Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Random Thoughts From a Jetlagged Brain

Have you ever been jetlagged? Tanzania is 10 time zones from California, so we literally are switching our bodies and brains from night to day and day to night.

It feels like staying up all day after a night of insomnia, but then on top of that, taking a double dose of nighttime cold medicine and still trying to stay awake. Your brain is in a fog, your eyelids have anchors attached to them, yet it's daytime. The kids say things they've never said before, like, "Mommy, I want a nap....Mommy, I want to sleep." Then, when you finally fall into bed at night and allow yourself to fall asleep, your eyes pop open three hours later and you are completely awake. And totally ravenous. When you finally fall asleep again a couple hours later, you hear "Mommy?" And so the night progresses. Thankfully, unlike mothers of newborns or flight attendants, it does eventually end.

But anyway, all that to say--I can't really take full responsibility for everything I write here. And don't expect it to be cohesive.

So....we're back.

Leaving was hard. Did I expect anything less? As I evaluated my emotions, I realized that for the first time, I did not feel that crippling fear that haunted me the last few times we left. No fear. Only sadness. And the sadness this time was deeper.

The flights were long and.....long. The worst part, actually, was the first few hours of the first flight. The plane was packed, Josiah was very, very squirrly, and the person sitting behind him was entirely unsympathetic. Meals were being served so he couldn't move around. Thankfully the kids did sleep about half of that first 10 hour flight, and about half of the second 10 hours. Me, not so much, since I just can't sleep very well sitting up....though I always feel like the only person on the plane who has this problem.

We arrived in Dar and the windows of the plane immediately fogged up. We got off the plane and our lungs immediately fogged up. Ah yes....humidity, how I missed you! Our sweat glands, which had been dormant the last 5 months, immediately kicked into gear. When we got home and started stripping, we left the kids in their underwear. Josiah was very disturbed by this after months of being totally covered up. "I naked," he kept protesting. "I need pants. I need a shirt."

Josiah is also now terrified of our dogs and starts screaming whenever he sees them. He also immediately broke out in heat rash. Poor kid. He probably is having the most culture shock of any of us.

And so we've pushed through the last few days, and every day gets better. I have had my "What the heck am I doing here?" moments. Like on Monday when I went to town to renew our internet subscription, and it took me an hour to drive less than 10 miles....and our car was thumping loudly due to the shocks going out again because of the bad roads...and then getting home and the power being out....and pulling a cookie sheet out of the cupboard only to find a family of very large cockroaches jump out with it. Blech.

But today is better. The kids are now sleeping through the night, making it easier for Gil and I to sleep (though we still both were up at 3:30, and Gil never did go back to sleep). The power is on, the internet is on, I made banana bread yesterday, leftovers from meals brought by wonderful friends are in the fridge, Gil's students have been thrilled to have him back, and the sweating....well, hopefully that won't last much longer since "winter" is coming soon. My hair is perpetually pulled back in a ponytail, Josiah is wearing cloth diapers, and I am cooking from scratch again. I am back in my other world....my other planet, it feels like. And God is good. Everything will be okay.
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