Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Sweet Louie

Monday was a rough day at our house.
We had to say goodbye to our Sheepdog, Louie.

He was simply the goofiest, sweetest dog.

He was the first dog I’ve ever had and our first baby, really.

Shawn, Tina & Louie 2001
This is us at Christmas in our very first little house. 
We were 24 and had been married just over a year.  Louie was about 4 months old.
Don’t you love our teeny little television?  We had just bought our house, so we couldn’t afford a new one and just had the one from Shawn’s college dorm.
(I believe we were also using a card table as a kitchen table at the time.)

Louie was voted “Class Clown” in his obedience training class and romped like a puppy until he was about 8 years old.  He was always ready to go.

Louie Drives 2001

When Hannah was born, he instantly became her BFF.

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He moved with us to our second house and then to Luxembourg, traveling across the ocean in the belly of a plane, landing in Paris.  He didn’t mind.  We were his people and as long as he was with us, he was happy.

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And this week, 11 years after we got him from a farm in Southern Ohio, we said goodbye.
He spent his last days like this:

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We did everything we could, until the vet told us there was nothing left to do.
And so, with unfamiliar French chatter outside the door of our vet’s office, Shawn and I held and petted Louie.  When the time…was right…we told him how much we loved him, what a good dog he was and said goodbye.
And then he was gone.

After school, I explained to Hannah what happened.
We had been preparing her for a few days because we knew it was coming.
Tears spilled down her cheeks and mine.

“Will God give him haircuts in Heaven?”
Of course He will.

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Then she led me to her craft table, asked me how to spell Louie’s name and made a postcard to send to him in Heaven. 
(Sometimes the letter “u” gets turned upside down.)

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Rest in peace, sweet Louie.
(Or, Lonie, if Hannah’s doing the writing.)
You’ll be missed.

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To our dear friend “Miss Ham,” thank you so much for taking such good care of Louie in the months before we could bring him to Luxembourg.  He loved you and your girls so much!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

La Rentree Des Classes

Today was Hannah’s first day of school.
The signs all over Luxembourg didn’t let us forget it.

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Because August in Europe is for leisure, most of Luxembourg closes shop and clears out as everyone returns to their native country or goes on holiday.

”Rentree des classes” signifies September and the return of kids to school, but it’s also common to hear someone say, “A la rentree!” which basically means hey it’s time to get back to the real world after our extended holiday.

I barely had to rouse her from her sleep this morning as she was so excited for school. 
She picked out her own outfit, special for la rentree: a new dress, polkadot tights with stripes on the feet and black Mary Janes.  
Oh, and a Tinkerbelle lunchbox.
A girl’s got to have just the right accessories, no?

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Again this year, she’ll be attending the British International School in Luxembourg in the Reception class, which is pretty close to Pre-K in the US.  Shawn went to work late this morning so he could come with us to drop her off.  We toured the classroom and met her teacher.  Hannah was pleased to learn that her teacher is, in fact, British.  There may have been some concern over the summer that she might not be.

I picked her up this afternoon and she waved and smiled when she spotted me among the sea of moms.  She had an empty lunchbox and purple paint on her tights.
Both signs of a successful first day, no doubt.
(Here’s to 13 more years of successful school days.)

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Oh, and this is totally unrelated to la rentree, buy my new friend Fiona wrote this lovely piece about being an expat and living in a foreign country. 
She has a blog called Far, Far Away where she writes about her life in Luxembourg.
Go visit her.  You won’t be disappointed.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Burg Eltz, An On The Whim Day Trip

Today was rather typical for Luxembourg – chilly and cloudy.
We had planned to drive to Shawn’s work to meet him for lunch, but he was called into a meeting and we had to cancel.

My aunt had sent me a link to information about a castle, Burg Eltz, just across the border in Germany.  “This is nearby,” she said, “It’s Rick’s fave castle!”

Rick being Rick Steves, one of our fave European travel gurus. 
(We have several of his books and he’s never steered us wrong.)

