Monday, September 17, 2012

Back to School...

I feel like these past few weeks have just been a whirlwind of activity!  I finally feel like I have the opportunity to just sit down, and breathe! The boys have actually been back to school for about 2 1/2 weeks now, but the days have flown by. The local students will start back to school this week and Luxembourg will finally feel back to normal again. It is really amazing how quiet life gets here in August when so many of the Europeans are on vacation. Luxembourg is still filled with tourists, but life in general seems to slow down to a snail's pace!

J is off on his 9th grade camping trip. It is a bit jarring that these overnight trips fall so early in the school year, but at least this allows the kids to reconnect and kick off the new school year with a little fun. The kids will be camping in Northern Luxembourg - 2 days in a tent and 2 days in a youth hostel. The teams of students will do lots of outdoor activities and are responsible for carrying their own necessities and food. I have heard such a wide variety of opinions from moms with 10th graders this year on how the trip went for their kiddos last year. Honestly, I have to admit, I can't help but be a tiny bit nervous. The stories are quite funny now that time has passed, but I am sure those parents weren't laughing a year ago, especially those of the kiddos who got lost on a 30 km hike! I took some of their advice and made sure he had a compass and good socks - apparently blisters were the largest complaint - as well as some warm clothes and sleeping bag since the nights are already getting quite chilly. Hopefully has has a great time and will share some stories with me when he returns. I know I will be lucky if I get more than the trip was "fine," but I can always hope!

Volunteer work has kicked off with a vengeance. I am on the board for both the American Women's Club and the PTO at school, so I have been busy with planning meetings and rounding up room parents. I know some folks think I am crazy to do so much, but I honestly enjoy having a busy calendar and places to be. I often miss work, not because I long to do finance again, but because I loved the challenge and the opportunity to talk to other adults on a regular basis. Therefore, since my transition to the stay-at-home mom role, I have thrown myself into volunteer work. I have had a great time meeting folks who have just moved here to Luxembourg. It is quite funny to feel like an "expert" now, even though inside I know that I am still quite new to this whole ex-pat thing. I am still dealing with new experiences and challenges a year later, but at least I can now see how far I have come just listening to folks going through what I did a year ago. This year's personal challenges include re-newing passports (I started working on the boys this morning), getting an international drivers license (yep, I am a little late doing that, but c'est la vie...), getting further with my French, and figuring out our travel plans for the next year. Somewhere in there I need to get back to the gym, but at least I feel like we are eating healthier these days!

The wine festivals have also started - or, I should say, are in full swing now. Joe and I have been to a couple of them in the last two weeks with friends of ours. This weekend's was near Wolferdange and included several small towns. We spent most of our time in one small village, walking from winery to winery for tastings. It is really quite surreal to walk into someone's backyard and be welcomed like old relatives! We spent most of the evening in one cave, trying no less than 8 varieties. Needless to say, we have quite a bit of wine from there heading our way in a few short weeks. You only hope you like the wine as much then as you did when you were tasting it after several hours at a wine festival! We also spent time at the winery of the reining wine queen. It was adorable to see her parents wearing t-shirts with her picture on them and the mom wearing a tiara! I just love this time of year!

Well, time to head off for errands before the rest of my day escapes me. I am still in the routine of buying groceries about every other day since otherwise so much food goes to waste. Since J is out for the week, I can actually cook whatever I like since the others are not quite so picky. I still don't care for cooking, but at least when I do I like to know everyone is going to eat! Such is the life of a mom with teenagers...

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