things I like

right now. (summer 2015)

September 3, 2015
Forth Rail Bridge and baby

We’re in week six of nomadic life since we moved out of our Luxembourg flat and started this big transition that will land us (in three weeks!) in Peckham, London. It feels like so much longer, probably because we’ve fit in so much and been so many places.

And apparently we don’t do anything by halves, adding a pregnancy to an international move! Yes, in case you missed the announcement in my she loves post last week, we are expecting a new addition to the family in February next year.

This time in my pregnancy with Kaya we were taking weekly photos of me holding fruit and I was obsessively reading about her growth and development and planning for her birth. This time, the first four months has been swallowed up in packing, saying goodbye, moving to the UK, and attempting to keep our lively toddler amused and happy while living out of a suitcase. Some days I nearly forget that I am pregnant (the nausea was a useful reminder).

So it’s been a memorable summer to say the least. Here are some of the highlights and the things I’ve most enjoyed these past months…

 

Luxembourg Book Club

reading.

I had my last *sniff* book club gathering with the five women who have made me laugh the most while living in Luxembourg. They sent me off in style with cupcakes decorated with all the books we’ve read the past couple of years and a book of poetry by the wonderful Carol Ann Duffy. I will miss our monthly dinners so much.

Our final book together was A Lady Cyclist’s Guide to Kashgar by Suzanne Joinson.  I enjoyed reading it – particularly the historic narrative set in Kashgar which is pretty tense at moments – but when we all discussed it we agreed that the story could have been developed so much further. The characters have so much potential to be truly fascinating but the story felt a little empty at the end.

My friend Martine gave me the book Euphoria by Lily King as a leaving gift and I LOVED it. I studied Social Anthropology at University, and this is the story of a love triangle between three young anthropologists in the New Guinea in the 1930s. So I completely geeked out over all the anthropology in the book, but it’s also just a brilliant story, pretty classic love triangle stuff, but keeps you on the hook the entire way through, and the unpredictable context they are in just magnifies that.

I’ve started reading We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, by Karen Joy Fowler (the book club’s August pick – I can’t give them up!) which I am liking a lot so far…

 

watching.

A return to the UK has meant a return to television that I can actually understand. Which is both a good thing and a bad thing. Rasmus and I sat down to watch TV one night and it felt such a foreign experience to watch what some random person had decided we should watch at this time on this evening. And don’t even get me started on adverts…

But I am back in time for the new series of Great British Bake Off. We were watching in Edinburgh two weeks ago and I turned to Rasmus and said, this program just makes me completely happy. Nadiya is my favourite (I just want to be friends with her) but I think I want Tamal to win.

My friend Anneke introduced me to the amazing Gogglebox before I left Luxembourg, and now I am eagerly awaiting the new series in a couple of weeks. At Greenbelt this weekend I sat in on the Rev Kate Bottley’s talk on how she came to say yes to being on the show. She is funny and inspiring and so refreshingly normal.

 

eating.

My entire kitchen is currently packed away in boxes in my parent’s garage waiting for it’s new home. Meals have consisted of a disturbing level of ready meals and takeaways, but then there’s also my mum’s cooking and my uncle’s cooking when we stayed with them in Edinburgh. We also mastered butternut chorizo risotto while camping, which I think deserves an award.

Summer2015

 

 

travelling.

We took a four night holiday in East Devon when we first arrived in the UK, as a way of buffering life in Luxembourg and life here, and giving ourselves a few days to breath and reflect on what just happened. We stayed in a lovely cottage near Axminster, and spent days having pub lunches, full English breakfasts in greasy spoon sea front cafes, and walking along the beach at Lyme Regis and Exmouth. It’s such a beautiful part of the country.

We also spent the last three weeks in Edinburgh while Rasmus started his new job. Kaya and I explored the city together, and fell in love with the National Museum of Scotland which is the BEST place for kids. They have an imagination room for little ones, and the Animal room is just beautiful. We also climbed Arthur’s Seat on a sunny Sunday morning, which took me back to my own childhood.

A weekend at my Grandpa’s in the Scottish Highlands was my first chance to introduce Kaya to the landscape I love most in the whole world. We went for walks up the hill to the farm to visit the cows and sheep, and visited the beautiful woods and waterfalls at The Hermitage, which is a space that is now deeply rooted in my story.

 

camping.

Yes, we took our 14 month old camping. I was totally unsure if it was working but I’ve been really wanting to go to Greenbelt for years and decided this might as well be the year. So we borrowed a tent and camping equipment from anyone who’d lend it, and ended up having an amazing weekend.

Greenbelt felt a little like coming home. Brilliant music, a warm and inviting atmosphere, grass-floored cafes that just seemed to cry out for fascinating conversations, speakers that inspired, and no assumption (as there so often is at Christian festivals) that we would all agree on everything. It was so refreshing and such a lot of fun. Even when it poured with rain for two whole days…

We came home covered in mud and oh-so-tired, but very happy. (I so highly recommend listening to the talk by Katherine Welby-Roberts on suffering and depression when it’s available. She said it truthfully and beautifully.)

 

loving.

…the chance to catch up with old friends. Ellie made TWO day trips up to Edinburgh while we were there and it was so wonderful to get that much time together, talking about life and work and dreams and so much more.

…family time. My parents may be a little over the moon that Kaya and I are spending so much time with them this month (they’re actually leaving the office early to see their granddaughter before her bedtime!). And we got to stay a week with my Uncle Neil and Aunt Jo who were such easy-going and generous hosts (Kaya loved all the musical instruments).

