Q & A with an Expat

We never thought we’d move to Europe. Our relocation to New York from our cozy and familiar state of West Virginia was a big step for us years (and years) ago. Then our move to the Deep South was a huge difference–in accent, slang, food, and custom…The move back to New York after our nearly 5 year “exile” was not as smooth as we had hoped, but we did become quite cozy and comfortable in New York.

Then we moved to Luxembourg.

Upon our return “home” for a visit, we encounter a few types of people: those who want to know what our life is like here in this sweet little country, and those who are unsure how to approach the topic, and those who never (because of time constraints or lack of interest) get passed the subjects of family and current events. We’ve learned to distinguish the course of the conversation and, after sincerely investigating the events of their lives, we discern how honestly to answer or offer a snapshot of life outside the United States. Yet, even as Mr. Wonderful and I carefully answer queries posed, in the back of our little pea brains lie the responses with which we’d love to cut loose! Here are some commonly asked question:

1. So, how do you like living in Germany (substitute “Belgium” freely)? Answer given: Actually, Luxembourg is a country all its own, bordered by France and Belgium and Germany. Answer we want to give: You know, Luxembourg is  ON the map of Europe–perhaps you could take a peek!

2. Does everyone speak English? Answer given: Luxembourgish, French and German are the main languages used, but some people speak English, though we try to communicate in French first. Answer we want to give: Heck no, not everyone speaks English! It’s a FOREIGN COUNTRY!!!

3. What’s it like living in Europe?  Answer given: Oh, it’s hard being away from family and friends. The streets and parking spaces are small, the holidays are not the same, the language is labor intensive…but we are incredibly grateful for the opportunity! Answer we want to give: Are you kidding? Have you even looked at our posts on Facebook and Instagram? The castles, the views, the Eiffel Tower and the Tower of London, Vienna (the real one), the wine and the cheese and the bread…

4. Aren’t the people less friendly than we are in the United States? Answer given: Sometimes it’s harder to get to know people–remember, the language is a barrier at times and the culture is completely different. Answer we want to give: Do you kiss people you meet three times to greet them? If that’s not friendly, we don’t know what is! We’ve been welcomed and accepted by many of the nationalities we’ve encountered here, and it’s a privilege to call them “friends.”

5. Why did you move to Luxembourg, and would you do it again? Answer given: We had little choice in the move because we like to eat and pay our bills! Answer we want to give: Working and living in Europe is like a dream come true! We could never imagine being able to travel and meet so many fascinating and wonderful people on our own, so we knew our attitudes and approach had to match the task–to assimilate and appreciate and absorb the opportunity all around us with a touch of confidence and a ton of joy. Would we do it all over again? You bet we would!

5 thoughts on “Q & A with an Expat

  1. Diana and Mark,

    You were given an amazing opportunity and blessing to live in a culture far from WV.

    I have sAid several times I feel all young people should be required to live somewhere beyond home at least for awhile so they can experience life from another viewpoint. You can always go home….eventually.

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  2. Diana, Mark and I are eternally grateful you and Mark are living in Luxembourg❣️ Strange as it may seem, four friends from WV, getting together in Luxembourg and getting “caught up” on life events❤️❤️❤️
    Loved every minute of our time with you guys❣️❣️ Hoping for even more🤗❣️ Love you and Mark❣️

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  3. Diana, You state this phenomenon so well! We loved out time in Kenya and the travel experiences were amazing! We were disappointed to realize our health was affected so much by the third world pathogens that we had to come back early. We would have loved to stay a couple more years but, the thing you expressed so well was that people don’t know what you’ve experienced and so they don’t know what to ask (and there are those who just don’t care to hear) what has changed your lives so much!

    What was difficult about moving back to NY? We were only gone a year but the move back was very hard. I thought it was because we had lived where there was so much poverty. The American materialism is shocking after being away. I kept saying, “Life in Kenya was so simple but it was also very hard.” I’m sure expats have their unique adjustments no matter where they have lived.

    Your blog posts are always fun to read! Thanks for sharing, Donna

    I don’t seem to have your email address. Would you send me a quick email so I get it?

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  4. Thanks! Really enjoyed this. My experience was people either couldn’t relate at all and were not interested or thought we were bragging. It’s so refreshing to talk to people who think it’s normal to go to Paris for the weekend. (Why wouldn’t you when it’s 2 hours away?)

    We are adjusting to life in Juneau, Alaska and have just had our anniversary – 2 years!

    It’s beautiful but you have to fly to Seattle to go anywhere. The opportunity for wild life photos is amazing.

    They think we live in South East – I think it’s further north and west than I ever wanted to live.

    Determinedly looking for “what’s good about here”. Pat

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