Saturday, September 8, 2018

One Year in Scotland: Mayward Family Update

As of September 5, we've lived in St Andrews for an entire year. Three hundred and sixty five days of living in Europe has been, in a word, wonderful. Sure, it's had its hardships and complications, but living on the coast of Scotland has been a peaceful, life-giving experience for our whole family.
Our new home
When we arrived in St Andrews, we moved into a 2-bedroom bungalow in a great neighborhood near our kids’ school. The space is cozy, and the lease was for 9 months, so we knew we’d have to move again, likely farther away from school and town. Providentially, a kind neighbor connected us with the owner of the house next door to ours, the one we’d been looking at out our kitchen window all this time. Two months later, the gracious owners had decorated and upgraded the house with our family in mind, and we moved in to our new house in St Andrews in May, twice the space for the same rental price. We hope to stay here the remainder of our time in Scotland, and we’re excited to use the space to host friends and family (so if you're hoping to come visit us, we have a bed for you!). We’re delighted and grateful for God’s provision, and eager for this new season in our new home. It's so spacious, and the garden is great for having three growing kiddos.
Paris together, July 2018
This past July, I had the opportunity to take a French language immersion course in Paris. Having applied for and receiving a bursary/scholarship, the entire family was able to spend a month in the City of Lights (well, technically we stayed in Montrouge, a suburb right on the southern border of Paris itself). I spent the mornings in French class, then met up with Katie and the kids in the afternoons. Katie and I had last been to Paris ten years ago for our wedding anniversary following a mission trip trip to Latvia; ten years later, we celebrated our 12-year wedding anniversary in Paris again. We may make a habit of going to Paris every ten years--it's going on our calendars for 2028.

Supper at our flat in Montrouge, July 2018
The kids enjoyed Paris quite a bit, although it was very hot for much of our stay. Most days were between 80-90 degrees Fahrenheit, and some neared 100. We visited many parks and museums, although we didn't do as many of the touristy stuff (like go up the Eiffel Tower), partly due to expense, partly due to heat, and partly due to the CROWDS. We were in Paris for both the Fete Nationale (14 July) and for the World Cup final game between France and Croatia. It was incredible to be in the city when France won the World Cup--you could hear/feel the entire place erupt with each goal.
Floating boats at Jardin du Luxembourg, July 2018
For what lies ahead in the months to come, all three kids are in the same school this year, as Alister heads to preschool (it's called "nursery" here) alongside his brother and sister. So, for the first time in nine years since Copeland was born, we have a few hours in the mornings each week without the kids. This has made for some well-needed coffee dates and relaxing adult-paced walks through town and along the beach. It's great to see our kids thriving at their school; it's been a bit emotional at times, as all transitions are, but each of them has been enjoying the new school year thus far (although they do come home a bit exhausted).
First day of school, August 2018

East Sands, August 2018
For my academic life, I'm entering into my second year of PhD research. I'll be a tutor (sorta like a T.A.) for two undergrad courses, and I'm a new associate editor for Transpositions, the online journal of ITIA. If you'd like to write a scholarly-yet-accessible essay or book review on the intersection of theology and the arts, feel free to contact me with your pitches and ideas. In November, corresponding with AAR/SBL in Denver, I'm presenting a paper titled "The Borders of Wakanda: Black Panther as Cinematic Parable" at the annual meeting of the Society for the Arts in Religious and Theological Studies (SARTS). If you're at AAR in Denver in November, be sure to say hello! Also, I have two upcoming publications coming in early 2019 with peer-reviewed academic journals: Theology and the Journal of Youth and Theology. And I just received word this week that I've had a book chapter accepted for an upcoming volume, "The Good Place and Philosophy" in Open Court Publishing's "Popular Culture and Philosophy" book series. All this to say, my schedule is quite full (and I still have a thesis to write!). But it's so good--I truly love what I'm doing, and I'm grateful for every moment.

Finally, Katie and I are volunteering to serve with the burgeoning youth ministry at our church, St Andrew's Scottish Episcopal Church. We hosted our first youth group night in our home, which was an evening of playing Ticket to Ride and eating brownies with a pair of teens. There's a good team of volunteers working together, all affiliated with St Mary's College (the Divinity school) in some way. It's early in our service, but we're excited to be back in a discipleship role, and doing this together as a couple. Even as I've transitioned away from a full-time paid youth ministry role into academia, I never want to forget or step away from my first love and vocation: the spiritual care and formation of young people.

Again, to all those who have supported us--financially, emotionally, spiritually--thank you for being part of our adventure in Scotland and making this possible. We're so thankful for our life here, and will continue to post updates in the months and years to come.

No comments:

Post a Comment