A Travellerspoint blog

Scotland

Arran James Carlton Craig!

Our newest family addition!

overcast 14 °C

It's been so long since blogging, I feel a bit out of the loop, combined with any inspiration and creativity which seem to have temporarily gone on holiday (along with patience)..
I'm writing this in the newborn fog, where night time hours blur, and daytime hours seem in a weird slow motion, and the to-do list changes from 10 things to get done to 2, which give immense pride if completed...

We are delighted that Arran James Carlton Craig made his arrival a week early at 2.33am on 12th May, in a birth centre in Edinburgh, Scotland, weighing in at 7.7lbs or 3.3 kgs. Without going into the gory details, it was the most straight-forward of the three deliveries, and the dimly lit, calm birthing suite (equipped with birthing pool, en-suite and flatscreen TV) and matter-of- fact, sensible midwife, was a far cry from 5 years ago in Kenya giving birth to Amelie!
Amelie and Kenyan midwife

Amelie and Kenyan midwife

I'll take the liberty of using my post-birth hormones as a scapegoat, but being back in the newborn zone has made me feel quite nostalgic, as memories come flooding back about Amelie and Asher's births, one in Kenya, one in England..

Amelie

Amelie


Asher

Asher


Meeting Asher in Reading 2013

Meeting Asher in Reading 2013


Arran

Arran

and the reminder of how much the UK offers in terms of healthcare, freebies, aftercare, and what a privilege it was to extend our Home Assignment time in order to benefit from the healthcare system, and a wonderful support network here. I think about our Ugandan friends who are expecting babies at the moment, and feel a wave of fear thinking about their upcoming delivery and recovery and the need to pray for them, when the facts and figures of child and mother mortality are shocking and real, and are the names of people we've known.

We feel quite indebted to friends and family who have shown such kindness and generosity, and made the 'early blur' so much clearer than it could have been.

The other thing I've felt nostalgic about recently is thinking about my big brother Ian, whose anniversary of his tragic climbing accident was just a couple of days after Arran's birth. When you look at a scrunched up tiny newborn who literally just eats, sleeps and poops, it is hard to imagine and remember that they are a bundle of potential, to change their world, to make a difference, to make good/ bad choices, to influence others and stand up for their convictions. Ian was a remarkable person who never felt the need to comply with what society expected of him, and in his quirky, sometimes awkward manner, shone brightly wherever he was with his balding head and big smile and awful dress sense.

2 baldies! Ian, David and a friend Mike back in 2006..

2 baldies! Ian, David and a friend Mike back in 2006..

Arran is named after the Scottish island of Arran; meaning 'strong'

James is David's great-grandfather's name and has strong family connections

and Carlton is David's Jamaican Grandpa's name- he turns 91 today, and has been another inspiring person who has gone against the odds throughout his life, coming from a background of slavery to make his mark on the Scottish education system as the first black headteacher, and it
seems fitting that Carlton means Freedom

Great Grandpa Carlton amidst the commotion

Great Grandpa Carlton amidst the commotion

So, for scrunched up, little sleeping Arran, our hope and prayer is that he will remain strong to his convictions, and find freedom in following God's ways, and stand up for those who are oppressed, fight for their freedom, and make his mark on the world.

Amelie and Asher are thrilled with their 'live dolly', and the novelty of Arran's slightly boring schedule hasn't worn off yet..

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I am looking forward to all being settled in our home in Uganda in a couple of months time, but the thought of all the goodbyes, especially after this extra time to reconnect with people, is a hard and emotional thought, and the thought of packing and stocking up for the next couple of years in Uganda is something my mind can barely comprehend in the season of fog..

so for now, I'll take today as it comes, and try to get through the embarrassingly short 'to-do' list...

Lots of love, xxxxx

First family pic as 5 in the Birthing Suite!

First family pic as 5 in the Birthing Suite!

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Posted by africraigs 02:04 Archived in Scotland Comments (2)

'Do you speak African..?'

and other specialities of Home Assignment...

rain 13 °C

We've been on our UK Home Assignment for a good 2 months now, (and yes, it's been a pretty good 2 months, thanks). After the excitement of my sister's Reading Wedding, sleeping in various beds, numerous visits, hunting for items like socks and hair mousse as we pack and re-pack… we are very pleased to settle into a lovely flat (way too lovely, and dangerously cream-coloured for toddlers!). It is a flat in a nice part of Edinburgh, very kindly sorted out by someone in the church...

and life almost feels normal.

Almost.

But then there are a few things which still make us very excited (or just put us in a good mood)... like...

1. for us all to be anonymous, not people to be stared at, not a 'mzungu' or a 'mundu', but instead to blend in and feel like a fairly normal, frizzy- haired family
2. not needing to use complex maths skills to convert pounds or dollars into thousands and millions of Ugandan shillings
3. drinkable tap water and instant hot water!
4. the NHS, NHS 24, check ups, tests and caring Doctors
5. home-baking (there is an obvious downside to this), fresh milk and reasonably priced, non- stale cereal.. the kids could glug milk till the cows come home…and keep asking for more bowls of cereal.
6. thought- provoking, good, meaty sermons... WHILST the kids are being safely entertained in creche or Sunday school
7. the choice and variety in supermarkets
8. TV... it has been a treat to enjoy Downton Abbey, Bake-Off, Match of the Day and CBeebies
9. and of course it sounds clichéd, but The People... it has been so encouraging to see childhood friends, old school friends, friends from summer mission trips, church friends, work friends, uni pals, brother, sisters, and for our kids to meet and play with their cousins, aunties, uncles, grandparents and great grandparents. My parents have lost several of their good friends this year, and it has been a sobering reminder of the fragility of life, and the need to cherish special times together and take lots of photos, and (most of the time!) it feels like a privilege to have these few intense people-packed months...

