Jet Lagged and Adjusting

28 Mar

It’s a quiet Monday morning in the heartland of the USA.  In the bleak early morning hours, it’s quiet and dark as life seems to be slowly slinking past the stillness of winter.  And I am… awake.  Or mostly awake as my days and nights are still quite mixed up.  After a few too many afternoon naps, indulging that irresistible call to mid-day jet lagged slumber… here I am when the world around me is just considering rising and I… have been awake for some time.

I arrived here yesterday to a snowy Easter morning after a week of respite and connection with friends in Atlanta, Georgia.  It was an easy stop via a direct flight on Korean Air direct from Chiang Mai to Seoul then Seoul to Atlanta.  I have spent this past week in that strange place of adjustment.  The undeniable feeling of familiarity being back in my home country mixed with the unmistakable shift that occurs with a year and half since my last visit to the States.  My world is a bit mixed up.  I am still altered by and present to the vibrant, crazy and colorful world of Chiang Mai.  Life on the left side of the road and my modest Thai speaking of “sawatdee ka’s” (hello)  and “kop kun ka’s” (thank you).  I’ve already surrendered most of my colorful Thai baht that had become a comfortable companion now replaced by American dollars which feel a bit… foreign… and sadly monochrome in my seasoned traveled hands.

But that said, I can’t deny a need and appreciation for the comforts of home.  That sinking feeling into the familiar that allows me to relax and rest just a little more deeply and easily than life internationally.  Such a life provides a fresh perspective and appreciative for the comforts of American life and my current respite in my family’s home.  The deep sink into the bountiful hot-tub with, yes, jet-action.  Grateful for the easy supply of organic groceries and food items, but admittedly still revelling in the sticker shock after a year of modest Thai income and mostly super-affordable cost of living.

I am returning once again as a familiar face, but undeniably impacted by my cumulative journey of the past five years… and more recently my 7 months in Vienna, Austria and subsequent year of teaching in Chiang Mai.  My body, mind and being are pleasantly shifted and expanded in ways that are most notable to me but perhaps less visible to the outside eye.

But here I am, altered and at home in the mid-west. I am still acutely aware of the daily and moment to moment echo of my most recent foreign adventure. My surprise at the grocery store when I speak English and am easily understood. My adjustment to getting into the passenger side on the right side of the car. And my general feeling of strangeness in the midst of “regular American life.” But also appreciating little things like loosening the grip on my passport now in the land where I am wholly and easily “allowed to be here.”

So here I am, feeling “newly arrived” and a little foreign myself back in the central USA.  I have a kaleidoscope of experiences that now make the world beyond the US a normal part of my considerations, view and landscape.

I am grateful for the allowance of some time for rest and adjustment. Reconnecting myself in the most basic ways with the people, land and world around me. I am of course considering and exploring what is next for me… beginning to reach out, connect and plant seeds and see what opens up and unfolds.

But for now I am awake, yet still sort of asleep in the groggy morning hours after a night of sleeplessness and strange productivity.  While the neighborhood and people around me just begin their day, I am jet lagged and adjusting back at home in the USA.

Featured image:  A slice of the vibrant artwork lining the pedestrian pathways of the Beltline in the heart of Atlanta.

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