We have a fënnef-year-old.
Well, our James is 5. My apologies to the future-James when he reads this post, as it will likely be as much or more about the experience of hosting a party in Luxembourg as it is about the birthday-boy. Sorry you're being upstaged by a country on this one, buddy. We love you very much!
As per our family tradition, we like to host small birthday parties at home, as opposed to large "destination" events that accommodate a class-full of kids - increasingly common in the U.S. Thus, we had James choose 4 friends from his class at school to invite to our apartment the afternoon of his birthday.
We decided together on an Angry Birds party. I knew there would be plenty of ideas on the internet (Pinterest) and James loves video games.
As this was our first time hosting birthday party in a foreign country (and we haven't attended any yet either), there were many unknowns. How does the Luxembourgish culture celebrate birthdays? Do they typically have cake, presents, sing Happy Birthday? What else do they do or not do? Where will we get our supplies? What do the parents do? How will we handle the language barriers during the party? Will they know what Angry Birds are? (answer to that one: no)
Not knowing which stores had what, I went on a bit of a bus-tour to find what we needed, with moderate to above-average success. I planned to decorate brown paper lunch bags as "goody bags" but I'm now fairly certain that paper lunch sacks are literally a foreign concept here. But you just never know about these things until you embark on an exhaustive hunt. (Really, expat/immigrant life is largely defined by a gazillion such exhaustive hunts). As I don't like to bake from scratch on top of hosting an event if I can avoid it (it ups the stress-level for me), I was hoping to find a cake mix. Fortunately, I found a box mix called simply "Cake" at the grocery store, translated the French instructions, and whipped up some frosting on my own. Threw some M&MS on top (readily available) for bird eggs and called it good. Frosting is not really a European thing, by the way. It's more about glazings and dustings here. (Post-party cake report: delicious. I can officially recommend the box marked "Cake" for those who happen to be looking for one in Lux).
Anyhow, Daphne was excited as always to decorate for the party.
|birthday card from Daphne|
|Daphne and I made these window decals|
|thank you, Pinterest and free printables|
|"real-life" Angry Birds game|
I gave the parents the option of staying for the party or picking up the kids later. One mom ended up staying, and we were extremely grateful, as she was able to translate some of our instructions into Luxembourgish.
I'm not gonna lie, it was a pretty loud and crazy 2 hours in our one-story apartment with little carpet to absorb the noise of 6 kids running rampant. We finally got them settled down enough to play a couple games:
|pin the bird on the pig|
We even had some special guests stop by for a bit....
|around 7am PST|
|around 7:30 PST|
It's the new normal, eh?
I asked the mom who stayed if this was similar to a Luxembourgish birthday party. She said indeed it was. True enough, the kids even all know the Happy Birthday song in English. I also asked her how to say Happy Birthday in Luxembourgish. All I can tell you is it's really long.
Well, James, we're proud of you and couldn't love you more. It's been a good fënnef years.