Friday, August 19, 2011

Alternating cries of "Peekaboo" and "No not you!"

The cows over the back fence
Weeks two and three here in Luxembourg have flown by. Week two the kids were still home full-time so I spent most days here playing with them. After thinking I was making progress with Pepi towards the end of my first week here, Tuesday was a bit of a disaster. I think having a long weekend away from me made things harder - two steps forward, one step back! I really struggled on Tuesday, and got given the option of calling it a day early in the afternoon, but made the decision to see out the day and while I don't think I gained much ground with him that afternoon, I'm glad that I was able to keep positive and re-motivate myself. Again, I think things got better during the week, but we took a step backwards after the weekend, and this week they've been at creche, so I'm back to him repeatedly insisting "Not you" and "Go back to your room". Its weird, we will have a really good half hour when he just seems to accept that I'm there and will do things like play hairdresser and 'wash' my hair in a bucket of sandy water, but then two minutes later he won't have a bar of me. Hopefully we just need to give it more time, I often have moments when I don't understand what he is saying at all, or his way of doing things, and I keep reminding myself that if I'm still getting used to him, then he will still be getting used to me too!

Fountain and statue in a random park in Luxembourg Ville
Ollie is incredibly cute, I have no problems there. He gets a little shy when I haven't been around for awhile, but it only takes a minute to charm him back - "Peekaboo" has become a big thing between us this week! The only time he really isn't happy about me is when he's upset and crying - if I pick him up he just struggles and cries ever harder, and when I go in if he wakes while I'm babysitting - again, he struggles and cries even harder and calls for mama! But I reckon it will always be like this, he just prefers his parents over me, and I'm happy with that, in the end it was really sad that Alice would crawl to me rather than Jan back in Antwerp.

Street view on one of my walks
Last week I went out Wednesday to a Couchsurfers get together and on Thursday to an Internations function. I thought that people who organised and went to Couchsurfers events would be a bit strange, like weird older hippies and younger foreigner misfits, but actually it was really cool, I met some great people there, a couple of tourists but also a bunch of foreigners living in Luxembourg like me. I was complaining about the lack of extra-curricular activities and sports clubs here to join, and asked them what there was to do in Luxembourg. Their response - "Drink, and leave Luxembourg" doesn't bode to well! I might have to be a bit creative with my spare time!

Internations is an network for expats targeted at the business sector, but I went along hoping that I could meet some people who knew about volunteering opportunities. It had this whole 'speed dating networking' thing set up, but after spending five minutes talking to some random IT people, I sat down outside with a young Italian guy and proceeded to spend the next three hours just talking to him. He had just moved here for work, something in banking, and we were both complaining about how we had no friends here, and while he was arrogant and his opinions on a lot of things completely contradict mine, we got on well and I thought to myself, success, I've made a friend here...and then he just left. With just a 'well it was nice to meet you' and no exchanging of contact details. Italians....

Horse on one of my walks
I spent a lot of the weekend and this week just moseying around home, reading, watching DVDs and catching up on random errands like reorganising my harddrive. I'm broke, and the few non-Italian people I've met here are away as well, so I guess there hasn't been too much to do socially anyway. Monday afternoon I had a drink in the sun with Monica, a translator from Brazil that I met at the Couchsurfers thing, at a bar on the riverside down in Grund. I've gone for a few walks, I like how I can walk down one end of the street, past some cows and horses and end up at a huge forest, or I can walk down the other end of the street and find a shopping mall, fast food outlets and pubs. The best of both worlds!

Random buildings in Lux Ville
I've worked out a relatively hill-free running route, but I'm still baffled as to what it is about me running that makes men in cars want to honk at me. I get that daily running is really not as common here as it is in NZ, but seriously? It started back in Germany, with people honking and the bus driver flashing his lights at me. Here it's worse, someone actually leaned out of his window at a red light and repetatively yelled something at me today. But I've learnt the standard explanation for all weird behaviour here in Luxembourg - 'it must have been somebody French'. There are a lot of French people just accross the border who commute here for work or holidays, and they seem to have a pretty bad rap, although I have to admit the majority of bad driving that I've noticed has been by people possessing a license plate with a large 'F' stamped on it.

The Grand Ducal Palace - the baby among European palaces!
I've been pretty lazy on the whole getting-to-know-Luxembourg thing. I think I'm so blasé because I was here as a tourist in February, albeit for only a night, and I'm probably better off waiting until someone comes to visit so I'm not doing things alone. I did go on a tour of the Palace Grande Ducal, or Grand Dukes Palace today. It's in the centre of the city, and while the royal family live elsewhere, it is used for official stuff. Normally it isn't open, but they allow tour groups in over the summer. It was pretty cool, I guess a little like a tiny Versailles or Palacio Real, but less ostentatious, it felt like somewhere where you could actually live and work! It was built in three separate sections, kinda like parliament in Wellington, from the 1500s until the 1800s. The german occupiers during the war used it as a dancehall and pub, and apparently trashed the place, and it was restored last century. I asked a German couple who'd been on the tour to take a photo of my outside afterwards, and they both just said no and kept on walking, possibly the rudest people I've met here in Europe, but maybe they were pissed off at the tour guide's insinuations about the german-inflicted damage! I learnt heaps about the royal family as well, but I will post that another time. They have a temporary exhibition of Luxembourgish stamps (there you go dad!) but they were pretty boring, only stamps of the royal family. It's kinda freaky to see stamps of a three-year old princess, it makes me think of Suri and Shiloh on the front page of magazines.

The fork-tailed Lion symbol of Luxembourg done differently!
Tomorrow we are off to the Netherlands for two weeks! I don't really know where we're going, and I don't really have a solid plan of where to go during my days off, but it will be good to visit a new country (I did go to Maastricht, but only as a day trip from Liege) and hopefully to see the sea again!

Sorry for the lack of photos, for some reason I haven't really been inspired recently!

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