Wednesday, June 25, 2014
Last week the lower school at ISL held an assembly in their front atrium. All of the children from pre-school to 5th grade were in attendance, as were several invited guests - Board of Governor members, alumni, press. Everyone assembled that afternoon was there to observe the collection of items that would be placed in a time capsule that would be installed in a glass window casement in the atrium. The contents were selected by the students and were chosen to symbolize and represent the 50th anniversary of the school, the celebration of the first year of the new lower school building, and to capture the essence of our time - 2014 - here, in Luxembourg. Some of the items included an Apple product (an iPod, I believe), receipts from the petrol station and super market to show what the prices of items were at this time, and pictures of the current pre-school class - students who will hopefully be in attendance for the opening of the time capsule during their senior year at ISL, 14 years from now.
I stood in the audience that afternoon as the items were slowly introduced to the students - 25 in total. As I stood there, listening to the items being listed, I couldn't help but wonder what I would put in my own personal time capsule from this chapter in my life? Our lives have changed quite significantly from our lives in the US almost 3 years ago. Changes that sometime don't seem so obvious like they did those first few months here. Perhaps it was the newness of the European lifestyle, or the fascination of a new city, a new culture, a different language. Whatever it was, it kept our lives busy; busy enough that we didn't even realize the changes we had made. Now, those changes seem more obvious, particularly when we head back to the US. Life back home seems so much more hectic, more rushed. Yet, little things like hearing English everywhere you go or the simple act of going to Target or Starbucks seem like forgotten luxuries. I don't miss the traffic, or the hectic weekend schedules, but sometimes that thoughtless trip to the mall or baseball game seem like a lifetime ago.
Summer break begins this weekend, so our yearly trip back to the US is approaching pretty rapidly. This year is significant to us because it also happens to be our oldest's college tour trip. It is hard to believe how quickly this has come for us. Even though we still have 2 years ahead of us, those twinges of "empty nest" anxiety have already started for me. It is hard enough when this time of the year comes as many expats end their tours abroad and head back to their home countries. This year, a lot of friends have reached the end of their journey here, so the transition seems more apparent. More goodbyes than we experienced the first couple of years. The only difference for us is knowing that we don't have that sense of closure like a normal expat does. Our time here is indefinite, so the future seems to be filled with more goodbyes on the horizon. Of course, on the positive side of this, new people arrive, so the opportunity of making new friends is always something to look forward to.
Time certainly has a way of sneaking up on us. Days may seem to pass slowly, but as we get older, the years speed by. I suppose that time capsule will one day symbolize just how much things can change in such a small window of time. In 14 years, our boys will be 28 and 30. Who knows where we will all be and what we may be doing then! Looking back, 14 years ago, we were living in Texas. Our youngest was only a couple of months old. Last week, he graduated from middle school. Our first year here in Luxembourg, our oldest went through the same graduation process for 8th grade. I look back at that blog post and remember how much I teared up during that ceremony, amazed at how much older he had become in that first year here in Europe. Now, both of the boys stand taller than me and both will be in high school in the fall. The realization of it all can sometimes take my breath away.
I guess I can now imagine what the parents of those pre-schoolers will feel like 14 years from now. More than likely most of those children will have left Luxembourg for new destinations, whether they are back in their home countries or places not yet known to them. However, for those that remain, the day that time capsule is unveiled, I hope their parents also have the opportunity to attend. Perhaps they will be reminded of their chapters here in Luxembourg - watching the World Cup on the large screens in Place Guillaume with their little one in tow, or perhaps visiting their child in a brand new school building while they play in the sand box or climb into the reading loft in their classroom to read a book. Whatever those memories may be, I am sure they will be amazed, just as I am, at how quickly the years passed.
I am often asked, "How would you describe your life here in this tiny country in Europe?" I think this particular author describes the experience quite well :)
Living in Luxembourg