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Social "International Interview" Thread--All Are Welcome!

Discussion in 'FanForce Community' started by Pensivia, Jun 20, 2016.

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  1. Dagobahsystem

    Dagobahsystem Chosen One star 9

    Registered:
    Sep 25, 2015
    A "question of the week" sounds like a cool idea, Penny. I can see various benefits to this approach.
    If you create a poll, I will vote!
     
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  2. Pensivia

    Pensivia Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Apr 24, 2013
    Thanks, Dags.:)

    I think we'll stick with the initial format for now and then maybe I'll post the poll after we've had at least a few rounds with the initial format.

    So we'll stay in our "general discussion" mode for anything related to the first interview for a few more days, and then we'll move on to the next "interviewee" (Revyl Ren, from Luxembourg).
     
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  3. Darth Nihilon

    Darth Nihilon Jedi Padawan star 1

    Registered:
    Jun 5, 2016
    I am so sorry for being gone for awhile! For Skiara I think many are created simply to be beautiful. Like paintings or sculptures. It is a different kind of art, but it is not really vanity in the way that many people view it as :)
     
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  4. Pensivia

    Pensivia Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Apr 24, 2013
    I can totally see that, Darth Nihilon. I'm a big fan of "beauty for beauty's sake" in many forms (nature, visual art, etc.)--the more beauty we have in this world, the better I say!

    A few of my favorite quotes about beauty:

    "A thing of beauty is a joy forever:/ Its loveliness increases; it will never/ Pass into nothingness" (19thc English poet John Keats)

    " "Beauty is truth, truth beauty,' -- that is all/ Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know." (also Keats)

    And a last one from Nihilon's homeland (wish I had a French flag emoji to insert here lol):

    "There are as many kinds of beauty as there are habitual ways of seeking happiness." (19thc French poet Charles Baudelaire)

    Bet that last one sounds even better in its original language:D
     
  5. Skiara

    Skiara ~• RSA FFC •~ star 10 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Nov 5, 2002
    Ah, ok. Thanks, Darth Nihilon! :)
    I always had the imagine that they create it so people can wear it, but for "beauty-reasons" make sense as well and I bet there's a thin line between "beauty reason" and "wearable". ;)
     
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  6. Darth Nihilon

    Darth Nihilon Jedi Padawan star 1

    Registered:
    Jun 5, 2016
    That is one of my favourite quotes by Boudelaire! Those other quotes are also very lovely @};-

    Yes, why is there only the flag of America? :eek:
     
  7. Revyl Ren

    Revyl Ren Jedi Master star 2

    Registered:
    Aug 12, 2015
    Pensivia so when's that PM with the questions incoming? ;)

    Sent from my Nexus 6P using Tapatalk
     
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  8. Pensivia

    Pensivia Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Apr 24, 2013
    Soon Revyl Ren...I have been communicating with Darth Nihilon as she is submitting a couple of the questions...expect your PM later today or tomorrow (Friday):D

    Thanks!:)
     
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  9. Pensivia

    Pensivia Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Apr 24, 2013
    Just an update...PM just sent...so we can all be looking for Revyl Ren's responses here soon:). Thanks to Darth Nihilon for providing two of the questions!
     
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  10. Revyl Ren

    Revyl Ren Jedi Master star 2

    Registered:
    Aug 12, 2015
    1) Do you prefer the natural side or the habituated side of your country?

    Let me answer this question by the following fact: compared to other countries, Luxembourg is tiny! It's only 2586km2 (998 sq mi) and somehow everything seems closer together. I live (and grew up) in a village which, by today, has around 5000 inhabitants. We still have a few farmers, orchards, potato and strawberry fields (strawberries from my village are somewhat of a local specialty, but that's another story)
    So, I'd say the place where I live is quite rural. Now, if I drive south for 15 minutes I'm in my countries capital, with its european institutions and banks. It's still green, mind you, Luxembourg city is probably the greenest capital of western Europe.
    If I drive north for 15 minutes, on the other hand, it gets totally rural, with small villages of a couple hundred inhabitants mostly.
    So to sum up the answer to this question, I'd say I like both, because I don't have to choose! Within a radius of a one hour drive, I can have modern urban architecture, tiny farming villages, medieval castles, forests, and whatever lies in between.

