Random Happenings 11

For two beautiful weeks I was caught up on blogging…. two beautiful weeks. As the end of the year looms, I hope to get the last two posts completed before we say goodbye to 2015. We shall see if I succeed!

The first week of September was quiet, which I appreciated after the hectic summer. My plan to relax and get caught up on some housework the first weekend were thwarted by a most-excellent interruption – the repaving of our street! After over a year of heavy construction the project was completed and it was time for fresh and smooth pavement. I spent hours on the front balcony, watching the pavement “chewers” and then the asphalt-laying on the second day. I had so much fun watching everything from our 4th floor balcony. It was like the best box seat at the big event.

Hours of enjoyment for all! There were big chewers and little chewers and workers all over!

Paving day was the best! I had to wake Will up early so we didn’t miss any of the action!

We did stop paying attention to the street on Saturday night so we could celebrate the birthday of a good friend at a winery in Germany. I only bought 6 bottles of wine, demonstrating my ability to control my wine-buying habit. Continue reading “Random Happenings 11″

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Christmas Market, Cologne

I hope you’re not fed up with Christmas yet! On December 21, Anita and I went to the Christmas Markets in Cologne (Köln to the locals). As in Trier, Strasbourg, Luxembourg, and Aachen, the city arranges for distinctly themed markets in several squares around the city.

The market furthest from the center (and closest to where we parked) was the Village of St. Nicholas on the aptly-named Rudolfplatz.

Continue reading “Christmas Market, Cologne”

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Random Happenings 10

In theory, July and August were supposed to be quiet months. We were supposed to have time to recover from the busy first half of the year, plus catch up on some of our outstanding chores. While July and August were a bit slower than the rest of 2015, by no means were they empty!

We kicked off July with a Fourth of July event co-hosted between the American Women’s Club of Luxembourg (AWCL) and Democrats Abroad. Since the Fourth fell on a Saturday, the groups arranged a picnic at a lovely spot in Luxembourg. In the weeks before the event, there was much concern about the amount of indoor and/or covered space available at the location because Luxembourg tends to be quite rainy. However summer 2015 proved to be the second hottest on record and July 4th was the hottest day in July…. ever. Continue reading “Random Happenings 10″

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Random Happenings 9 – Part 2

June found us missing our friends but pushing ahead with the normal fun things that we like to do in Luxembourg.

First up was the Tour of Luxembourg, which is the annual five day cycling event held around Luxembourg. I took two days off so we could make enjoy as much of the racing as possible. On Friday, we decided to ride our bicycles to the race, which was something we haven’t done in the past. Not only that, but we attempted to ride up the big climb of the day, thinking that the road would be closed to cars in advance of the race. No such luck… we had to fight the cars all the way up the hill. Continue reading “Random Happenings 9 – Part 2″

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Random Happenings 9 – Part 1

I have found this a difficult post to write. May was a busy and emotional month for me. I believe I have put off writing about it because I haven’t fully processed the changes. I know I’ll want to remember May 2015 in the future, so I will do my best to document it all here.

The events of May/June actually started a few days before, in late April. Will departed for a three week trip to the US, with a side-trip to the Dominican Republic for meetings. While normally I might be a bit lonely while he is away, this was no normal May. Continue reading “Random Happenings 9 – Part 1″

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Random Happenings 8

[Anita's note: I wrote this blog post on the last day of April with the intention of inserting the photos and publishing in the first few days of May. Then.... May happened. You will hear all about it in Random Happenings 9, but let's just say May was a bit busy! My apologies for the long, long delay on this post.]

In movies and on television, occasionally they will use a clock that starts spinning faster and faster to illustrate time flying or life getting out of control. At this moment, I feel like our clocks are spinning faster and faster. Both Will and I are grabbing precious time with our friends as best as we can, but we cannot stop the clock. It’s moving season in Luxembourg. Moving season is the hardest season of them all!

March and April were two months where the clock spun faster than ever. While work slowed down a bit for me, it was as busy as ever for Will. Thankfully, he was able to free up time to do lots of fun things during our time together on the weekends. Never let it be said we aren’t good at balance!

March started not with a bang, but with a bark. Dexter the dog arrived to stay with us for a week. Dexter last stayed with us in June 2014 when he got to tag along with us while we watched the Tour of Luxembourg. Continue reading “Random Happenings 8″

Voting Day in Luxembourg for the Referendum

Anita and I cycled all over the south of Luxembourg today, through more than a dozen small towns. We often take a ride on Sundays because the traffic is light. Usually the small towns seem almost empty, with quiet voices from a few backyard get-togethers and nobody walking the streets.

Not so today! In every town we passed in Luxembourg, there were people walking purposefully to and from the center, where a voting facility was usually housed in the town hall or a school. In many towns, there was a sausage-and-crémant stand nearby with a crowd of adults and kids sitting in the sun and chatting.

Luxembourg is serious about voter turnout. Voting is mandatory, with a fine for citizens who fail to vote or obtain a waiver for a good excuse. (The fine is seldom collected, but still.) Voting day is almost always on a Sunday, when most shops are closed and few people work.

Although I’m eager to know the results of the referendum, they are really beside the point of these blog posts. I’m most interested in the debate — the justifications and arguments offered by the political parties and cited by the voters. So no matter what happens today, I’ll write a few more posts on that theme.

The Poster Debate on Luxembourg’s Referendum: Part One

[Note: Edited June 5 @ 1215 EDT with corrections. Thanks Giny!]

For political debate, the United States has its soundbites and those thirty-second commercials ending with, “I’m Joe and I approve this message.” Luxembourg’s most visible political forum consists of tidy rows of posters from the major political parties. Every time an election approaches, these temporary structures appear all over the cities and in many towns, with each party assigned a numbered space.

For national and local elections, these posters often feature the faces of candidates. For the upcoming referendum, the message on most posters is a simple recommendation. Continue reading “The Poster Debate on Luxembourg’s Referendum: Part One”

Constitutional Referendum in Luxembourg

These are exciting times for civil rights in the European Union, especially in Ireland and Luxembourg.

Two weeks ago, the Republic of Ireland voted for marriage equality. Much of Europe considers Ireland to be slow to adopt progressive legal structures, particularly regarding women and LGBT persons. The overwhelming vote for the 34th amendment to the Irish constitution put paid to that reputation. The Irish moved from political silence to civil partnerships to equal marriage in just a decade.

Here in Luxembourg, same-sex marriages became legal on the first of this year, by parliamentary legislation. This week, Luxembourgers are considering whether to extend another civil right: voting.

No, no, don’t misunderstand: LGBT people aren’t denied the right to vote in Luxembourg! The question before the polity is whether to extend voting rights beyond citizens to include long-term and demonstrably committed residents. This Sunday, June 7, Luxembourg’s citizens vote on that constitutional question. Continue reading “Constitutional Referendum in Luxembourg”

Random Happenings 7

Editor’s note: Anita went rogue this morning and had a terrible time publishing before she was ready. The Management apologies for any inconvenience you may have experienced.

Welcome to 2015! While you would think January and February would be quiet months, Will and I have managed to both have pretty full schedules.

Since my job has many accounting elements, I was busy at work the first two weeks of the year. Even with being busy, we managed to take advance of a beautiful winter day on 4 January by going on a hike near the Mosel. It was exactly what we needed to help our winter spirits. Continue reading “Random Happenings 7″