You meet this new arrival and you click with each other. “Let’s hang out sometime,” you both say. By the time you get around to inviting them for a drink, they’re already gone. But weren’t they supposed to stay for an 18-month work assignment? Oh, they did and already went back home. Oops.
This expat takes to life in Luxembourg with the meticulousness of Darwin in the Galapagos, examining everything, noting details that are invisible to the naked eye. “Look at the curiosity I’ve discovered,” they say as they share a photo of a McDonald’s coffee lid with a warning in three languages.
Technically, these people live in Luxembourg, but more importantly, they live in a bubble with people from their same linguistic-socio-cultural group. As for what goes on in that bubble, you’ll never know unless you’re one of them – and you’re not. You might see these people on the street or in shops, but they don’t see you.
For them, nothing is good. Too much paperwork! People are too rich! There’s too much petty crime! The buses are too fast! The tram is too slow! Public schools are too old-fashioned! They’re also too modern! Ahh!
Within a week of moving here, they change their profile photo to the Luxembourgish flag and never look back. Everything in Luxembourg is perfect, and their social media posts praising Luxembourg always include strings of hearts and smiley faces.
These people cannot resist the urge to tell you how things are in their home countries. “That’s funny you mention the weather in Luxembourg, because back home …” “Oh, you had a good steak at a restaurant in Esch? Back home…” “True, real estate is expensive here, but back home…”
The Stealthy Integrator
Truth be told, this sort of expat possibly doesn’t exist, but rumor has it there is one living somewhere in Luxembourg. This person visited the country, liked it, moved here, and stealthily integrated by learning the languages, befriending locals, and every night smearing kachkéis on his face. The integrator didn’t post about it on social media, didn’t even mention it when he got the nationality. He just blended in and disappeared.