A Travellerspoint blog

BCEE Banking on Tuesday

sunny 75 °F

Intimidating to say to least? Yesterday was an amazing experience for the fellow group apart of the school Farmer School of Business, my self included, but definitely one that threw us in to the world of business none the less. Approaching the building was intimating as you can see and even the teacher was trying to be on best behavior. P5170006_2.jpg After a few show minutes of moving from building to building we were on our way with our “tour” for the after noon which consisted with a huge room with old coins, machines, telephones, ATMS, bills, etc for us to observe and vaults and other mechanisms that looked like they belonged with the Ministry of Magic!! P5170018.jpgP5170048.jpgP5170012.jpgTo keep my self from going on with non-sense details I have to admit that any of my words wouldn’t explain the experience I had, the pictures will hopefully let you be apart of my experience. Two men were able to speak to us that were apart of BCEE bank of Luxembourg and they described massive differences, sadly some being jibe -rash to me at this point but some such as vacation days ( 35 paid days?!?! WHAT). After our tour with the Main bank of Luxembourg, BCEE, we were left to our own devices and traveled the City. Naturally for us Americans this meant get lost as soon as possible. With in minutes we had lost track of where we were and started to travel 3 miles in the wrong direction with side streets and crosses.P5170050.jpglarge_P5170053.jpgP5170054.jpg Finally we reached a city that had become a familiar name from towns people we had spoken too when taking directions, including the old man in only briefs. Clausen, Luxembourg turned out to be amazing; another reason to just be free with your movement when traveling! It was a gorgeous little town on the out skirts of Luxembourg that had tons of samples of Europe. It allowed us to have a taste of everything and then a convenient Bus stop to Luxembourg city to tour the Circus that was in town! The day was filled with random adventures and little discoveries that coincided together to form an experience to last me a life time!

Posted by Emily_Lawrence 01:24 Archived in Luxembourg Comments (0)

Sunday brunch

and i thought knowing 2 languages was a task.

overcast 59 °F

Waking up every morning in this house I am always wondering what my meal is going to be and what I am going to be able to handle! The previous evening I had attempted to tell Stefano that I have “ a little appetite” and I was crossing fingers he would pass that along to his mother. Well I got my hopes up to high because when I came down for breakfast I thought it was going to be a family breakfast, well it was false. 6 slices of toast, Nutella, cereal, fruit cup, chocolate croissant, and seasoned eggs were all for me and the mother looked so pleased with her self as well!! Apparently the previous evening when she had asked me what I like for breakfast, I understood it as “ what do you normally eat for breakfast” so I naturally listed a long list so that I would know that she had lots of options and wouldn’t struggle with hosting a vegetarian, which for her Romanian background and the husband being Italian, its almost a sin. WELL she thought that my list was what I enjoy eating in one meal. This time I could not force my self to finish this because I think I might have exploded or died of over eating… I finished the parts that I touched and then attempted to tell her I was full but it was very good, she was like a sad puppy but I couldn’t make myself to eat anything else.

My head honestly hurts from the afternoon’s lunch with the family and my mind is boggled. After a day of exploring the town again and getting gelata ice cream or “glass”, I ventured home for this after noon lunch that Maria had excitedly told me about following my fulfilling breakfast. The time was about 1:30 and I was honestly still stuffed from breakfast still and could have happily gone 6 more hours with out food. I entered the house and was overwhelmed with a pasta smell, hmmm 1:30 pasta? Interesting. I was hustled to the table and sat down. At the table was Silivo, Stefano( host brother) and a older woman, probably late 20’s, and she spoke English, and well!!! Hallajuah! From what I understood she was the daughter of Maria from a past husband and is married to a French man with a 2 year old son, that is by the way ADORABLE! I am starting to think that Maria just has 4 kids and not 4 sons since I have only seen one son, Pablo, for a few short minutes and then the other son Stefano at any meal time and have not seen any other child. This “sister” of mine was my savior, she translated my convos and allowed me to have a conversation and clear a few things up with my host family! While having these actual converstations that didn’t consist of hand gestures I was served a LARGE bowl of pasta… with sausage chunks. I tried to discretely pick around the sausage but it got to a point where it was covering the pasta and had to leave a bit at the bottom of the bowl. While I was digging the family served themselves with bowls that were piled and was almost overpouring, and with the few seconds I would look down they would scarf down a massive amount and with in minutes their huge bowls were gone. Maria noticed I was picking and hurried off to the kitchen and soon came back with an amazing salad, it had all different types of leaves and an amazing sauce she makes her self that I attempted to figure out how she made it ( for you mom) but failed…. I will continue though! During our dinner conversation the sister would be talking to her husband and then switch to her step dad, Silvio, and then her mother and brother. I somehow asked what the French word she just said to Silvio meant in English quickly she said this
“ oh no no silvio does not speak French, Silvio speaks Italian so when I talk to him I speak Italian. Maria also speaks Italian so Maria can chime in to our conversation. But when I talk to my husband we speak French and Maria and Stefano understand French. And if I want to only talk to my brother and Maria I would speak Romanian because that is our base language and then I am talking to you in English”
SO at one dinner table this woman was changing her dialect with each person and did it so FLUENTELY it was amazing! She also understands Spanish fine but can not speak it, and can understand and speak German. I am truly jealous of her! Oh and she also says I have a “UK” accent! Weird…. Nate has explained that he thinks that everyone thinks I have a UK accent because I pronounce every word much better then anyone else. So I guess that’s it because obviously I do not have an accent….