    2) What are the official languages of Luxembourg? If there is more than one, do you speak all of them?

    Luxembourg has 3 official languages: Luxembourgish, French and German.
    I speak, read and write all three fluently, in addition to English.

    In case you are wondering, Luxembourgish is a language on its own, though scientifically, it's a mosellan-frankish dialect (meaning it is close to german) It is distinct enough from German so that a German would have severe difficulties understanding it when spoken. A bit like Dutch, but different from it.
    Luxembourgish is the only one of the 3 official languages which is qualified "national language" in our Constitution.
    Due to the fact that we have around 70.000 french commuters working in our country, and due to the fact that for historical reasons French is the most widely used administrative language, it's omnipresent and hard to get by without.
    German is more of a media language, with most newspapers written in German.

    This trilinguality is so ingrained in our culture that most people here have no problem switching from one language to another within a single conversation if need be.

    3) Luxembourg is a very small European country, and likely not as immediately "well known" outside of Europe as are some other countries like your larger neighbors Germany or France. What are some things you'd like others who might be less familiar with Luxembourg to know about it?

    Well, first of all, we're happy when people even know our country exists as an independent entity (as opposed to it being a part of Germany, France or Belgium)
    Also, we're not just all about banks or a fiscal paradise. Luxembourg used to be a world-class provider of steel, we have dozens of satellites in space, and have started expanding into the secure data/cloud market heavily.

    Other than that, feel free to ask me more precise questions, because I can't think of more specific facts for this question. :)



    Sent from my Nexus 6P using Tapatalk[/b]
     
  11. Pensivia

    Pensivia Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Apr 24, 2013
    That is all really interesting, Revyl Ren! Especially the fact that trilingualism (and beyond, as is evident from your excellent English!) is the rule rather than the exception. What a gift that is! It must open so many doors in so many ways. So different from the U.S. where, unfortunately, monolingualism is dominant :-(

    Speaking of the language issue, I was reading the (English) Wikipedia page on Luxembourg and it said "Luxembourgish is the language that Luxembourgers generally use to speak to each other..." Would you say that is true? Also, in terms of size...how long does it take to drive from one of your borders to the opposite one (north to south/east to west)?
     
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  12. Revyl Ren

    Revyl Ren Jedi Master star 2

    Registered:
    Aug 12, 2015
    Generally speaking, this is true.Even though Luxembourgish isn't even taught in school, eveeybody who grows up here inevitably learns it. The fact that it isn't taught is due to the following fact: it has always been the language of the "indigenous" people living here, but our country has centuries of foreign governance to look back upon: it was sometimes part of the Holy Roman Empire of Germany, then there were the Austrians, the Burgunds, the Spaniards, the French (during the French Revolution) the Prussians and the Dutch. Most of our oldest laws date back to Napoleon and are thus written in French. When Luxembourg became independent in 1839 French was kept as administrative language, also because I suppose it was "posh" for the upper class to speak it. But people didn't "need" to be taught Luxembourgish: you learned it at home anyway. The language being used for writing is quite a recent phenomenon and its grammatical and orthographical rules have only been fixed in the 1980s !
    Anyway, I digress... so our language isn't taught in school, we learn German and French in primary school, and English follows in High School only. As I said, people who grow up here (and that includes 2nd gen. Portuguese, of which there are many here) learn through taily usage.
    The problem is, due to the salaries here being quite high, we have ten-thousands of foreigners (mostly French) who cross the border each day to work here, and *they don't* bother learning Luxembourgish because they (rightly) assume we speak French well enough for them to get by without them learning our language. So anybody who visits our country and does some shopping is inevitably confronted with French-speaking people and would (wrongly) assume we all speak French.
    We do so because we have to, not because it is our primary language. No two Luxembourgers would ever converse in French, because it is not our mothertongue. The whole situation is somewhat complicated to understand, I admit.

