Saturday, December 29, 2012

The Blessing of Jet Lag

Jet lag is the bane of travel. Being able to see the world and engage with different cultures is amazing, but trying to stay awake (both coming and going) can be a challenge the first week.

Everyone has their way of coping with jet lag. I call mine the "mind over matter" method - I just make myself be in whatever time zone I'm in. If it's time to eat, I eat, regardless of whether or not I'm hungry. If it's time to be awake, I make myself stay awake. This has always worked well for me... until now.

Coming back from the States, I have had such a hard time sleeping through the night. My body wakes up at 4:00 each morning, and no matter how hard I try to convince myself that it's time to sleep, my body refuses to sleep. Sigh... I could complain, but I discovered something that made it all worth it:

I've been listening to the crickets each night. Their rhythmic chirping has kept me company on these sleepless nights. I also discovered something I've never heard before: there is a moment when the first bird begins to sing - before the sun rises - which signals that morning is soon upon us. As more birds join the chorus, the crickets slowly stop their chirping until one hears only birds. It is a smooth transition, and it is a magical moment. The night shift gives way to the day shift. How do they know when to start singing? What prompts that first bird? I have no idea, but I know I would never have been able to marvel in it if it weren't for jet lag.

I wonder how many other distasteful things in life hold hidden blessings?

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Thoughts on Returning To South Africa

"Africa is mystic; it is wild; it is a sweltering inferno; it is a photographer's paradise, a hunter's Valhalla, an escapist's Utopia. It is what you will, and it withstands all interpretations. It is the last vestige of a dead world or the cradle of a shiny new one. To a lot of people, as to myself, it is just 'home'. It is all these things but one thing - it is never dull." 
- Beryl Markham

Monday, December 3, 2012

First Impressions Upon Returning to the States

  1. I keep looking for the light switch to the bathroom outside of the bathroom... I forgot that you are allowed to have electricity inside the bathrooms here.
  2. The toilet paper is so soft and fluffy! I actually feel a twinge of guilt that my bum is experiencing such high levels of luxury... is it really necessary?
  3. Drive on the right. Drive on the right. Drive on the right.
  4. The things people complain about are funny to me. I caught myself wanting to say, "Really?" a few times.
  5. I miss the birds and the thunderstorms of South Africa already.
  6. Starbucks! There will always be an element of "hopelessly American" in me, I suppose.
  7. It's such a treat to drive on a freeway that a) is free and b) doesn't have any roadworks! Wow!
  8. The pet hospital is bigger than most health clinics in South Africa. I feel embarrassed of this and frustrated on behalf of South Africans.
  9. Grandma's cooking still rocks, even though she's 96!
  10. I appreciate roots and history I have here, but it's clear that I'm a visitor now and not a resident. This is both pleasing and strange.