The farthest I’d ever travelled was to the Caribbean (which reminds me, is that spelled with one “r” or 2?), where the 3-4 hour time difference wasn’t really relevant as we ate dinner every night at 9pm and in between dinners, we were adequately hydrated. READ: DRUNK. So you can imagine, despite being adequately hydrated, I never had to deal with anything other than a really long, a’hem, hangover, upon our return to the real world that exists when vacations end.
My friend told me it would take 10 days, and believe me, it did. The first few days, I was so happy to be home, still riding my vacation high and enjoying each little word that sprang forth from my children’s mouths, that I hardly noticed THE TIRED. But oh, the tired.
Normally, I’m a little bit of a night owl. Okay…big-time. What can I say? I like the quietness of the house when everyone else is asleep, especially during summer. I like to be able to clean the kitchen without a barefooted kid running yet another dirty dish into my hands, or a dog standing there, begging, drooling over my every move that may or may not involve a treat for him. I like the peace. I like the calm. So when I was finding it hard to keep my eyes from slamming shut at 10pm every night, I knew I was in trouble.
Turns out, a 9 hour time difference is a big deal folks!
Going to Denmark, we stayed up on the plane, we were fueled by our excitement, and caffeine, and bloody marys. Coming home was almost exactly the opposite. The flights were broken up into 2 grueling legs instead of 1 long one and 1 short one. The planes were both crowded, and hot, and smelly. My seat was stuck in the upright position for the 2nd leg from New York to Seattle…oh yes. And going to the lavatory was like being a contestant on Wipe Out, obstacles with every step.
But I did it, without too much complaining (I thought I’d save that for now), and we arrived back in Seattle and into the welcome arms of my Dad and our 3 children, who had come to pick us up at the airport.
Coming home, it was an entirely different story. There was no unknown to be excited about, no big city to explore, no ancient castles to wander through or countrysides to see and most importantly, no soft ice cream every day to keep me going. Oh yes, The Danes are very fond of their soft ice and their hot dogs. Another surprising thing about Copenhagen? There were more 7-11s than McDonalds. In fact, I think I only saw a handful of the golden arches during the entire trip. But 7-11s? On almost every corner.
So the tired. It took awhile to recover from that. But just like my good buddy told me, 10 days and I was back to normal.
I was grateful for so many things during those first few days home – we had nice seatmates, young girls who didn’t take up a seat and half OR smell like meatballs. We arrived safely despite extreme turbulence over the Dakotas…please one more bloody mary, thank you. I still had circulation in my legs even though my feet were the size of bricks and I’m pretty sure if you look up “cankles” in the dictionary you will find a picture of my lower legs. And, our kids were happy to see us; they even refrained from bickering for almost a week which only reinforces my belief that a 2-week long European vacation should be mandatory for all parents.
But most of all, above all the joking and the uncomfortableness that everyone is bound to experience a little of when they travel, I was mostly grateful to be alive.
We were in downtown Oslo on July 22nd.