Familia Christmas Letter 2018

Familia Christmas Letter 2018

Dear Loved Ones Far and Near,

This year was a milestone for the Family family: we have now lived in Amsterdam longer than anywhere else since we got married. We celebrated three years together with our adopted city in March. To inaugurate our happy state of being true Amsterdammers, we finally had a bike stolen! The advice generally given to newcomers here is to buy a cheap, old bike and a lock that costs more than the bike. Everyone uses two locks. In fact, after my bike was stolen, a helpful friend even told me about the “three lock rule”. I’m hoping my new bike sticks around for longer before becoming part of the thriving stolen bicycle black market in Amsterdam. read more

The Road Taken

The Road Taken

It happens every so often that people contact me for advice on this or that aspect of moving their family abroad. I always try to help if I can, since I have asked for and received help and advice on this topic from so many generous people around the world the least I can do is pay it forward. So when a year or so ago I was asked to share some of our story in a how-to book on moving abroad with a family, I was delighted to oblige. My copy arrived just this week, and it was a lot of fun to page through it and remember some of the crazy and fun stuff we’ve done. read more

Thanksgiving Far from Home

Thanksgiving Far from Home

Thanksgiving away from family is a puzzle to be solved. Not celebrating is just sad and unthinkable, but since people, preferably lots of people, are a key ingredient to the holiday, celebrating does involve some planning and inviting, which can be more or less challenging depending on the circumstances. I've done my share of inviting, but I've also benefitted from some wonderful and thoughtful invitations.

Going “Home” to California

Going “Home” to California

When did I stop referring to trips back to California as going “home”? Was it when I realised my son has spent half his life outside his (first) passport country? The day we bought a house across the sea? Little by little on walk after walk over miles and kilometres of foreign roads? I think the first inkling of the feeling must have begun long before all that, when the plane touched down in Istanbul half my life ago, and I realised how much bigger the world was than I had ever imagined. read more

A Long-Awaited Goodbye

A Long-Awaited Goodbye

Last week my husband and I submitted our resignations from the Mormon church. It was the final step in a journey of several years. As soon as we clicked the final button to make it official, I felt a familiar, quiet peace in my soul; it's a feeling I was taught as a Mormon to recognise as confirmation that a decision was right and true. Like I said, there are pieces of my Mormon past that will always belong to me. But if I could go back and tell my young Mormon self one thing, it would be that her life would turn out better than she could ever imagine.

Christmas Letter 2017

Dear Loved Ones Near and Far,

I confess that one of the main reasons I write this Christmas letter is not so much to let you know what we are doing as to find out what you are doing. Sometimes I fantasize about what it would be like to grow up and live my whole life in the same little village. And then I watch a moody European crime drama awash in small town secrets and decide I don’t so much mind my itinerant city life. But I do miss being able to see all the people who mean something to me and be a part of your in-person lives. read more

Romantic Iceland – The Golden Circle

Romantic Iceland – The Golden Circle

So, back to Iceland. Because when I think of it in my head now, it’s this idyllic place that belongs somewhere alongside halfway remembered books I read as a child and have always wanted to find again. Maybe I need another vacation.

The place we did our photoshoot happened to be near the Golden Circle, which is a route containing some of the main tourist attractions in Iceland, so we decided to pop in and see them, since we were in the neighbourhood.

Stop one on the Golden Circle was a waterfall that stands out even in a country full of spectacular waterfalls. Gulfoss is a gigantic waterfall by any measure, and the gloriously sunny day made it glitter with rainbows. read more

Romantic Iceland – Hiking in Húsafell

Romantic Iceland – Hiking in Húsafell

For our first full day in Iceland, we decided to see some waterfalls and go hiking, and I think that’s pretty much the best and most beautiful thing to do in Iceland. There must literally be thousands of waterfalls in this country, of all sizes and shapes, each one more beautiful than the last. It’s a feast for the eyes and the soul.

There’s one major waterfall just ten minutes from where we’re staying, so we decided to start there.

This is Hraunfossar, which means “lava waterfall”, because it comes down off a lava field. read more

Romantic Iceland – Highlands Photoshoot

Romantic Iceland – Highlands Photoshoot

It’s not that easy to find the perfect photographer for your romantic Iceland photoshoot if you don’t live in Iceland. Fortunately, you don’t have to. Because we already have! If you are in need of a photographer in Iceland, I highly, highly recommend Gunnar Jónatansson. Not only is he a talented photographer, but he and his wife Rósa took us on a fantastic tour of some of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen. And if you’re wondering why the quality of photos on my blog has suddenly improved so drastically, it’s because all the photos in this post are courtesy of Gunnar. read more

Romantic Iceland – Northern Lights and the Cottage in the Woods

Romantic Iceland – Northern Lights and the Cottage in the Woods

We took a 21:30 flight, so by the time we arrived in Iceland and were shuttled to the place where we were picking up our rental car, it was well past midnight and I was tired and somewhat questioning the wisdom of leaving after work on a Friday. Then our shuttle driver announced that the Northern Lights were outside, and did anyone want to see them. Of COURSE the entire building full of new arrivals in Iceland wanted to see them. We all trooped outside and improbably, miraculously, there they were. read more