I have lived in Luxembourg since 1989. It is a country of quiet beauty whose people I have found to be welcoming and generous. It is also affluent so that, while my personal means are modest, I enjoy the benefits of superior infrastructure (compared to the US, for instance), generous public services, and, as of 1 March, free transport for all.

I have many anecdotes—or I guess the currently fashionable term is stories—about life in Luxembourg but this is typical.

My kitchen has granite countertops. I had never aspired to granite countertops, but there they were. The granite is a splotchy melange of white, black, grey, and a peachy beige. One day, a Luxembourgish friend had come by and, as I was fixing coffee, I remarked that the granite’s pattern made it difficult to tell if it were clean without feeling it with my fingertips.

And she said, as though it explained everything, “It is the cheapest type of granite.”

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