Another evening with some new expat acquaintances, another round of complaints about how dull Luxembourg is compared to Barcelona, Hong Kong, or a secret community of artists and ravers living under the surface of Saturn’s largest moon Titan – wherever these whiners live before they come here.
I’m proud to say I’ve called Luxembourg home for over twelve years, and all that time, I’ve suffered in silence while listening to these smug transplants, some of whom have been bored here less than a month yet feel justified in making these blanket characterizations.
One of these days, I’m going to tell these chronic complainers what I really think: no one – and I mean no one – should be allowed to say that Luxembourg is boring unless they’ve spent at least ten years being as bored here, as I have.
Have they got any idea how many Sunday afternoons I’ve yearned to go shopping in a crowded urban center but had to settle for hanging out in the cheese aisle at Delhaize, desperately soaking up the energy from the meager rush of people trying to get in before the doors close at 1 p.m.?
Do these newbies know how many times I’ve longed to have a coffee on a terrace alongside a bustling city boulevard, watching hundreds of interesting, beautiful, or peculiar strangers walk by, people I’ll never see again? Yet all those times, I had to settle for an outdoor table at Pizza Hut in Place d’Armes, keeping my eyes down so I don’t get bothered by the thirty-six people I invariably recognize.
Can these novices imagine the sense of ennui which has taken up residence in my soul after so many years of aching to watch a top-ranked sports team play a thrilling match in a stadium of eighty thousand cheering fans? Attend a pop concert in a venue big enough to count as its own city? Go bungee jumping above a hundred-meter gorge? Try deep-sea diving? Hunt a brown bear across snow-capped peaks? Spend a year in the jungle with Marxist guerrillas learning how to make bootlaces from tree fibers?
Short answer: they can’t even begin to understand. So while you might think that you can say it’s boring here, unless you are a long-time resident, don’t. Next time you feel like complaining, keep your baseless yet nevertheless possibly somewhat accurate comments to yourself until you’ve earned the right.
Esther Wren works as a freelance web designer