Later on in the after noon after my overwhelming lunch I met up with the group to go to a small league soccer game, Luxembourg vs. Differdange. It was located in a old stone stadium with a maximum of 200 in the stands, but the atmosphere was just what the group of us needed ; energetic and young. Obviously looking out of place with our north faces and Sperrys we decided to not go to the center of the stands and instead positioned our selves to the side but still with a great view. Nate instantly was in aw at how good the soccer players were at this level compared to any one in America, he is quiet enjoying the differences and also having struggles but I will get in to that later! After a few short minutes of paying attention to the game, owners started bringing in their dogs; pug puppies, hound, an adorable husky puppy that literally just held on to his owner and didn’t bark or budge through out the game! Naturally that was my new entertainment. soccer.jpg

So the trip here is starting to move at a more natural pace and the group of us are really bonding, wondering the town together the rest of the day and in to the evening. Classes start today and the teacher is a great guy, Tom Boulton, so it will be an enjoyable week!

Posted by Emily_Lawrence 02:58 Archived in Luxembourg Comments (0)

And I am finally Here!

the benefits of multiple languages... teachers weren't kidding

semi-overcast 68 °F

I am finally here in Luxembourg after a long journey of angry French flyers and a customs officer that was having a power surge with the amount of questions he would ask each individual person in line, equally out to a very long wait.
At the end of the long journey as we exited the airport we were met by one of our professors for the summer and what a pleasure it was to see a familiar face! As soon as the whole group had arrived and we have indulged our selves into the homeland food (well airport food) we were shoved on to a bus for an additional 3-hour journey to Luxembourg. Luxembourg compared to England I figured wouldn’t be to much of a difference but being here there is something different about the look of it, I cant put my finger exactly on it yet but I can tell this place is not England, maybe it’s the lack of shrubs everywhere or the cloudless sky. When we arrived at the château one by one the “host families” would arrive to pick up their adopted child for the next few weeks. As each family approached we would either get extremely nervous and try to avoid eye contact in hopes of not having the family or we would all secretly wish that the family was ours with their laid back attitude and English sounding responses. Well I was not one of the fortune ones. A woman with dyed purple hair and a shirt that I believe should have an undershirt on or I am missing the new fashion that seeing some ones undergarments clearly is the new “in”, approached our coordinator and spoke my name. Shortly after a short, obese Italian looking man followed; Meet Silvio and Maria. Their first question to me was something like “ bonjour j’ma francisa?” my response “ uhh no”, instantly their faces sunk. SO I am in a house with people that speak only French… or Italian.

When we reached my new home, conveniently around the corner from the chateau, myself and Maria began to try and communicate with her offering me some pudding. With, just this simple task I have learned that when she pats her tummy it does not mean “ are you hungry” because no matter what I say I am being fed, it is “ how much do you want” and I mistakenly nodded very big apparently because I ended up with half the pudding on my plate and as my mom has instilled in my mind, I had to finish it ALL up. My second mistake is trying to make small talk with the big Old Italian man. All I could come up with to say with my limited choice of ideas in motions to describe my thoughts was that the “weather was nice outside”. So I pointed out side and attempted to imitate warm weather. Apparently I am a terrible actress because he got a huge smile on his face, hustled me out side with his mumbling Italian words and I believed he was going to show me his small garden but instead he pulled out ONE of pack of cigarettes offering them thinking he had found a smoking buddy! SORRY BUD. After an hour and a half of slow communication I am now up in my room waiting for their kids to arrive home from school. Apparently the kids speak English (well hopefully that’s what Maria meant other wise this is going to be a long 3 weeks) and they will be able to translate and allow this whole “ getting to know each other” process much smoother.
Tomorrow is going to start early as well with all of us meeting at the Château at 8:45 and being there all day for “bonding” and exploring activities which should be fun!

