I was sitting on the bus the other day, eavesdropping to two young women in their mid to late twenties:
“I mean, there are a lot of good things about Luxembourg – I mean it, there ARE! – but it’s not a place you fall in love with.”
She said it. She summed it up. She stated the obvious – a lot of good things (yet she felt the need to assure her friend that she actually meant it). And then she stated the obvious again – to her and to me, but not to everyone – that it’s not a place you fall in love with.
I’ve heard it many times before – same thing slightly different wrapping. And more importantly, I’ve felt it. Why is it so?
The good things – easy: wealthy, comfy, safe, in place, family friendly, great location in Europe, the fairytale aspect, the food, the crémant…and I’m sure there are more. Mainly practical, materialistic/hedonistic and geographical reasons.
So, how about the emotional ones? That’s the fall-in-love bit. And as always, you can’t decide to fall in love and you can’t quite define why you do. It’s that little je ne sais quoi. Karma. Aura. Charm. Movements. Flow. Smile. Soul. For me, Luxembourg just doesn’t have it, tiny and cute as it may be. I’m sorry Luxembourg, I really tried!
Maybe it’s the greyness, partly due to the climate which can’t be helped and despite the attempts to brighten it up with houses in colours you’ve never seen on houses before and a plethora of garden gnomes and their friends and relatives. I have certainly never understood Chicken Little better, the threat of the sky falling seems pretty imminent.
Maybe that it feels – and I repeat, to me – homogeneous despite the around 140 nationalities living here, more or less all expats looking more or less the same (business people) and here for the same reason (career).
Maybe it’s just that it’s not the place for me. Ideally, I want a feeling of home drizzling from head to toe, shoulders down, feet on the table. Now that may be asking a lot, but I know it does happen, in more places than one.
They say home is not a place but a feeling. I don’t buy that, to me they’re connected. If I don’t have certain feelings about a place, it’s not home. I need to feel it not only in my house with my feet on the table, but walking down my streets in my part of town, in my town. And so it needs to be the right place – for me. This seems to be more important to some than to others, and I’ve certainly discovered how important it is for me.
So I’m going home. Or am I? After so many years away, who knows? All I know is that each time I’ve visited during my expat years, it has still felt more like home.