Saturday, January 22, 2011

Jet Lag

When I announced last week that our family would soon be moving from Japan, I mentioned that there would still be posts in the category "Life in Japan" for some time to come.  I want to tell you right now something I won't miss about life in Japan, JET LAG!!!  Right now, I am on day 2 of my 5 day house hunting trip and I am suffering from the worst jet lag of my life.  So, yes, if for no other reason, I will be happy to repatriate for the simple fact of not having to have jet lag on a semi-regular basis.

I know there are those of you out there that think I am completely crazy for even mentioning jet lag as a reason for not wanting to live over seas anymore- and that's probably because you've never had it.  My husband used to travel to Europe a lot for his job.  I had never been overseas to experience true full on jet lag, let alone done it with 4 ticking time bomb alarm clock kids.  I always thought it was in his head and didn't understand how you couldn't sleep if you were tired due to some problem with your own internal clock.  

Well, my first true jet lag experience came when I went on my house hunting trip to Japan 4.5 years ago.  I was 35 weeks pregnant with my third son and had a very painful varicose vein in my leg, needless to say, even in first class, I didn't sleep at all on the flight over.  I was so tired, I thought I'd have no problem sleeping- WRONG!  I'd go to bed at 8 every night and be up at 2 in the morning, laying there, staring at the ceiling.  Being pregnant, I couldn't test out my husband's sure fire jet lag reducing method of drinking a few beers before bed.  After that trip, I started to believe him that there was such a thing as jet lag.

When I moved, with the kids, I firmly believed him about all of his jet lag warnings and started to listen to all of his advice, except the drinking beer before bed part.  I didn't take naps (under any circumstances) and I stayed awake late the first few nights.  Now, this advice is pretty good, except for one tiny problem (KIDS).  They were going to bed early, in fact, one night, my son fell asleep in the tub at 5 PM, so staying up late doesn't matter, when your kids get up in the middle of the night anyways.  Does my husband take his own advice - NO!  On many occasions after business trips, etc. or upon arrival to the US a few weeks after us, he can barely keep his eyes open past 3 in the afternoon (which means an early rising,since he didn't have tired kids waking him at 2 or 3 am). What's the bottom line?, don't listen to your supposed expert jet lag dealing husband's advice!  Don't nap, don't give the kids naps the first few days, but when they go to bed, YOU GO TO BED TOO!  There is nothing worse than dealing with overtired cranky kids when you are overtired and more cranky than them, trust me.

So, yesterday after an exhausting and downright depressing day of house hunting, I could barely keep my eyes open at 3:30 in the afternoon.  I didn't want to go to bed for fear of waking at midnight and being up all night.  However, when Hazel fell asleep at the same time, I should have taken my own advice and gone to bed when she did.  I stayed up until 8, then I woke at midnight with her anyways.  From midnight until 5 AM, I tossed and turned - of course, she fell back asleep, but I lay there with my mind racing.

I tried everything, counting sheep, yoga breathing, repeating the ABC's over and over in my head, but nothing would bring sleep.  What was I doing?  I was not excited about looking for houses, I did pray that the ones I see today did not consist of the following categories 1) smell of wet pond dog fur the minute you enter the house, 2) pantry smelling more like dog food than the bowl probably does, and 3) carpet used as a dog toilet, so much to the point, that I didn't want to take one step on it even with my shoes on.

Those thoughts led to me thinking of Penzey's spices- we drove by a Penzey's today, which was right across from Barnes and Noble's.  A gourmet spice shop across the street from a book store full of cook books I need to explore.  I was thinking of all the recipes I could try without preparing for them months in advance, all the cookbooks I could run out and pick up.  I was not thinking about where I was going to live to do all this cooking.  This led me to think about juice because I was thirsty, but unfortunately, being pregnant, I can't drink in the middle of the night because my heart burn is too bad.  I was imagining myself walking into Target and looking at all the juice varieties and which ones I would choose to drink today.  I wonder if I'll actually make it to Target today or if I'll be too tired to care about drinking that juice.  

That led me to think about this blog and that I wanted to write about jet lag, that I wanted to learn how to use photoshop. I began wondering if my blog is too busy with all the stuff I write about and if I should seaparate it into two different ones, one for cooking stuff and one for all the homeschool/kid craft stuff I do.  I kind of like it all together, it's who I am, I am busy, and jet lag aside, I normally get up when I wake up because my mind races as soon as my eyes open.  Then I wondered if it was just too much in one place, what do you think?  I like to encourage people that life can go on when you have kids, that you can do these things with them and when you have them.   Thoughts?

Finally, I couldn't stop thinking about Cook's Illustrated, and how much I love their recipes, and their explanations.  I have a chemistry degree and cooking is kind of like chemistry, you need to find the right combinations and take care with your measurements.  I like that my kids like to cook with me and that they are learning how to carefully measure and the purpose of all the ingredients. I can't wait to buy all the Cook's Illustrated cookbooks I've been wishing for and start putting them to use.  I can't wait to not have jet lag anymore, so my days aren't wasted with early morning bursts of energy and inspiration, only to be followed by afternoons full of wasted time because I'm so tired I feel sick.

The only fun thing about jet lag is the first day you get home and you are up early and dressed before the rest of the world, and you know you'll be the first one in line at Starbucks that day.  Once you have that coffee in hand, you will be ready to take on every single aisle at Target to catch up on everything you missed for the months you were away.  That's the only thing I'll miss, that first morning excitement that jet lag brings.

So, yes, my current number one thing I'll miss about life in Japan, jet lag, it's a nasty little thing!


1 comment:

  1. I don't think you should have two separate blogs...this blog is about your life and your life encompasses many different things!