Thursday, August 23, 2012

Jet-lagged- body and soul

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.


Jenenz said...

I hope the vacation glow stays with you for a while as you settle back into France. Thanks for sharing photos of you visit home. It was a good trip!

Deidre said...

Oh - this post hit home. So utterly and completely.

Crystal said...

You know I get it.

Thinking of you and sending positive vibes :)

Miss you!

Lindle said...

And there's the flipside---the family you leave behind. We walk the rooms you just inhabited-your images linger in our minds. Little toys thrown into corners are discovered, a drifting balloon that is slowly losing its air says, "They were here." Your yogurt is still in the fridge, your handwriting on a note.
Parents hope you grow wings to fly, but we never wanted you to fly THAT far away!!!! Love you always!

Lindle said...

I am very sad that I couldn't see Juliette and you Milam:-))due to my surgery. I hope you had great time at home. I know how you feel about coming home and going back to adapted home. Going back home's jolly feeling starts weeks before the travel date and it is like X-mas time mood almost that marked by waiting the travel day with a huge excitement, shopping for little surprises to the loved ones, packing etc.-but every moment of this period is filled with joy, energy, hope that puts you on the happy bubbles all day and nigh every day. Returning to other home (second home) is rather painful to leave all family and friends behind. I have been there I have done that and I am still doing it every year, but let me say it gets more and more easier if we accept that our second home is actually our first home now. I know that is a hard very hard acceptance due to many complicated feeling, expectations etc., but it is not impossible. When we can accomplish that life gets more happier to live, to be productive and to be a full person. Otherwise, if can not do this, we are destined to live on a bridge between original home and the new home and we will not belong to anywhere actually..and will stuck on the bridge. I know from experiences this acceptance will happen especially when Juliette grows up more in there. By the way I adore her videos. You do really great job with your blog. I love your writing, your organized mind, and cute creative things here. Love from Merih who is the friend of your Mom.

(Note: Merih is from Turkey and moved to the US when her son was very young. She truly understands the expat's pain.)