I’ve just landed in Luxembourg, and it’s been a bumpy entry. Was it really less than one month ago that I was in Felixstowe, that seaside town on the very edge of England, packing boxes, saying goodbye to loved ones? If I could turn the clocks back just two weeks I’d tell myself this:
Bulbs. They aren’t the same here, and your removal men will take yours from your lamps and standard lamps, leaving you stuck. Buy a supply.
Plug adapters. You know when Blockbuster closed down they had a huge box for sale and you bought eight, thinking you’d done well? Think again. Hairdryer, mobiles, laptops, EVERY lamp (even though they don’t have bulbs!) Buy the whole box because you won’t be able to get any here for love nor money.
Be prepared to go offline for a while. A long while. Think of it as an Internet holiday.
Diet. Get that weight down because it sure as hell won’t go down once you’re scoffing fresh pain and fromage. And drinking encore le vin.
Speaking of which, be ready to be told your French is bad and please can you speak in English so you stop confusing people.
The good news? All of this is normal. So says my `Living in Luxembourg` guidebook, which also helpfully pounts out that organised people who are used to being in control will find the early months especially disconcerting. Oui? Cest moi!
The kids, though, are fine. Ducks to water. Speaking of water, and also speaking of those extra pounds, in the past two weeks I have become a gym whore. I thought I might have found the perfect place, basically because they offer a class that promissed a svelte figure tout suite, but sadly the instructor hadn’t heard of women’s lib and spent the whole class referring to double ds and derriers. Pa pour moi, sil vous plait.
My next attempt seemed to be going much better until I ventured into the sauna area, to be confronted by naked men en masse. Very Britishly, I fled in panic, not even doing the correct thing and checking my bracelet over the switch to exit, but ducking under the barrier. My French was simply not up to the lengthy explanations needed at the reception desk, so I paid the extra suppliment for the 30 minutes (according to my bracelet) that I’d spend in the sauna. As if I’d dare! I don’t even think it was a mixed session.
And today, at a brave third attempt, I tried biking in the water. Yes, aqua aerobics! Now, forgive me fellow Brits, but in the homeland aqua exercise is for those who are expecting, or look as if they may be. Not so, here in the Grand Duchy. These women were fit. They pounded those bikes into the ground, and if there had been wheels involved they would have won yellow shirts. But, more impressive to me, they wore the cutest outfits. Bows and silver clasps and sparkly bits. The water shone with cubic zircona.
So, if you spot a Brit in a one-piece, it just might be me. But in a few months, when I’m fully intergrated, I expect to be sparkling in the water, or the water sparkling on me as I brave that sauna with no sense of shame. Bon Chance!