Five stages of ambivalence – our personal experiences of the Luxembourgish school system

The school system is probably the area of Luxembourgish society that has had the greatest impact on us, so I thought I’d share a few reflections on our experiences of it. I’d like to be very clear that they are just one family’s very subjective impressions though – our children have only been in three school classes between the two of them, so we’re hardly experts.  Our Luxembourgish school experience has been a bit of a rollercoaster – my feelings have evolved through five (sometimes overlapping) stages:
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Some thoughts on integration

For several months now I’ve been planning to write something about how far it’s possible to integrate into Luxembourgish society as an incomer, but it’s a big topic, and new experiences keep changing my opinions on it.  However, now that we’re focusing on planning our Seattle move, I suppose I’ve understood it as well as I ever will, so here goes…

Before arriving in Luxembourg I rather smugly assumed that even though our stay might be temporary, our family was going to ‘integrate’ here rather than living in an ‘expat bubble’ – our children would attend local schools, we would learn the language(s), and our social circles would be effortlessly multinational and multilingual.  The more that I’ve learned about Luxembourg (and about living overseas generally) I’ve realised that I was both naively optimistic and overly simplistic in my thinking – but I haven’t given up on the idea of integration altogether. Here are my thoughts after nearly two years here.

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Owning my time

When I decided to revive this blog recently, I mentioned that being more conscious about how I direct my attention and spend my time was one of my aims for 2017.  At the start of the year I felt that I was making real progress, and had started thinking about a blog post to celebrate this positive direction, but then my focus shifted because… we have decided to move to Seattle! This has meant a few weeks of intense discussions and decision-making, followed by a sudden increase in admin and logistical tasks, as the next couple of months will be focused on winding down our life here in Luxembourg and making plans to start over in the US…  So have I been using my new-found time management skills to rise to the occasion magnificently? Hmmm, not quite!  If anything, I’ve been backsliding slightly, due to the frustrating paradox that (until the urgent deadlines approach, anyway) I tend to procrastinate more when there’s a lot to get done… So here I am to kick-start my newly energised recommitment to conscious use of time, by reminding myself what I’d learned at the start of the year, and most importantly, what works for me when I’m trying to stay focused:

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Language update #2

Almost as soon as I publicly declared that I was going to avoid talking too much about the children on this blog, I found something I’m happy to share. I recently had conversations with both of them that got me thinking about a positive topic that interests me without being too personal: their growing language skills.  So here’s another update on our family’s experiences with the multilingual side of Luxembourg.

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Why so quiet?

It’s been over 6 months since I posted anything on this blog, & I’ve been contemplating reviving it for a while. I thought I’d start by reflecting on why there’s been such a long gap – I think there are 3 reasons:

The good: The easy / comfortable answer is that I’ve spent less time here because I’ve been doing a bit of writing & editing in other places recently.  As I’d hoped, starting this blog gave me the confidence to share things I write a little more.  I’ve done some bits & pieces for the BLC newsletter, and I’ve done a few interviews – as well as some other writing & editing – for City Savvy Luxembourg. Surely it should be possible to keep the blog up as well though? Which brings me to…
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More in common

When I woke up to the news that Britain had voted to Leave the EU, I was so shocked and horrified that the first thing that came out of my mouth was a sweary rant about “idiots”. Luckily, my husband is irritatingly good at pointing out when I’m not being so clever myself. “Really?” he asked. “You’re comfortable dismissing 17 million people as idiots?” I didn’t have a good answer to that, and if I was honest with myself I already knew that I had at least one intelligent friend who’d voted Leave after giving it some serious thought. So (after an initial few hours of feeling sick, shaky, and sad) I started to look for a more respectful and constructive response.
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