    As for the second question, roads here aren't as straight as in North America so driving is a bit slower because of that, but you could cross *into* Luxembourg from Belgium, drive for 50 minutes (highway) and arrive at the German border. Or, from the South, you come in from France and drive for about 2 hours (the landscape up North is very hilly and there are no highways) and exit to Belgium. Since I live pretty much in the center (a little to the South of it) I have less than 40 minutes to drive to *any* of the 3 neighboring countries.

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  13. Pensivia

    Pensivia Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Apr 24, 2013
    Wow, I find that all very interesting. I think the Wik page also mentioned something about Luxembourgish only being used as a written language relatively recently.

    This may be a harder question to answer (and of course, one has to be careful about "generalizing" too much about any culture, because that's really impossible I think), but what other elements of your country's culture do you see as "distinctively native"? In other words, with so much foreign influence for so long, what do Luxembourgers think of as particularly "native" as opposed to aspects of their culture that are more similar to other European countries? (Besides Luxembourgish itself of course). I guess I'm wondering about things that could be anything from particular food dishes, to cultural outlooks and/or customs?

    I'm going to see if I can find a vid on YouTube sometime with Luxembourgish being spoken. I'm curious to hear what it sounds like!
     
  14. Skiara

    Skiara ~• RSA FFC •~ star 10 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Nov 5, 2002
    It's really interesting! Thanks, Revyl! :)

    I agree! If a foreigner comes to Luxembourg then it seems to be French, at least for me being from Germany, and I was happy that "some" (ok, all, but I didn't knew that at that time) spoke German.
     
  15. panta1978

    panta1978 Jedi Knight star 3

    Registered:
    Mar 20, 2016
    Ok my question. I know Luxembourg to be one of the first countries to join the EU (that was called MEC back then if I can remember correctly). But how keen are Luxembourgers (correct?) on European Union today? Are you still generally in favour of this institution or are people skeptical about it?


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  16. Revyl Ren

    Revyl Ren Jedi Master star 2

    Registered:
    Aug 12, 2015
    That *is* a hard question, and I'm tempted to answer it with "no, nothing, really." Except of us being good with languages. And the fact we like to rant but never actually take action to change someting.

    Well there are, of course, a few people who would like Luxembourg to "become independent again" and leave the EU. But those are mostly either latent racists or conspirationists.
    The overwhelming majority of people here, I'd say, is staunchly european. We have much to gain from the EU. Our economy relies on the importing of goods (because we're too small to produce *everything* ourselves), and the exporting of services. Besides, we also rely on commuters from our neighboring countries. All of these points are made possible or easier through the EU. We also have a standing army of only <2000 soldiers. Not very useful, really.

    But at the bottom of it lies the following fact (which many people even here are not aware of)
    When Luxembourg was declared independent, in 1839, neutrality was imposed on us by the Treaty of London. Luxembourg used to have one of the best fortresses of Europe, so the French and the Germans always tried to annex us. It was almost like they would take turns at occupying us. The Treaty of London granted us independence under the conditions that the fortress be razed and we remain strictly neutral.
    We tried staying neutral during WWI and WWII, but due to our size, each time we were occupied by Germany. So *during* WWII there was this paradigm shift when we realized we couldn't remain independent by remaining neutral, but that we should rather ensure our independency by joining every international alliance possible. NATO, UN, EU, the membership of which pretty much guarantees that we can't get annexed again either by the French or the Germans. It's just a matter of common sense, really.

    Does that make sense?

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  17. panta1978

    panta1978 Jedi Knight star 3

    Registered:
    Mar 20, 2016
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  18. Skiara

    Skiara ~• RSA FFC •~ star 10 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Nov 5, 2002
    Isn't ranting a lot but not doing anything "normal" these days? I can find it at many places. [face_plain] :p Or it being said with other words, aren't we ranting on a high level and since we know that, we don't do anything, because we like it the way it is mostly?
    Ok, almost a philosofical question and not really asked for being answered, because that would need pages over pages to answer, if ever an answer can be found. ;)

    Your answer makes perfectly sense. :)
     
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  19. Pensivia

    Pensivia Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Apr 24, 2013
    I enjoyed reading your answers too, Revyl. I find European history (and how it has shaped current issues facing Europe--Brexit, Luxembourg's own relationship to the EU that you described in your answer, etc.) fascinating.

