Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Night before Halloween

 It was an eventful weekend.  I went to a youth outreach event on Friday night.   The following morning, our friend nearby went into labor and dropped her kiddos off with us for the day.  Claire, Elizabeth, and her little brother Spud (aka John Paul) spent the day running around.  I managed to get out and play ultimate frisbee (aka flatball) for a bit and then we had 2 families over in our small place for dinner.  It was chaotic and cramped, but also quite fun.  After everyone left, we set the clocks back an hour (daylight savings comes a bit earlier over here) and Autumn was ready to be up around 5:30 am today.  This morning we scampered to the bus, made it in the nick of time to church, and made it back home in the nick of time for Autumn's nap while Claire and I ventured out on her scooter to our rector's house for lunch and fellowship. 

This week should also be quite interesting.  Tomorrow, I have a meeting with the university women's football (as in soccer) coach regarding an opportunity to start up a JV team.  There is also a trick o treating event in the "Roundel" building where Keith studies.  They do celebrate Halloween here, but it does not seem to be a big deal.  The local university students will of course party is up.  From what I've heard, there are not really any trick o treaters that walk door to door- unless friends or neighbors arrange it with you ahead of time....Rumor has it, there is also a Scottish dancing get together at the end of the week hosted by Keith's school.  I hope to put in another order to have my groceries delivered to my kitchen counters again (I believe Claire thought it was Christmas last time Tesco's dropped off all the food packages we ordered).  Keith is busy finishing up his first official paper, and Autumn is continuing to delight in any new taste I bring to her palate.  The girl can eat, but she is really pretty petite at this point. 

Because you've asked, here are a few videos of Autumn and a bit of Claire mixed in: (Below is the link to copy and past into your  browser)

Claire is starting to read 3 and 4 letter words and Autumn can sit up on her own without a problem!  The girls send their love !
Here's a picture of my handsome husband (a study partner took a bunch for him recently- see his facebook if you so desire...)  He looks a little too cool for school, hey?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Life more simple is....more complex

This blog won't really give you much of an update on the Jaggers, but it may give you some insight into what life feels like for us at the moment.  As you know, we have no car, no dryer, no real income, poor indoor heating, and are just lacking some home comforts.  In a sense, then, life is more simple for us.  But because it is more simple in a material sense, it has become more tiring and in some ways more challenging (I suppose this is no surprise to those who grow up in more rural settings).  You may not be hearing from us as much as you or we expected because of this.  Daily errands and chores are zapping a good deal of our energy and attention.  It's hard to explain, but a friend of mine helped articulate some of the idea for me through her perspective on life in a small African village:

"I’ve been thinking about what you said about life being more “simple” in the sense that you don’t have a car or many of the luxuries you had in the States, but that it seems to do anything but simplify your life.  I was thinking about the Ganza and they have what we normally think of as a “simple” life.  That’s it.  There are no cars, televisions, internet, sports to track, news to watch, weather channels to track, obligations to send emails or notes or call home, no papers or dissertations, it’s just life.  But how does that play out?  There are no washing machines so an afternoon’s work can be carrying the washing to the borehole or river to wash it by hand.  Where we would turn the knob on the stove, they take a trip to the bush to cut and collect firewood then borrow hot coals from a neighbor and spend time staring and fanning the fire.  Where we throw the pasta in boiling water, they plow the field by hand, dig the holes, plant and weed the field, harvest it by hand and carry it home in big baskets on their heads, baskets that they made by collecting and fashioning and carving out the wood to put the basket together.  Then the women hit the wheat off the stalk, grind it, soak it, and grind it two more times on hands and knees before a grinding stone while taking pauses to nurse a baby.  Then they put it on the fire and get a tricep workout stirring it.  OK, I don’t need to keep going…but that’s what we consider simple.  “Simplicity” materially results in the majority of our time being taken up with everyday tasks.  There isn’t the same complexity of obligations and concerns, but the business and never endingness of the workload is just the same, often more.  It’s funny isn’t it?  We idealize simplicity but do we realize that it’s at the expense of the complexities of modern society?  Are we really willing to give them up?  I think in order to attain actual simplicity in a western society, we’d have to be total misfits in the society, totally counter cultural in the way we spend our time.  The problem comes when we try to attain both simplicity in life while still maintaining life with all its modern complexities.  That’s why it’s hard for you without a car.  It’s more “simple” materially but while still trying to maintain complex social standards, the pressure mounts."

So, currently we are trying to live life in a complex modern way, but with fewer modern resources than usual.  It's hard to know what God might be teaching us through this so early in the adventure...In any case, I a gaining a new understanding of humility, poverty, and priorities/necessities in life. 

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Pictures FINALLY!

I managed to take a few pictures of our place and posted them on Picasa.  Below you will find the link.  For your enjoyment, I also added captions to each photo!

Here's a taste:

Sunday, October 02, 2011


It has been a little over 3 weeks or so and Claire has already began picking up Scottish inflections in her language.  Over half of her questions now rise up at the end and I have to look and make sure my daughter hasn't turned into the little girl in Mary Poppins.  Her "mommy" is becoming "mummy" and she has informed me that it is not a trash "can" but a "bin".  Claire is doing really well with school and enjoying being chased by the boys before school while she runs off with her friend Amy.  We also found a girl just a street over who is also an American to play with and the two connected immediately- Elizabeth is certainly an answer to prayer. 

Auty booty boo (Autumn that is) seems to be adjusting to life in a stroller.  She and I frequently walk 2+ miles a day and she has to take several naps in a seat that only slightly reclines.  She is getting used to the many curbs and bumps in the sidewalk and I think it distracts her from the pain of teething that has begun.  She is making more noises- growling and fussing when she wants attention.  Overall, though, I have to admit that she is one happy and easy baby.  People are constantly ooh-ing and ahh-ing over her bright blue eyes (that stand out more because she seems near incapable of blinking).  We are finding that she really delights in playing with her legs, pushing on people and toys- looks like we may have a soccer star in our future!

As for me, well I am EXHAUSTED.  Walking everywhere and dragging the kiddos along is no picnic especially in rainy Scotland.  Hanging laundry all over the house, taking mile hikes to and from the grocery with little room to carry what we've purchased, keeping up with auty and claire, and trying to be as extroverted as possible to make new friends is taking all the energy I have.  I am, though, meeting some great people and feeling more connected to the community.  I have managed to get involved in the university's ultimate frisbee club and even passed for a "Fresher" (a first year undergrad!).  Once we manage to find me a usable bicycle and a baby bike seat I think life will get much easier.  For now, I think I am gaining a taste of what life was like for women before cars, dryers, phones, and internet.  I am also getting to meet a few more Scottish mom's from Claire's school.  For the most part, they seem extremely down to earth, honest, sarcastic, and ready to enjoy a few pints themselves.  I think I am going to enjoy them thoroughly;)

I wish I had more interesting things to share, but my brain is fried and I've been too tired to even take pictures yet.  I will get around to posting some soon.  Love to you all!