Alex and Ivo: What's On For Kids
Please tell us a little bit about yourself. Who you are, where you come from, when you moved to Luxembourg, etc.
We are Alex and Ivo, parents of two girls — a 1 year old and a very active 4 year old. We are originally from Bulgaria but have lived most of our professional lives in the US. We have also spent a few years in the UK. Alex works for a bank in Luxembourg and Ivo is an ex-Wall Street Bank IT Executive turned serial entrepreneur. We moved to Luxembourg in 2008 and we both were happy to find that Luxembourg is a great city to raise kids in. But we soon found ourselves often struggling with finding ways to keep them entertained, especially on weekends.
When we lived in the US, and then in the UK, it was very easy to find fun activities for kids. It usually took us a few minutes of online browsing to discover what was happening around us. Often, we would simply subscribe to email lists for fun activities and events and receive the Meetup invites directly in our inbox. Great times!
So when we relocated to Luxembourg, we quickly discovered that finding interesting activities for kids was neither easy nor straightforward. Even though we speak French, German and English, the information about different events was difficult to find as it is scattered all over the place. Then we did what any other parents would do — we started compiling a list of all the fun things we could do with our kids on weekends. Then we decided that other parents might be in a similar situation and started publishing the list that we compile every week.
When and why did you decide to start blogging about your experiences?
We have been compiling the list for our own use for about four years now. We only started sharing it via the blog last year. One day Ivo just said ‘Why don’t we put this online?’ and since he is an IT specialist, it only took him a couple of hours to set up the blog. At first it wasn’t even openly accessible for the public. It was only after a few of our friends saw it and wanted to have the info emailed to them on a weekly basis when we decided to launch it as a fully blown blog and website.
Do you have any favorite blog entries of yours?
Well, my most favorite is the weekly list. This gets updated every week and could be received automatically via email if you sign up for it on the website.
While Ivo’s most favorite is the entry that lists all playgrounds in Luxembourg.
Tell us about the ways your new life in Luxembourg differs from that back home. Did you have trouble getting used to the new circumstances? Did you experience culture shock?
We can easily say we are an international family, having lived in several countries ourselves and also raising our kids in the multicultural environment that Luxembourg offers. So we didn’t have much trouble adjusting to the life here. The only problem was finding interesting things to do and keeping the kids entertained — a challenged that we took on and as a result blog was born. The little ones grow and become more active every day but at least now we never find ourselves out of fun and exciting things to do with them on the weekend.
Do you think you were fully prepared for what awaited you in Luxembourg? If you could, would you change some decisions/preparations you made?
I would say more or less yes. One thing we would probably have done differently is to leave the US car in the US and buy a new one here. Although it is a very comfortable and large car, it’s a make that is not so common here and it is a real pain when you need to service it.
Every expat knows that expat life comes with some hilarious anecdotes and funny experiences. Care to share one with us?
One we had to register that very same US car here we had to do so in three places — the local Division of Motor Vehicles, Customs, and the Police. Each one of those institutions required a document from the other. It was a vicious circle puzzle that was impossible to solve. However, we did find a secret door to enter the system :)
Which three tips would you like to give future expats before they embark on their new life in Luxembourg?
- Lux is a great place to raise your family!
- Leave your car at home, get a new one here!
- Sign up for www.whatsonforkids.lu to always know what’s happening in and around Luxembourg!
How is the expat community in Luxembourg? Did you have a hard time finding like-minded people or fellow expats?
We love it. A lot of our interactions with expats are around the blog and we see how many parents find it difficult to figure out what to do with their kids on weekends and also find it very frustrating to scour the web in quest for kid activities. That’s why we decided to share our findings and efforts with them and started publishing the weekend to-do list with activities for them and their little ones in and around Luxembourg. And they love us for it!
How would you summarize your expat life in Luxembourg in a single, catchy sentence?
Lux is a fun place to live — as long as you know what’s on for kids on the weekend! :)