Why Lux Meant So Much to Me


About Lux 97: Can’t remember where and when, whether it was still day light or if the sunset was already upon us. A cobalt blue sky above our heads. Where it is already black, you’d even be able to spot a star or two.

If it wasn’t for the city lights and the clouds.

At a certain point, Jutta said, sort of asking, “Lux was very important to you”, not sure if she also added: “had no idea”, to the question. In any case, surprised by the fact.

It really was, I replied.

First of all, I fell deeply in love. And that is something you don’t forget. Especially because you’ll lose the ability to love passionately and deeply. You can only make it while you are young and innocent. Believing everybody else abides by your principles, has the same priorities.

The object of my passion was madly in love with me as well

Scots (in the picture), as I recall it, was my first night out. Only know it is Scottish, and not Irish, because of some notes I’d taken back in the day. Remember being at the counter, and having my ears ring when they rang the bell for last drinks’ call.

It was also where I met the future object of my love.

Had been in love all my life, am that kind of fool. Occasionally, even with several guys at the same time, never making it happen with any of them. But not like this, being mutual, that is. Most of the times it was unbalanced: either me totally interested and they not really, or the other way around, they fascinated and me not really. We did not stay together after Lux, never saw him again. That’s also something you don’t forget. What to do with all those feelings? Even though you do, because you are young, hence still creating memories. Therefore, I soon forgot about him until 15 years later, very briefly, getting back in touch 8 years afterwards. You know the rest of the story.

It was my first trip all by myself.

I was 25 years old, which I know it to be a bit late for Germans, and Northern Europeans in general, but that’s the way we do things in the South.

Have travelled before, as a teenager, with an international school, staying with an English family, all previously arranged. So no major responsibility. Now, I’d have to manage everything by myself, in a foreign country, where I don’t know the ways of things. You can’t forget that either.

Also travelled a lot, more than I had done so far.

It was pretty special. A couple of friends picked me up in Luxembourg and we drove to Holland, passed by Utrecht, Maastricht, stayed in Rotterdam and made trips to Amsterdam, Delft and The Hague. It was amazing. They drove me back to Lux and, right after that, with my parents, driving from Lisbon, we went to France, Belgium:  Brussels, Liège, Bruges, Ghent, and Germany, Trier. With Linda, we went to the North of Lux by train and also to Strasbourg, all of us did.

It was just the start of a lot of travelling, during the following years.

Another important factor was, besides having all my school friends around, I developed new friendships, mainly with girls.

My sweetest and dear friend Linda, even though we got apart, very different lives, she will always be in my heart and fondest memories of Lux. She visited me the following summer, met all my friends, and I visited her in 2002, in Malmo.

Louise, whose marriage I attended in London, in 2004.

Would never forget her generosity and kindness as well. Before that, I visited her in Vigo and she came to Lisbon and also met all my friends. We kept in touch thanks to her, who would always send me postcards. Then came Linkedin, and Whatsapp. I remember her as being so kind, so easy going with everybody else, always seeing the good in people. Humankind generosity.

And that’s mastering it.

You, Jutta, without whose friendship I would not have survived a broken heart. She listened to me for hours, gave me pictures of my lost love, lent me her car, even though I have no idea why and where I went, we partied endlessly, talked even more, she drove me to the airport and we kept in touch for a good while.

Until people stopped writing postcards, I guess.

Can’t wait to meet you in Dusseldorf, what a great idea to travel to The Hague from there.

Because of an emotion attached to it, I recall the first time I met Christel. Very bold and brave for a shy Portuguese girl. Later on, we hung out more, so laid back and cool, her kindness coming from the heart, very feminine. Always a surprise, like she was this time. Yet another act of emotional generosity I shall never forget. Reinforced and upgraded 25 years afterwards. On Monday, I could still feel the masseuse’s fingers on my back. Saturday night fever for 50 year old’s. And bachelorettes.

And Dearest Mila

Whose good spirits, initiative, kindness, generosity, proactivity, I always admired. The four of us would hang out a lot from September onwards. Partying like crazy, as crazy as you can get in Lux…

Truth is, we were the life of the parties.

Shall never forget Mila’s farewell dinner to me, as per my records, she is a great cook, and the pub crawl for the new stagiaires. Both memorable nights.

Thanks to Jutta’s pictures, we can remember better.

I think it is the feminine bonding that makes it so special to me. It is a strong one, and bonds are unbreakable.

Finally, it’s the emotions attached to Lux 97 that made it so special. Not exactly Lux, even though involved, obviously.

Sometimes I wish I did not feel so much and so deeply, a blessing and a curse. Great for Literature, not so good for daily-affairs.

Emotions make the memories stick or not.

And now, 25 years later, amazing conversations, major decisions taken, acts of kindness beyond words, new memories created and documented, in pictures and text, next meeting arranged, and great plans for 2023.

The bonding we recreated in Lisbon, and being in touch with the other girls, makes it even more special: Brings us closer, meaning that our experience in Lux was not in vain, or just something you soon forget because you live other things.

All of us lived major events in our lives, losses and gains, achievements and things we left behind, but they did not make us forget who we were, on the contrary, meeting and reconnecting is a way to remember precisely that.

Representing also a possibility to recall and get back the bits of us that were dismissed along the way and still make us happy. Being it stronger than laziness, sheer “I can’t be bothered”- or any other excuses we give ourselves to avoid truly living a bit – tells me that, despite life and its hassles, we still want to be in each other’s lives.

So yeah, Lux was very special to me, for a million reasons.

I believe it was for all of us, in different ways. None of us planned it, let alone knew who we were going to meet, what would happen.

How it would make an impact in our lives.

We embraced the experience and the people we met, chose our friendships and our crushes, and simply lived. 25 years have passed and, regardless of personal experiences, none of us forgot about names and faces of the ones that personally meant something. Even leading different lives now, with new long-lasting relationships and families, there are some people we bonded with and therefore shall never forget. It might stay in the back of our minds, because we have to move on, living our current lives. But still…

Can’t wait for the next 25 years, in close touch, thanks to technology.

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