It’s nearing the end of May, and I am reflecting.
I love the month of May, It’s part of my Mother’s ’s name, and it’s also my middle name, yes spelled the same way.
Where I live, it’s a month where the greens of nature have shaken off the sleep of winter completely, and the first fruits of a long rest are coming to light. I’ve eaten a strawberry, and see the blueberries forming, and the first wave of peppermint and lemon balm have gotten tall.
All of the initial blooms of spring have made their pretty show and
stolen my admiration for more than 6 weeks now, such as my favorites,
the lilacs and cherry blossoms, have come and gone and their leaves are looking full and grown up now.
“It’s like the pregnancy of what was seemingly asleep in the winter, is coming full term.”
It’s funny that this May is different than all other Mays I have ever experienced. I generally like to read and get quite a bit done in the winter and early spring, but this winter and spring as well, I have been incredibly ravenous! I have been reading and listening to books about all aspects of art, self-improvement of all kinds, travel with the history about different parts of the world, and of course the bible, along with several devotions. I’ve been listening to speakers who have rich insight in various disciplines, I’ve also been learning several new software programs, some light language study, and techniques. I honestly can’t remember a time when I’ve been filling up so insatiably with information is such a short period of time.
Normally this is a very busy time of year when I am giving of my time doing all kinds of things for others, and have very little time if any, for doing much self-enrichment. I realize that it is unusual, and I have counted it as an extreme blessing in disguise, even though we have been in a rather frightening standstill situation, and I am learning to be even more grateful for all of the small, and seemingly insignificant things I may have had less regard for just 9 months ago.
To say that I am pregnant, is an understatement. I am full to the brim of ideas, knowledge, compassion, expectation, hope and excitement for what is to come. I do not have many details, but definite signs of direction. I imagine it will be a lot of what I have already done, but magnified, times like a hundred. I know that it’s impossible to be learning so much and not give birth.
The circumstances surrounding this period in time are quite unique, and are part of a perfect storm of impeccable timing. For this, I will tell a quick version of the last 9 months of my life…
August 21, 2019, I stepped into an airplane with my husband and 2 older teenage children for a nearly 7 month adventure. The plan was simply to prolong an ordinary trip to celebrate my Father-in-law’s 80th birthday which would happen at the end of the month, into a travel and cultural experience for our family.
That, I believe we did quite successfully. My husband was working for a job that allowed him to work completely remotely from home, my daughter was homeschooling, and my son also worked from home, with no other obligations that kept him from being with us.
For just over the first 4 months, from August 21-January 3, we stayed at my Father-in-laws home. He had plenty of room, 3 bedrooms with an attic loft area, being gracious enough to let us invade his space, we all had a hideaway if need be, and even though the rooms were all quite a bit smaller than a typical American house. We didn’t mind at all. We simply lived out of our suitcases, and realized how little we actually needed. After a while though, let’s just suffice it to say that our welcome was wearing thin, and it was time for us to go back to just being the family in pictures on the walls. Who can blame him, I agree, it’s much easier that way.
During our time there, we were thankfully able to borrow bicycles from a good friend of my hubby. We biked all over town, and my son and I ventured out the most to Amsterdam, both together and apart with the bikes. It was wonderful, just like old times.
I had lived in the area for over a decade, and it was so cool to get to share some of the experiences with my children as teens, rather than when they were itty bitties. We also often got to the city on public transport. There was a bus which we took that was only a short 10 min walk from our address, and it got us to Museumplein in under a half an hour.
I’ll write more about our various and sundry Amsterdam adventures at another time, this is only giving an outline of what the last 9 months have been like, and why I am excited for this month’s birthing.
In September, I was teaching online for a homeschool co-op back home on Monday nights, I had a couple of private online students, and I started an Urban Sketchers meet-up in Amstelveen-Amsterdam, which was an amazing experience. I got to meet some really special people, and always made myself go to the events even if no-one else showed up.
It was quite a discipline to create an event, and then travel somewhere to sketch several times a week, with or without other people. My observational skills improved, and I appreciated how photogenic nearly everything could be, if I would just look twice.
I also held a couple of private creative exchanges, with a lovely small group of ladies whom I met at a local bible study I had joined. One of the ladies I met over 15 years before!
I kept most of the above up until March when we returned to the States, even though things changed quite a bit when we moved to the North of Holland, on January 3rd . We were still only a 10 minute walk away from the bus, but this time we were another 20 minute ride to the train, which was another 30+ minutes to Amsterdam. It was much more challenging, expensive, and the weather was quite a bit less inviting, to boot. Since we also no longer had access to a car, (we were able to borrow my Father-in-law’s) and did all of our travel via public transport, except for local shopping, (which happened by walking or biking) let’s just say that there were less sketch excursions, and other events planned come the new year.
2020 came in like a blast, and I mean literally, since the Dutch set off fireworks like crazy to ring in the New Year.
The move up north brought some restrictions with it, No car, not as close to friends and family, and a completely new to us territory. As a family we did however, absolutely adore our new home away from home. We were located in a cute fisher’s town called Den Oever, that bordered the famous afsluitdijk that went across to Friesland, and we were a 5 minute walk away from the dike which overlooked and kept back the Wadden Sea.
During our time in Den Oever, we finally felt relaxed. Everyone had a separate retreat area when needed, and since we all had projects, we certainly made use of them at some point throughout the day or night. The one time we all got together on purpose, was at dinner time. For that we pretty much kept our home schedule. My son had Monday cook duty, My daughter had Tuesday, I had Wednesday, Thursday, both my son and daughter tackled together, and Friday and Saturday was my hubby, and sometimes I helped him on Friday, and Sunday we were on our own, or I, or whoever had the unction, made dinner. The new rule which we made up at my Father-in-law’s place was, whoever cooked, didn’t have to do the dishes. It was more significant at his place, since there was no dishwasher, so whoever didn’t cook, washed, dried and put away dishes, pots and pans, as well as wiping everything down. We tried to get it done the second we finished eating so that there was never anything left behind in his kitchen that looked out of place.
During this time my daughter volunteered to cook a lot more, since she would rather not do the dishes. I personally found washing dishes quite therapeutic, so there were no worries on my part, and when we all cleaned up together, it was actually quite fun.
In Den Oever, we fortunately had an actual dishwasher, but still held the rule that the cook was free and clear, and my daughter daily took the duty of emptying the dish washer, making it possible for her to nearly completely dodge touching any dirty dishes at all. Lol.
I’ll elaborate a bit more on our time in Holland at another time, but felt it was important to give a little context for where I’ve been and what I’ve been doing. For now, I’ll fast-forward to me being pregnant again…
With all of the experiences, sights, travel, museums, sketch excursions, reuniting with old friends, meeting new friends, books, skills, software, and all culminating in a serious world pandemic, as we made it back into our country just a short week and a couple of days before our State instituted a mandatory stay at home rule, which may possibly be lifted at the end of this month. This “forced quarantine” was probably the best thing that happened to me in a long time, as I have been able to really do some soul-searching, and self-evaluating of what I have loved the most about the past 9 months and have come to the conclusion that:
- I truly come alive when traveling, showing, and seeing new places especially while exploring history via museums, architecture, and parks.
- I really enjoy sharing experiences and traveling with my family and friends, and meeting friends I didn’t know I had.
- I absolutely love being a part of, and facilitating shared art experiences with others.
I am an insatiable learner and can’t imagine a day without learning something new and valuable.
All of this to say, I am expecting to birth a “baby” any time soon. Please follow me if you’d like to welcome my new addition(s) and be a part of the village which will raise it (them) up. Blessings!
Love and Peace, Lorina