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Freya’s last day at nursery in Lux

As I was going through my old posts, this picture really stood out as representing the moment perfectly. It was a sad time, incredibly sad actually, and that surprised me. It was Freya’s last day at précoce, or nursery school, in our little village of Sanem. She hadn’t been going for all that long really, but she’d got into the routine and so had I. I used to pick her up at lunch time with Hamish on my back in the Bush Baby. Sometimes we’d go up to the chateau to get Lorraine and walk home together, but more often I would use the opportunity to take some pictures with my Nikon.

I was never particularly happy in Luxembourg, so it’s surprising how sad I was feeling during these last few weeks and how nostalgic I feel now looking back. I think it must be largely because I got to see so much of the kids then, although I didn’t fully appreciate that at the time. In which case I should extrapolate that forward to now, so that I do make sure I appreciate the time I have now.

The walk home from précoce was about 10 minutes and it really was a lovely wee village where we lived.

The hardest goodbye was at the forest creche. I took Freya there every afternoon and picked her up at night. It’s the one thing I miss most about Lux. Freya loved it and had a lot of friends there. It was funny to watch her playing with her friends and listen to her speaking fluent Luxembourgish. Ho hum…

Sandy and Eliane

Freya’s last day at nursery and the crèche

Walking home from précoce

It was a sad day yesterday. Freya had her last day at the précoce (nursery school) in the morning and then her last afternoon at the forest crèche. She’s been going to précoce only since September but is already a favourite of her two teachers. I haven’t really got to know them so well so it wasn’t so terribly sad for me and Freya seems quite oblivious to the emotion of it all. Well, she is only three!

The forest crèche was quite another matter though. I’ve been driving her there every day, Monday to Friday, for almost a year and a half now. When she first started going, she hadn’t started to talk yet and then I would listen to podcasts or my Robert Ludlum Bourne audiobooks. Soon she started talking and then we started listening to music in the car. I remember one of the first things was the Yellow Submarine, and she would come home and tell mummy “rine, rine” – that was all she could say to say that she’d been listening to the Yellow Submarine. It’s funny to think that she couldn’t say those words back then. Fast forward to her last day and she’s now fluent and able to express herself very well not only in English, but in Luxembourgish too.
The music grew and she soon had several playlists strung together. Then I rediscovered All Aboard, a tape that I had when I was a youngster and the Laughing Policeman soon became a firm favourite, along with the Hippopotamus song, Goodness Gracious Me, the Bee Song, Granddad, My Brother, Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf, etc. And, of course, the last week has been taken up with Christmas songs.

Forest Crèche

The forest crèche is such a wonderful concept and she has learned so much there. The building itself is right in the middle of the forest, right off the beaten track, and every day they go out into the forest, rain, hail or shine. You should see them all dressed up in their snow suits, gloves and balaclavas or their boodlebox and raincoats (boodlebox is Luxish for waterproof trousers – no doubt I’m spelling it wrongly but I really must write it down lest I forget as I’m sure I would very soon!) And in summer it’s t-shirt, had and sunscreen and off they go. She’s learned a lot of confidence by going there. I remember after her first week Lorraine telling me that they were throwing rocks off a sheer drop and laughing, but I thought she was exaggerating. She stayed with Freya for her first few weeks you see in case she got upset at being left on her own at the tender age of two. I went along with them one day, and, sure enough, the drop was as sheer as could be. They would climb trees and slide down muddy slopes on their behinds. You should see the state that their clothes got into. It must be great to be so carefree and be able to have such fun.

She’s made a lot of friends there, one of whom we’re spending the morning with on Sunday as it happens – a little boy with a Russian mother and Lux-ish father, so Mikhail is one of the few other kids there that I can actually talk to!

It was terribly difficult saying goodbye to her teachers, well, difficult for me and the teachers anyway. One of the teachers was in tears and I admit that I was having to fight them back myself (and am now, as it happens). We’re so fortunate to have got a place there and that Freya was able to go for so long. It’s such a pity that Hamish will never know such a place, but when we move we’ll have the beach and mountains on our doorstep and an au pair and mum will be home every day too, so, although it will be different for him, hopefully it will be just as good. I must say though that I’m feeling terribly sad about it, but nostalgic and happy for the memory of taking my little girl to crèche every day. Once we move I’ll be working every day and not even home for lunch so I won’t get to spend the afternoons with my little boy at home either. It’s all going to change and I know that we will all be much happier being back home and being by the sea again.

We’re lucky parents to have such great kids and their whole lives ahead of them. I can imagine now how my mum and dad must have felt when Brian and I were that age, but it’s something one can never really imagine until one becomes a parent. I’m grateful to have found out the secret of true happiness and the love of a parent. I couldn’t be without it now.


So thank you everyone at the bëschcrèche!

The sandpit

This is Freya playing in the sandpit at the forest crèche around 6.30 when I went to pick her up. She said that she was making a cake.


Freya’s rock

Freya has a favourite rock in the carpark at the forest crèche. She likes to go and sit on it for a minute or two before getting into the car to come home; or she’ll stand up on it and I help her to jump off. She also loves stones and brings them home in her pocket to add to the collection outside our front door at the top of the stairs.

She decided to make a snake out of stones on her favourite rock so I said I would bring the camera and take some pictures so we could show mummy.

This is how you make a snake


There we go — all done

The snake

She also has a little playmate, a half-Russian, half-Luxembourgish boy called Michael. He’s almost a year older but, for some reason, really seems taken with Freya. He often wants to have her come and sit in their car and he gives her sweeties and shows her his toys (but she’s not allowed to touch them, of course — kids, eh!). So, after we’d finished the snake, Freya wanted to wait for Michael and waited by his car, but we were in a hurry and I had to pick her up and put her in the car. Of course she was rather displeased with that and started her chant of “you go away, daddy” and continued to chant it for a good 10 minutes. I ignored her but then we got stopped at a level crossing to let a train pass and I thought it would make an opportunistic moment to take a picture of her in grumpy mode.

Now I want to wait for Mikhael

You go away, daddy

Isn’t she cute when she’s grumpy?

Bëschcrèche (Forest Crèche)


Freya goes to the bëschcrèche every afternoon and has a great time there. I haven’t time to do a proper post right now, but just wanted to put up the scanned pictures* that they gave us yesterday. I’ve doctored them a bit in Picasa, which is some really nifty software, but, which as Lex pointed out, is sadly lacking in tagging features.

*I’ve changed the scanned pictures as I can’t find them after moving blogging platforms. So I’ve uploaded  a load of photos from my hard drive, some of which were taken by her wee friend Michael’s dad.