…exploring. I am holding the desire to be settled in balance with this love of discovering new places these weeks. I’ve found delis that do delicious breakfast baps, a free indoor “beach” for Kaya to play in on rainy days, poetry carved into the stone path alongside rivers, abandoned lighthouses in empty coastal parks. It’s been some kind of wonderful.

…hot baths after a weekend of rainy muddy camping.

…getting back into editing with She Loves Magazine. Goodness, I love those ladies. And I missed them after Kaya was born, even though I couldn’t have managed it then. Now I’ve taken over as Friday Editor and it is pretty wonderful to be back.

…Whatsapp. Really. For helping me still feel close and connected to the friends I left behind in Luxembourg. This month I’ve spent a lot of hours just me and Kaya, and so that internet connection has made me feel a little less lonely.

 

on the blog.

It’s been a little quiet around here as I adjust to new rhythms every week and try and find the time to write anything. I did pop out a few posts though:

 

Linking up again – after a longish break – with Leigh Kramer for her monthly What I’m Into post.

motherhood, She Loves Magazine, Writing Elsewhere

Preaching Gospel Love to Myself (and an announcement)

August 27, 2015
Preaching Gospel Love to Myself - Fiona Lynne

We talked about it from every angle, considered every possibility and scenario.

My husband had been offered a job in London and our plans to move were fully underway. Now I needed to decide what I would do there. It had been hard to find work that was a good fit in Luxembourg. The last year I’ve stayed home with our energetic and adorable toddler but that had only increased my desire for work. I was so eager to get back to doing something that felt right, something where I could use my God-given gifts. It was exciting and terrifying at the same time.

I’d had this sense, as we’d been waiting to see which doors might swing open as we pushed, that God was wooing me right there in my wanderings, in my wilderness. I was daring to voice some dormant dreams, to imagine some brand new ones, finding within me the courage to believe I could see some of them become a reality.

Then I discovered that I’m pregnant again.

///

I KNOW! BIG announcement and I just sneak it into my monthly she loves post?! He he…

The K-J family is due to expand in February. We are surprised and happy and overwhelmed and grateful. Go read the rest of the post to hear the story and then come back here and do some happy dancing with me.

expat, Luxembourg, motherhood, new horizons

Finding the Magic in Moving.

August 10, 2015
The Magic of Transition

Rasmus started his new job today. And so today marked the start of a new season for us. The past year has been one of flexible schedules and fulltime parenting together and asking so many questions and leaning into the unknown. And now a part of that unknown is over. He has a job he’s happy about, and we’re settling into a new kind of rhythm for our little family.

Only of course, there’s not much settling happening yet.

Two weeks ago we moved out of our flat in Luxembourg. Rasmus and a friend drove our entire life possessions minus two suitcases over to the UK where the rental van broke down on the M25 and two days of madness ensued to try and get our stuff to my parent’s garage and my husband and his mate back to Luxembourg.

That week we house sat for friends in our neighbourhood which was a blessing of huge proportions. There was a garden to relax in and they’d left a doll in the travel cot for Kaya which she instantly fell in love with like no other toy she has ever played with.

Then one week ago I cried my way through our final church service, weeping tears into the communion wine and failing to hold it together when they blessed us and sent us out at the end of the service. And then we managed to sneak in Kaya’s final scheduled vaccinations (they’re important, people!!) and flew out two hours later, toasting this small and strange yet lovely country with a glass of complimentary Cremant as we went.

Then there was a night at my parent’s (so wonderful to be back in my childhood home, however briefly), and then four nights of holiday in a cottage in Devon. And like any typical English holiday I went from a day of jumpers and borrowed raincoats at the beach to a day in my bikini at the beach. Pack for all weather eventualities!

A fact I forgot this week. We flew into Edinburgh yesterday and today I left the flat without an umbrella. In Scotland. In August. What was I thinking?! I got drenched in a sudden downpour with all the locals casting me pitying glances as I half jogged Kaya’s (mercifully covered) buggy down the road towards the nearest cafe.

This is our fifth resting place in three weeks. In three days time we’ll add a sixth when we go visit my Grandpa in the Highlands for the weekend, and then a seventh the week after when we move to stay with my Uncle and Aunt for the final week in Edinburgh. And then down to London where we have three weeks with uncertain accommodation before our rental house is available.

So today is a massive shift for us. And yet I feel like a nomad in this moment. I feel anything but settled, anything but rhythmic. I worry for Kaya with all the changes, but a wise friend reminded me that I am where she gets her strongest sense of security from. And so I cling to our own vague and spontaneity-filled rhythms. We read the same two books over and over. I sing her the same songs. We play the same games in different gardens and on buses in different towns and countries.

The dust is beginning to settle. Some of those big questions we were asking all year have answers. There’s a job started and a house being prepared for us. I’m being connected with people who will be in my neighbourhood. I’m reveling in all the amazing conferences that take place or pass through London and signing up to them all.

And so I can live with the rest of the uncertainty for now. Sure, some days I long for the moment I get to unpack this suitcase for the last time. But this time is also a gift. I get to explore a bit more of the world with my little girl and see her enjoyment as she experiences things for the first time – sand, shells, maroon buses, wind that makes the building creak.

If there’s one thing I’ve learnt from watching other friends journey through times of transition, it’s that the magic happens when you just lean into it, all of the mess and the uncertainty and the up-in-the-air. In reality it’s the hardest thing to do of course, to just be in this moment, this one right here, without wishing it all away. But I want the magic. So I’ll willingly hang out in this in between space for a little longer.

Thanks for sticking around here when I am so absent recently. Here’s to finding the magic where we are, and giving ourselves the grace to just be. To just be. That’s all.