With the way that transportation works today, changes in location happen suddenly. It took me a grand total of eleven hours to get from Greece back t0 the states, and I didn't even feel the whiplash.
But When I lied down that night to sleep in my own bed, my internal clock hovered uncomfortably somewhere over the Atlantic ocean, abandoned and alone. With not even the faintest idea of where it was. That's why I woke up while it was still dark outside for three nights in a row, and then gave a sigh of relief when I finally slept until seven in the morning. Because it meant that my internal clock had finally found its way back home.
If only briefly, I envied the people who traveled across the Atlantic before there were airplanes. Those who woke up with the sun each morning, never having to ask themselves if the time they knew it was in the back of their minds was incorrect. Since the journey was long, they had time to adjust. Because now, whenever we reach a new destination, we tend to feel like we're still at the last one.
After I arrived home from college in May, my dreams each night still seemed to take place at school. I had packed up and removed all of my belongings from my dorm room, and completed finals in all of my classes. And then, after a short hour and a half drive, I was home. But each night, I was transported back to the same room I had lived in, the same routines, and the same anxieties. Gradually, people I knew from Baltimore, my home town, started to make appearances at college in my dreams. And that's how I knew I was adjusting. . . if only slowly.
My parents' house has, only recently, begun to feel once again like my home. And in a few days, I'll be leaving again to head back to school. I know that the short drive won't give me nearly enough time to get used to the idea that I'm gone from here, and I'm going to live somewhere else now.
But maybe I'm already adjusting. As I walk through the house, gathering up my belongings and placing them in a big pile mentally labeled "to be packed," I think back on what I've done this summer, what my surroundings will look like when I get to school, and the like. I wonder whether this year will be harder or easier than last year, and why, and whether I'll dream about home once I'm there.
So traveling as quickly as modern transportation allows doesn't quite allow for adjustment time. Maybe we've learned to move too fast for our own good. Or maybe, changes have always happened too fast, whether a change means getting on a plane and ending up somewhere else, or stepping off a ship that you've lived on for weeks to finally walk on the ground. Change is jarring . . . for anyone.
But we adjust anyway, and often, we adjust well. So all we can do, while in transition, is remember that half the adventure is in being a little confused and off base, as we race toward our destinations.