A Love Letter to Luxembourg

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It’s Valentine’s Day and Meredith Moss knows who she’s sending her love letter to!

Dear Luxembourg,

Before Sweet British Pete mentioned he had an interview in your city, I am embarrassed to admit I thought you were part of Germany. I know, I KNOW! I’m ashamed and I want to start by saying ‘I’m sorry.’ I also want to tell you that you are so much more than an easy companion, located smack in the middle of Europe. I imagine it must hurt your feelings to hear people list one of your greatest attributes as ‘easy to get to other places from.’ This must make you feel like a slutty springboard launching your citizens into the great beyond but hear this: When we plan these journeys to visit these lands, excited to see how fabulous these other parts of the world are, as the astonishment of sunshine fades, we slowly, mysteriously start to miss you. We miss the bizarre banter of a waiter who greets us in French, takes our order in German and then bids us ‘Addi.’ If we live in somewhere other than Belair or Merl, we miss the sudden appearance of cows in the fields and even pigs in the street.

We love the small world encounters you offer us on a daily basis even if it means pretending to be engrossed in a magazine while standing in line at Delhaize so that your doctor doesn’t see you are buying nappies, a wheel of brie and four cases of Crémant at 9:15 am. (Seriously, Luxembourg, your reasonable wine prices make discerning drinkers of us all).

We love your petrol stations, filled with stuff that dreams are made of. Need to pump some petrol but don’t want to smell like a grease monkey? Then be like your neighbour wearing the fur coat, slip on the free disposable gloves! Suddenly find you need a gallon of loose tobacco on a Sunday afternoon? No problem – The Q-8 awaits! And how many service stations in the world sell orchids? Most likely they are all to be found within your borders.

 

The friends I’ve met through you will have me forever indebted. You attract some of the most beautiful, creative, dynamic souls that I have met and my life is all the richer. You also attract some bizarre weirdos, but that has also added to the richness of my experience. You are a diverse nation indeed! My friends hail from as many countries as the fish in the Upper Sûre Lake, and the languages they speak are part of the complex soundtrack of my daily life. Their reasons for coming here are as varied as the network of cycling trails that snake through your countryside. Few came in search of a lower cost of living, (although Moscow might have pushed them in your direction). Most came because you offered us an opportunity for a better, well-heeled life. You have the highest proportion of foreign citizens among your total inhabitants but like me, they all chose YOU. Whatever the reason for being here, you’ve given us your greener pastures and a wonderful sense of acceptance. For that, we will be forever thankful.

And yet… my friends might leave. Your transient nature makes me uneasy. Why must you attract so many people who only inhabit you for three to five years? Why can’t we be forever? Does everyone eventually have to move on? Will you be the one that I outgrow? Will I need something new, a bigger challenge, and in return, will you wish for someone who is less jaded, one easier to dazzle, astound and confuse as once was my state?

Like any good lover, you have your drawbacks. Your weather, your customer service, your extortionate price of produce… Oh Lux, your weather. Sometimes bitching about your weather becomes as unconscious as breathing. I’m not going to lie, you aren’t my first horrible weathered city, but I’m hoping you will be my last.

But my gosh! Your views! I could drive my kids to school through Itzig to Bonnevoie and never tire of the breathtaking landscape as I cross the Alzette and climb up the hills surrounded by ancient pines. My heart still skips a beat every time I drive from Alzingen through Syren. These little moments I hope to cherish forever.

I believe sometimes I am your harshest critic but trust me, if the mood strikes and I hit a green light coming down the hill in Gasperich, I am your biggest fan. I’ve fallen in love with you. We chose you and those who never get to live here will never understand how wonderful you are.

For now, my sweet city, you are enough for me. Of the 195 countries (196 if you count Taiwan), you are the one. I’m yours. To have and to hold, for better and for worse.

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Meredith Moss
Meredith shot to fame at an early age, playing Jesus in her school play. It has been downhill from there. Needing gainful employment, she worked as a television producer in Los Angeles until she met her British husband in a seedy beach bar. An enthusiastic expat, she is a good cook, a bad parker and occasionally terrible mother.

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