Monday, February 4, 2013

February 2013 - Home to Home - Part 2

Stirling Castle, Scotland
I would like to know what happened to January.  It was always my mom's favorite month she once said, explaining that she got to write my name every day.  But this past January just vanished into the mist.

After enjoying December with family and friends, cuddles with grands, making and sending handmade ornaments and Christmas greetings across the United States and beyond, lunches with friends, and just being with my husband, it was bitter-sweet to return to my second home in Wales.  I was prepared for the journey but was not prepared for the ravages of jet-lag nor did I understand what jet-lag was beyond sleep deprivation.  Okay, so as a researcher I set out to discover what it really is.

It's different for each person but the overall response is 24 hours adjustment for every time zone travelled, a bit more if you're over fifty but who's counting! The UK is 8 time zones different than Oregon.  The adjustments to our circadian rhythms can result in inability to sleep as well as depression, anxiety, eating and elimination issues.  Makes sense when one considers all that is involved, as the body doesn't necessarily follow where the brain leads.  Case in point, I look at the gymnasts in the Olympics and say I can do that; and then I look in the mirror and realize that it's probably not going to happen soon.  So for those of you planning a trip from West to East (takes a longer adjustment) or East to West (takes less time to adjust for most), here are some tips.  Set your watch to the destination time zone when you get on the plane.  Bring Melatonin with you (natural sleep aid). When it's night, do NOT stare at the computer screen to go back to sleep.  It will actually do the reverse and tell your body it's morning and wake you up.  Drink plenty of fluids.  Exercise through the day and try to avoid late afternoon naps for a few weeks.  Above all, stay busily engaged in seeing and enjoying your trip or your home.  Understand that there is nothing wrong with you, your body is just trying to catch up to your adventurous travel plans.

After adjusting to the 8 hour time change and delivering my
scheduled presentation, I began to enjoy life again and journeyed with friends to Scotland where we stayed in Sterling and visited Edinborough.


Stirling Castle is being beautifully  renovated and the colors used were truly remarkable.  Opulent is the only word that quite covers the interior royal chambers.  One wishes to lie upon the floor and just observe the ceilings.

As I wandered through the castle and stared out across the fields toward the William Wallace monument, the gradual realization of where I was and what I was doing began to dawn... again! I was in Scotland... in a real castle... I was going to school... I was having an adventure... I was seeing a childhood dream fulfilled.  Looking out from the castle parapet at the lush green fields or glancing skyward at the architecture and gargoyles and even playing dress-up with medieval costumes, I paused to be grateful for the experience I was sharing with friends and how my life and understanding of humanity is broadening.  It felt more like I was visiting the home of a friend, walking on their cobbled courtyard, admiring their taste in decor.  There was a definite connection that time and space did not account for.  Perhaps it is the writer in me, the fact that I live within an imaginary world a good part of my day, but just as reading takes us on a journey through time or into the mind and heart of another person, this new adventure removed barriers as I lived "in" history and became a part of it.

January saw the completion of my doctoral in-class classes and the freedom to work intensely on my research and novel, which has passed 22K words.  I'm not sure what adventures February will offer but I do promise to keep you posted.  Until then learn to laugh while you live and don't forget to dance.

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