Ann-Kristin: entrez s'il vous plaît
Please tell us a little bit about yourself. Who you are, where you come from, when you moved to Luxembourg, etc.
I was born in Sweden In ‘72 but have a Norwegian passport. Married to my Norwegian husband 15 years ago and together we have 2 children. Moved to Lux in 2005, at that time the children were 6 and 10 years old.
When and why did you decide to start blogging about your experiences?
I started blogging nearly 3 years ago, mainly so that family and friends in “the North” could have more view in our daily life. Since I’m very fond of photography I find blogging a nice source to expose my work.
Do you have any favorite blog entries of yours?
As an interior addicted I love the Norwegian interior entry NIB where you also find my interior-blog Petronella&Charlie. I also sometimes find it interesting to read other expats blogs, and find InterNations and expatwomen useful reading.
Tell us about the ways your new life in Luxembourg differs from that back home. Did you have trouble getting used to the new circumstances? Did you experience culture shock?
My expat life in Luxembourg is way different from the life I had in Norway. When living in Norway I had my own business, managing an interior shop, and with 2 small children it was a hectic life. Even though my life was busy and my spare time was limited I did love it, don’t get me wrong. But moving to Luxembourg and having the possibility to be a staying home mum I think changed our life as a family. I was there for the children when they started a new school and had to learn a new language. I had the time to prepare healthy food and dinners (no more fast food), and the stress level in the family disappeared since I had the time to plan and organize the family’s agenda. All in all we have only positive things to say about our move.
Do you think you were fully prepared for what awaited you in Luxembourg? If you could, would you change some decisions/preparations you made?
As Norway, Luxembourg is a well developed country, and I find them quite similar. Of course it has been episodes with language barriers, paperwork and bureaucracy, but we had a great help of my husband’s office to settle in. We also had friends from our hometown that moved to Luxembourg 6 months before us, so they partly made the path for us.
Every expat knows that expat life comes with some hilarious anecdotes and funny experiences. Care to share one with us?
Well, after a couple of months in our new country it was about time to practice our French. So after a lovely meal we asked for the bill (l’aaddition) and ended up with hot milk (lait chaud). That did put our confidence of the French language on the bottom.
Which three tips would you like to give future expats before they embark on their new life in Luxembourg?
- The Luxembourgish people are very strong in languages, but if you have the possibility, I think you should update your French or German.
- If you move with children it is important to do a real research regarding schools.
- And of course to find out which area you would like to live in. Are you an urban type and would like to live in the city or more fund of the countryside? Do you want to live in an area where you find many from your home country or perhaps not? There are short distances in Luxembourg but the price of living can vary a lot.
How is the expat community in Luxembourg? Did you have a hard time finding like-minded people or fellow expats?
I had a very warm welcome to Luxembourg, mainly because of the wives of my husband’s colleagues who were very including. It helps also to have small children at kindergarten or school where you have the chance to meet mothers (and some fathers) and au pairs in the same situation. Otherwise I think the expat community in Luxembourg is open and vibrant and there is always something going on. I also have the feeling that since we are so many in the same situation we are more open and tolerant to new friends and relations. If I can find one negative thing about the expat life it must be the continuous in/out friendships. People stay for a year, two or 3 and then they move to another country, especially I find this hard for the children and their relationship to their friends. But in total it is a nice experience for them knowing new languages and have a broader understanding for other cultures.
How would you summarize your expat life in Luxembourg in a single, catchy sentence?
Living in a central capital of Europe but still experiencing the small city atmosphere.