What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?
Describe how you "dreamed" expat life would be before you moved overseas. Please provide as much detail as possible.
We had dreamed our daily life would be a lot simpler and more compact than what we had in CO. We had become accustomed to driving at least 25 minutes to do anything. We dreamed of long walks, quiet parks, cafe's along the street, people watching and generally having more time to connect with each other and new friends; relationship building. We dreamed of being able to slow down, enjoy lingering meals, travel and learn to "smell the roses" in life. We longed for fresh produce in local markets, wineries, getting to know the butcher and having a favorite bakery. We had dreams of being able to learn more of the language with immersion.
How has your expat experience met the expectations you dreamed about before you moved abroad?
We have been quite surprised at how closely our dreams are becoming a reality. (We were warned to keep our expectations low.) We have found the people to be incredibly friendly and helpful. We have made lots of new friends and been able to find things to be involved with, in fact we have to be careful to leave time for home life(kids too)and chores. We have been able to take walks. With all the walking paths here it's easy to do. We have slowed down tremendously and have had lots of time to really spend quality time together as well as with our kids and others. We enjoy long lunches, lingering coffee's, people watching and bumping into new friends everywhere in our little country. We've made little trips to the surrounding countries and just enjoyed the quiet experience of small towns for now. It feels like our compass has been recalibrated and I can now say I'm smelling roses along the way. We are planning extended trips down the road but for now, life is good! It takes more than immersion to learn language especially since there are 3 languages used on a daily basis here but it has helped.
How has your expat experience NOT met the expectations you dreamed about before you moved abroad?
Don't get me wrong, life has been good but we have faced share our bumps and pitfalls like anyone else. The best advice we could pass along is to laugh a lot, especially at yourself! The biggest disappointment and frustration about our relocation was not having a transition company help us. We had to do EVERYTHING ourselves and that was stressful. The process is tedious and a bit confusing. We found that most people only knew their responsibility in the immigration process and nothing about what we needed to do next. We did a ton of research and eventually figured it all out but we wouldn't want to do it again this way. We're glad that's behind us. The school system has been disappointing as well. It's either the very expensive private schools or fumbling in the public process. The "dreamed about" highly educated school kids has been a let down. The schools don't seem to be any better than an average American school. Huge shock! Our biggest disappointment has been the lack of access to local produce or small markets. Something seemingly new to Europe is the "mall". Luxembourg City has several of the mall-type shopping areas. They each have a large grocery store and many smaller shops and places to eat under one roof. It seems to have squeezed out the small town feel that we had dreamed of. We've learned to overlook some of these things and with the help of new friends, have found ways to make life work well and suit our needs. We've had to flexible and yes, we are still laughing at ourselves. **As everyone else would share; make an attempt to learn at least some of the language, it will take you a very long way in living abroad!! Yes, Luxembourgish is a real language and a challenge to learn but French and German are just as acceptible too.
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