

OMG! Stuart will have to teach us the song when we come to Canada next year... :)