Additional fun fact: they have a rooster that obviously sucks at his one and only job in live since he’s “ cacka-doodling” every 20 minutes.

Day 2:
Today was a very LONG day but yet a very success day at that. We all woke up at an early 8 o’clock alarm with jet lag still attacking us as we ventured to the château for our “ integration class”. Once I got there we had a speech From the Dean of the chateau and a fellow teacher for the Luxembourg Program( I am in the Lux- Spain not Lux) about what we will be doing the next few weeks and the experiences we should be getting from being in Europe. The Dean his self seemed like a very nice guy with jokes and what not but the other fellow was very stern with his words and his speech went over by an hour… needless to say most of it were obvious suggestions that we knew already from common sense but I guess he meant well.
After this meeting we were off for our “integration” period by traveling the country of Luxembourg, and we were able to do it in just 13 hours since Luxembourg is THAT SMALL!
We first witnessed two cemeteries from WWII, each across the street from each other and one was for the Americans and the other, the Germans. It was visually obvious that the Americans were awed and loved by the Luxembourg’s at that time with the way their cemetery was laid out. Beautiful while stone crosses, perfectly cut grass, and huge monuments covering the area. While across the street the Germans got a less then nice burial area with 4 to a grave and un-kept graves.
These stops were quick ones and we were off again to visit a castle, and for most people this was quiet the excitement! Naturally Harry Potter came in to conversation as soon as everyone saw the castle, and I must admit that it does resemble Hogwarts quiet accurately. Placed at the top of the hill over looking the valley of houses below in the town of Vienna. As we exited the buses we discovered that our access to the castle was provided by a tall, steep, sky lift that of course had to go over a river, and with my luck it STOPPED over the dark river (I hate dark water). Once reaching the castle I was somewhat disappointed not for myself but for the first timers when we finally reached the castle since most of it had been redone and updated and they were even adding additions to it!( can you add additions to a castle??) but it was beautiful and allowed us to have a beautiful view across miles of land with the lucky warm weather we had. view.jpgviendan_castle.jpg
After our adventurous days with other many random stops to see some sites here and there we had a “BBQ” waiting for us at the vineyard on the top of a hill side. It was barely what I would imagine as a BBQ, and In a good way! We sat in a beautiful glass room and the chefs cooked every type of meat you could imagine and then had a huge gourmet salad bar with amazing fruits and options! It was delicious needless to say!

Tonight there is the opening for this two week festival that all of Luxembourg celebrates and they have been setting up for the past few days! All I can gather is that there is going to be bands and loud music ( not sure how that celebrates a national old holiday) but the group of us will be checking that out!

Posted by Emily_Lawrence 15:21 Archived in Luxembourg Comments (0)

Packing 101

The difficulties of packing can not be a good sign...

First off i must confess my choice of background for this blog is in hopes that i will appear to be an experienced traveler, conquering treacherous mountains and finding hidden caves with in the Pyrenees mountain. When in fact the "scribblers" blog with the cartoon characters seemed most appealing to me but this is a new page in my life and i must angle towards the more adult side of things correct? After all i will be in Europe in a few short days with out the luxury of having my parents or older sisters to keep me in track and to lead me through my travels.

Packing alone has been an overwhelming experience. Even thought the simple task of packing some clothes and a few wash clothes here and there are in fact not that difficult, it is the the planning and reserving part of this " preparation stage" i could definitely be happy with out ( I'm starting to appreciate the market of travel agents). After multiple sources of advise and suggestions, my self and Nathan have decided to go with "select Euro-rail" passes. This consists of 4 countries (Benelux, Spain, France, and Germany) and 8 days of travel with in 2 months. Hopefully this will work out and saves us poor college students money for the fact that a simple reservation to Amsterdam was $160.... and that's one way. We will still have the difficulty of finding trains or better yet plain transportation, to get us to our destination but i am trying to put that in the back of my mind before i have a panic attack(joke mother) with all this planning!

I travel out to Luxembourg tomorrow which will be my first "home base" for 3 weeks which will consist of a host family and a "station" for us Miami students, better known as the Chateau. The whole " host family" idea is making me quiet uneasy with me being the only one with my family and i have no clue their characters, way of living, or their language... so getting across to them that i am a vegetarian WHICH INCLUDES fish might be a task in it self. Later on i will be based in Barcelona but i will keep you filled in when that comes around!

Posted by Emily_Lawrence 15:24 Archived in USA Tagged packing Comments (0)

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