It was quite a day today. I experienced my first parent association meeting in Luxembourg, made new Italian friends, talked in French with my Luxembourgish neighbors and helped put out a fire, literally.
Let’s start with this morning. After the usual rush to get the kids to the bus on time I drove to school for my first parent teacher association APEEEL coffee time meeting. The constant construction of Luxembourg never ceases to amaze me. On my 12 kilometer journey I was stopped in traffic two times by construction vehicles that take up the entire lane of traffic during rush hour and all day of course. Since there are small, narrow streets, you just have to sit there patiently and wait, along with the busses full of school children and unhappy morning commuters. When there are 2,400 students arriving at school all at once — yes preschool (maternelle), primary and secondary kids all arrive at the same time by school buses, country buses, city buses, car, bike and walking — It is quite a spectacle to see.
The meeting was quite informative and there were quite a few parents, men and women. Every time a speaker came forward the words were translated into either English or French depending on the speaker. The activities and programs that our kids will have a chance to participate in are beyond my wildest dreams. There is a Global Issues Group that students work on issues facing the world, a Fair Trade group doing fundraising and education, Les Mots de Zaza, an association helping with school books and the library, and a Peer Mediation group for students to help with Bullying in the school. One of my favorites is Actions Sans Frontieres (Actions without Borders), which raises money for NGOs, more than $41,500 last year, and then facilitates programs and projects with NGO’s that students, parents and teachers bring to the group.
Afterward I met some really wonderful ladies, one of which has a son in Luca’s classes. I now have two Italian friends so I can try a little Italian language learning after I get a better handle on my French. And hopefully our sons will become good friends.
In the afternoon, upon leaving the house to meet Juliana at the bus, I noticed fire and smoke coming from behind the house across the street that is under new construction. I had not noticed any workers there today so to see a fire was quite surprising. It is very windy near our house since we are on a hill and I was concerned that it might spread. The weather is really quite like Seattle – cold, windy and wet during most of the year I’ve heard. Since I have no idea how to call the fireman or police I went to my neighbors house. My neighbors are an older Luxembourgish couple who are very nice. The husband is able to speak a little English and the wife none so it took me a few minutes to try to describe to the madame about the fire, with many hand movements. Too bad I don’t know sign language. She called her husband and we discussed the situation and he called the police and firemen. When the firemen arrived I showed them the fire and tried again to communicate but it was mostly me gesturing wildly. Enough to get the job done.
Then I noticed my other elderly widowed neighbor looking on. Since she recently had heart surgery, according to my husband since I could not speak French or Luxembourgish with her, I went to her and tried to explain what had happened. We talked for almost ten minutes with me practicing my French, nodding and saying Oui. I did actually understand most of the conversation and could communicate, which actually made me feel quite confident.
So, tomorrow I have an appointment with my French language school to see what level I will need to enroll for classes. Such was my day in Luxembourg. Let’s see what tomorrow brings.