Modern air travel does a number on us humans. Transporting you from Atlanta to Paris in 8 and 1/2 hours messes with your mind. You arrive in what is the middle of the night in US time but in the blinding bright light of mid-morning in France. Your body should be sleeping, your mind is just trying to process everything. Add a big dose of homesickness, having just left your family, and the fact that your vacation is now over, and it's like being in the spin cycle.
We left the US last Thursday morning, saying our goodbyes, hoping to see US family sometime in the near future. Maybe I'm getting a little better at leaving, but it will never be easy; My eyes smarted on the plane from tears now and then. Hearing the hushed slightly nasal accents of French passengers and crew just annoyed me more than anything. The Air France flight crew, by the way, all looked like they could
double for Abercrombie and Fitch models, looking dashing in their uniforms designed by Christian Lacroix.
I was still in English mode and wanted to stay there. Juliette was a little pill for the first few hours of the flight, whining "papa, papa", since we'd told her we were going home to see him. The perfectly coiffed and probably childless French stewardess asked me if there was anything she could do for us since she saw Juliette crying. Perhaps this is code for, what can we do to make your child shut up?! But she said it nicely enough, at least. "She just misses her papa," I said.
But she finally got to sleep, wherease I don't think I slept at all. Still I had to be awake to haul my luggage off the carousel and then Remi was there to meet us at the arrivals lounge. Poor guy has had to put up with us in our sleepy/homesick mode though he had been waiting three weeks to see us. He had kindly bought us some of our favorite foods including some things to remind us of the US, like cranberry juice, doughnuts and oreo ice cream.
The first night I still had that mind shift going on where I didn't know what bedroom I was in, my mom's back at home or mine. I still haven't gotten back into a good sleep pattern yet but that could also be 'cause my mind sometimes doesn't shut off. Work's been slow as France and our students wake up from their own post-vacation bummed out torpor. I had two full days with no classes so I'm trying to catch up on some things here at home. That last suitcase will get unpacked soon!
As for me I'm starting to focus on the lab job search again and hoping for the best. And trying to hold on to some of the peace and optimism that my vacation brought me. That's what vacations are for.