Saturday, July 23, 2016

It's Not Goodbye. It's ... Äddi!

Samschdeg, 23 Juli.

Today is my last full day in Luxembourg. Tomorrow, I'll get on the train to Brussels. And then -- poof -- I won't be a temporary Luxembourger anymore. No more teaching English to trilingual sixteen-year-olds. No more hopping on Bus 4 to Belval and hoping that the driver remembers that they added a stop at Cité des Sciences. No more picnicking on abandoned castles in tiny villages on sunny afternoons. No more walking to the animal park after Sunday morning brunches to check on the raccoons.

Leaving Luxembourg two weeks ago was not easy -- not least of all because a délai indéfini between Esch and Luxembourg City threatened to make me miss my train to Brussels -- and I know that tomorrow, my final departure will be even tougher. It is hard to explain why. It was difficult to say goodbye to my students, to the teachers who have supported and mentored me all year, and to the housemates who made my year truly amazing. And yet, in the perpetually-connected 21st century world in which we live, I know that no "goodbye" is permanent. This will not be the last time that I hang out with my friends, or meander down the Chemin de la Corniche, or eat an ice cream cone in Place d'Armes. (Which is, side note, the best place to eat an ice cream cone.) And yet, something feels particularly finite about my impending departure. Whether or not this is the last time I see my friends, and whether or not it is my last time in Luxembourg, it is clear that this chapter of my life is coming to a close. This setting, these characters may return in later stages, but the story will never be quite the same again.

I visited Luxembourg's Museum of Modern Art a couple of weeks ago and saw Fiona Tan's "Island." The installation, which was first created in 2008, features a fifteen-minute black-and-white video with voiceover narration. I was watching, more than a little skeptical (... modern art, ya know?), when the narrator said something that stuck with me.

"When she leaves, she will fold up this place and put it in her pocket for safe-keeping."

And that's exactly what I am going to do.

Lest you feel the need to reach for a tissue, let me assure you that -- of course -- it's not all sad. In fact, it is mostly happy! I am absolutely thrilled about moving to Brussels and love life in the city so far (even if there are a couple hundred thousand more people than I've become used to). And after a week and a half at my new job, I am so happy with my decision and feel genuinely excited to go to work every morning.

And so, despite the fact that I am 99.9% sure I will cry on the train tomorrow, it feels more like a time for celebration than sadness. I'm spending this last weekend in the Grand Duchy packing, relaxing, and doing some of the most wonderfully Luxembourgish things I can think of. Sunbathing at the Remerschen Lake -- because after ten months, it's finally warm enough to think about swimming. Baking cakes and marathoning "One Tree Hill" with my housemates. Watching movies at the Open Air Cinema. And, of course, taking the brand-new Pfaffenthal Elevator. (Seriously, this sucker has been under construction for six years and it finally opens on my last day in Luxembourg? It's fate, I tell you.)

So Luxembourg, it has come time for us to part. But remember -- it's not "Goodbye." It's "Äddi!" ;)


  1. I shed a few tears, but they were truly happy tears. And now your next adventure has begun!

  2. Chapter by chapter your life has continually been a journey of joy. We are excited for your latest and greatest to continue. Onward and upward they say, not sure they meant 4 flights of stairs though. Love you, P&B

  3. "Ô temps, suspends ton vol ! et vous, heures propices, Suspendez votre cours ! Laissez-nous savourer les rapides délices. Des plus beaux de nos jours !"