So on a whim, we packed a picnic lunch and headed 157 kilometers, or 97 miles into the heart of the Rhineland. 

Then we took a short but twisty and wobbly shuttle to the castle entrance.

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(She is over the moon happy to have her grandparents visiting us in Luxembourg.)

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We bought our tickets and waited with another American couple in a cafĂ© for the English tour to begin, as instructed by the ticket salesman.   After some time had passed and there was no English speaking tour guide in sight, I entered the castle and asked the frau at the desk when the tour would begin.

”Die Englisch? You must go to zee office and ring zee bell and ask for zee Englisch tour,” she told me.

Right.  Why didn’t I think to ring zee bell and ask for zee Englisch tour?

In the meantime, this little girl made friends with a German woman and her dogs.
Sometimes her extroverted, lack of hesitation to talk to anyone scares me.

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No pictures were allowed inside the castle, but let me tell you, it was stunning.
Rick, I know why Burg Eltz (pronounced Boorg Eltz) is your fave.

And on the way out?

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Because someone has to make the Germans laugh.

(She’s gonna thank me for this someday.)

Friday, September 7, 2012

Holiday Roooooaaaaaadddddd!

Hannah and I arrived back in Luxembourg today after six weeks in the US.
We were so, so happy to see Shawn!
Besides one little delay that caused us to have to run to our next flight, our travels were pretty much smooth and uneventful.
Smooth and uneventful were the order of the day, especially after our last travel experience.

And! And!  We brought my in-laws with us! 

We landed in Brussels and introduced them to their first European public restroom, first European highway rest area and then headed to our house in Luxembourg.

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(But not before Shawn cued his inner Clark Griswold with his new car top luggage rack.)

Monday, September 3, 2012

Checking In…

I know it’s been a little quiet around here lately.
Hannah and I are still hanging out in the US at my parents’ house.
Here’s a little of what we’ve been up to.

While we were getting settled in to my sister’s old room, we came across this -
my wedding veil. 

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We played mini golf and spent some time with cousins.

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All lined up in age order – 7, 6, 5, 4, and 3.

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I spent an afternoon in the ER.
(I’m fine.  I promise.  Everything’s fine.)

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We spent an afternoon in Amish country and Hannah got to ride this beast of a horse.
She would have stayed up there all day if we let her.

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Hannah went to Vacation Bible School and my sister came in to town.
She and I spent a fabulous morning together that included coffee for her, iced tea for me and a trip to Sephora where she talked me into buying a face cream that costs more than a tank of gas.  Seriously, I never laugh (or spend) more than when I’m with my sister.

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Speaking of laughing with my sister, one of our oldest friends was over and we got to talking about dresses that we wore to high school dances.  Well, wouldn’t you know that my mom still has every single one of them stashed in the basement?  We started looking through them and before I knew it, we were each wearing one. 

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That’s me in the middle, in the dress that I wore to prom in 1995 with Shawn.
(It was a bit of a squeeze this time around.)
See our friend Erin on the right?
Yea, she wore that dress in like 1996. 
Now she has four kids.  INCLUDING TWINS.
And the dress still fits.
I mean, seriously.

Later this week, Hannah and I head back to The Lux.
We’re so excited to see Shawn and get back to our regular schedule, although I’m not looking forward to the long day of travel or the jet lag.  Oh, the jet lag. 
It gets me every single time.
But we have some little trips planned and lots to do before school starts.
Speaking of, I got an email with all of the information for the coming school year, including the name of Hannah’s teacher.

“I wonder if your teacher is going to be British or American?”

She looked me square in the eye.
”Well. I just hope she’s British,” as if nothing else would be acceptable.

It’s been great to be home for the last few weeks.
What a nice little break from translating and converting and the general feeling of being a foreigner.  Oh, and metric system, I have not missed you at all.


So if you need me in the next few days, I’ll be soaking up all my favorite American things.

And hanging out with these fantastic…

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…and goofy people.

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