However, to give a more balanced picture of Home Assignment, it's not been all cheesy photos and tray bakes…

1. Kids and long car journeys are not a particularly fun combination
2. Kids and lack of routine= another lousy combo. I especially think it must be very confusing for little Asher who has no idea where he being taken to or who he is visiting. He sometimes seems to think he is in Arua...
3. Being in a hospitable culture where cake and/ or biscuits are automatically brought out with a hot drink is tempting at the best of times... which can be problematic when we are visiting people...a lot…we might need to check the extra baggage allowance on the return flights (!) and prepare ourselves for the blunt Ugandan response 'eh, you are now very fat'.. We have missed foods like 'Tunnocks teacakes' or caramel shortcakes so it’s time to catch up! :-)
4. Our nearly-5 year old is missing her friends in Uganda, and if we properly lived in the UK, would have just started school, which I'm sure she would be enjoying and seems ready for… so attempting to home school in this short season is not the easiest role
5. Trying to explain such a different life back in Uganda to people can be difficult, especially when asked questions like 'do you speak African?'..

6. Although it is lovely to be back in the UK for this visit, we are definitely not settled here, with the normal rhythms and roots of work, school etc, and it can sometime feel like living in a parallel life to ‘normal’ people.

That all said... I'm sure in a few years time when we have moved back to the UK permanently, and will have the alarm clock, school run, swimming lessons and juggling childcare with work, there will be fleeting moments when we look longingly back on this season of time; the season when water and milk are still a novelty, and where we are relatively free to meet up with friends at the drop of a hat… :-)

Zoe and Jamie's Reading Wedding...

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burnell clan

burnell clan

running wild at the Reading wedding

running wild at the Reading wedding

wedding poppets

wedding poppets

Catching up with friends

Asher happily surrounded by sweet girls

Asher happily surrounded by sweet girls

3 yearly catch up with old friends

3 yearly catch up with old friends

beach and rockpools

beach and rockpools

time with the great grandies

time with the great grandies

childhood friend

childhood friend

mission trip friends

mission trip friends


Enjoying Edinburgh and different seasons..

enjoying autumn

enjoying autumn

Amelie's first summit! Arthur's Seat, Edinburgh

Amelie's first summit! Arthur's Seat, Edinburgh

Posted by africraigs 12:38 Archived in Scotland Comments (0)

Empty keyring

overcast
View Emma to visit the Learys... on africraigs's travel map.

Hi, just a quick one before I head to Edinburgh's airport, have finally reached the stage where I too am about to embark on the adventure and am at last a teensiest bit excited. Lost my keys yesterday before giving the car to the 'new motor trader' (weird car trading language) thankfully Helen found them, but was just thinking if I lost the keyring now it would be no great loss as it is simply a keyring- no house keys, or car keys or even bike lock keys, all feels very weird.
Until next time... x

Posted by africraigs 03:07 Archived in Scotland Tagged air_travel Comments (0)

Giving up 'Independence'...

('Independence' being the make of Peugeot 106)

sunny

I feel that I've also been on a filtering course whislt david's been away- have spent the day packing once again and trying to filter out more of our rubbish and clutter... have appointed the Logistics Manager, captain shiv, to help plan tomorrow, which entails lots of giving back items to people at church, storing a coffee table in someone's garage, giving over the car to Michael, catching up on a backlog of the En Route course.. and then making my way to le hotel Edith& Rodney before the flight on Monday.
Had a lovely week back at Loretto, in some ways I wish I hadn't gone back as it was sad to say goodbye again and remember how much I enjoyed it, but it was also good to catch up and see my old pupils, all grown up in year 2.. had to take an assembly on Friday which was pretty daunting, especially when the selected appropriate photos of africa which were to come up on the big screen instead turned into a slideshow of all of my photos on my memory stick... Thankfully stopped it before it became too embarrassing..

Posted by africraigs 15:03 Archived in Scotland Tagged packing Comments (0)

Limbo dancing

(Well, I wish it was that exciting)

sunny

Not to be outdone by David's interesting hands- on experiences in the USA.. life in Edinburgh continues in a strange limbo time of seeing people, nannying, saying lots of goodbyes, having lots of redirected mail to open and sort out, and packing once again to move to Kirsty's on Friday.

Will be going to the school on Friday that I used to work at, to speak at assembly to link in with the Harvest theme so need to think of 'infant friendly' ideas to portray our plans...

The En Route course is really interesting and surprisingly personal and applicable- last week was on personality types and team dynamics, I had thought it would be much more theory based. However, it does take up a big chunk of time and the deadlines on Wed and Sun seem to come round very quickly.
Not having much joy with skype or phoning David, have reverted to facebook chat, not ideal but better than nothing!

Posted by africraigs 11:17 Archived in Scotland Tagged packing Comments (1)

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