Many of us have heard the joke about needing a vacation after returning from vacation. I’ve been living that all week since I returned from France.
I learned from a quick Google search that jet lag recovery can take one day per time zone. For me, jet lag feels like fatigue and “medicine head.” Everything feels like it is in slow motion, and I can only hold one thought at a time. I’ve also been grumpy. France is 6 hours ahead of Tampa time, so hopefully I only have a few more days until I feel semi-human again.
While I’m recovering from jetlag, I can’t help if I’m also experiencing withdrawal symptoms. There are things I really love about Europe that are harder to find in the United States. I love the ease and availability of the mass transit that makes it so easy to go anywhere. I love being able to walk or cycle places without having to fear heavily for my life. I love seeing large numbers of people hanging out in parks, by the river, near local landmarks. There’s such a sense of community, even to a passer-by.
The prospect of leaving France didn’t elicit that “glad to be home” feeling that has come with the end of previous trips. I missed my pup and my cat, and given a bit more time I would have begun to miss my friends. But I really could have stayed longer. Perhaps a lot longer…
Last summer I traveled to the Netherlands for two weeks. It was primarily for work, but it was still a really great trip. After I returned home, I remember driving down Hillsborough Avenue to the grocery store. I started crying, because it seemed so ugly in comparison to the Netherlands. I don’t think too many people in Tampa would argue that Hillsborough Avenue isn’t one of the aesthetic gems of the city, but it hadn’t previously driven me to tears.
And there are many beautiful places in Tampa Bay. I’ve grown to think of the area in general as home, though it’s taken awhile for it to feel that way.
So I’m having conflicting emotions about returning from my trip. Am I just grumpy because I’ve recovering from jetlag? Or am I going through withdrawal from the things I love about Europe? Should I think about trying to find work in Europe after graduation, or should we just continue our on-again, off-again romance from afar?
I guess it’s not such a bad thing to have these things on my mind. My mind has been stretched. I just need to figure out what I’d like to do with that increased elasticity…