Almost two years ago, my husband arrived home with news: “They’re closing the Business and Research Center here and they’ve asked me to go to Europe.” Because we like to eat, because we like to pay our bills, because we like to live together (considering our 32-year deliriously happy marriage), because my husband has worked so hard, we moved to Europe a month ago. We live in Luxembourg, not in Germany or Belgium. This sweet small country, a bit smaller than Rhode Island, with a population smaller than the Greater Rochester area of NY which we called “home,” is beautiful, with hills and greenery and rivers–and CASTLES!! The language is Luxembourgish, or French or German, and, contrary to popular belief, not everyone speaks English! So Mark and I live in our little apartment in Luxembourg City, within walking distance to City Centre, a grocery store, brasseries, and boutiques, trying to navigate the differences, yet tickled to see any similarities in people and culture.
In the midst of this adventure in a foreign country, we miss our children desperately. Yes, they are adults and intelligent and more than capable, but as my husband works long hours and travels long distances, I yearn for the conversations and shared meals and sneaking twenty-dollar bills into their hands. FaceTime is amazing, but I can’t touch or smell the newly bathed head of my grandson. I’m so grateful for encouragement from my friends “back home,” who would run to help our college-aged kids in a heartbeat, who keep me laughing with silly texts, who remind me I have a mission here just as much, if not more, than in the United States. My husband’s and my dear sisters don’t forget us, and my smart and witty octogenarian mother surprises me with video calls through Facebook! What a treasure!
Our family slogan, in the midst of frustration and (outright) complaining about the tasks or life in front of us, has been to say “But the good thing is…” So here, the good thing is my husband has a job he loves. We have a comfortable place to live. We are learning, learning, learning so much. We’ve met some very kind people. We can laugh at ourselves (which is so important when you buy a 200 Euro fish dinner–more on that another time!). We have each other–whether near or across the ocean–we have each other. Yep, that’s the good thing.