    Ha! Yeah, I get your answer. I think my question is difficult to answer for a lot of countries, for various reasons. In the U.S., we have had a lot of different cultural influences over our national history. And when I try to think of what I might say is "distinctively American" today, I usually find myself thinking (with much embarrassment, lol) of various negative stereotypes of Americans ("loud," "arrogant," "culturally oblivious," etc.). :p
     
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  20. panta1978

    panta1978 Jedi Knight star 3

    Registered:
    Mar 20, 2016
    Pensivia.
    Apart from an 8-day holiday in New York I've never been to the USA. And I know Manhattan not to be the "average American city". So I can say I've never really visited your country. But not all the stereotypes I can think of are that bad. I can also think of a flourishing country and thriving people proud of their being American, a great culture that has inspired every other nation, amazing cities and breathtaking landscapes. Of course there are drawbacks - as far as I know USA is also full of people who struggle trying to make ends meet. But like any other country by the way.

    Revyl Ren.
    Back to our inteviewee... Are there any Luxembourgish celebrities famous worldwide? Or perhaps someone popular in your country you would like to talk about? As for me, I love watching sports (less keen on practising them though :D ), and off the top of my head I can think of Schleck brothers (cycling) and former Alpine ski racer Marc Girardelli.
     
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  21. Pensivia

    Pensivia Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Apr 24, 2013
    Thanks for your comments, panta! Yes, there are definitely also things I am proud of about America.:D Sometimes I feel like I'm an even harsher critic than many of those outside the U.S. Perhaps a topic for if I ever act as the "interviewee" here...:)

    And I will be interested to hear Revyl's response to your question about Luxembourgish celebrities. Just in my brief looks at the English language Wikipedia page about Luxembourg recently, I discovered a "fun fact"...an early 20thc photographer I have always liked, Edward Steichen (1879-1973), was of Luxembourgish descent (his parents immigrated to the U.S. when he was an infant and then he became a U.S. citizen in 1900. While I was looking at his Wik page, I also noticed a related fact that reminded me of Darth Nihilon: Steichen's "photos of gowns for the magazine Art et Décoration in 1911 are regarded as the first modern fashion photographs ever published." :cool:
     
  22. Darth Nihilon

    Darth Nihilon Jedi Padawan star 1

    Registered:
    Jun 5, 2016
    This sounds like such a beautiful country! I would very much love to visit it one day. Is Luxembourgish spoken very much outside of Luxembourg? Or is it rather very specialized to your country?

    Edit: Oh, Pensivia! This is so very interesting, thank you very much!!
     
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  23. Revyl Ren

    Revyl Ren Jedi Master star 2

    Registered:
    Aug 12, 2015
    Yeah, Eduard Steichen is probably one of the more well-known Luxembourgers, at least among culturally educated people.
    The Schleck Brothers (ugh, I hate cycling sports), that's about it.

    Here's a few select photos to whet your appetite.

    Castle Vianden

    [​IMG]

    Somewhere in the North

    [​IMG]

    Ruins of Castle Bourscheid

    [​IMG]

    Old quarter of our capital

    [​IMG]

    Foreground: parts of the fortress of the capital.
    Background: a few buildings of the european/financial quarter

    [​IMG]

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  24. Pensivia

    Pensivia Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Apr 24, 2013
    Wow, I'm booking my flight today, hahaha! Lovely pics, Revyl. Thanks for posting them. I find the visual juxtaposition of the old vs. the new in the last one especially interesting.
     
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  25. panta1978

    panta1978 Jedi Knight star 3

    Registered:
    Mar 20, 2016
    Absolutely fabulous. I must organise a trip in Luxembourg, perhaps a long weekend or something like that...

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