thoughts: I left my circadian rhythm in ethiopia

in a few hours I’m getting on a plane to minneapolis.  tonight (AKA this morning AKA daytime to my jet lagged body) I finished unpacking the suitcase I took to minneapolis two weeks before I left for ethiopia.  then I unpacked the little pieces of ethiopia stowed away in a much larger duffel bag.  some were chipped or broken.  others smelled like the warm dust, with a hint of diesel.  some had been hand-washed and pressed, but were now wrinkled from the long journey.  yet others I’d almost forgotten, but quickly placed in temporary new homes on cluttered bookshelves.

now some of those pieces are going into yet another bag that will go with me to the frozen tundra.  and there’s something strange about it.  ethiopia felt like a new home.  los angeles became a new home almost a year ago.  and minneapolis is my first home.  and pieces of each will go with me there.  ethiopian gifts in the form of scarves and baskets.  california shirts sustainably made from hemp and organic cotton.  minnesota mittens borrowed long ago from a high school friend.

these mittens were one of the pieces of my minnesota home that I stupidly (and stubbornly) insisted on bringing to my new home in los angeles.  something clearly useless in sunny california, but a tangible piece of home nonetheless.

I bought a bracelet for 15 birr (about a dollar U.S.) on our last day in ethiopia.  it has rarely left my wrist since that day.  it holds no particular significance.  other items I bought represent certain days or moments, or evoke memories of skilled artisans.  this bracelet, though, came from a souvenir shop only frequented by tourists.  and yet it’s comforting.  something to hold onto of time gone by.

like I alluded to earlier, though, time hasn’t really gone by yet.  at least not on my internal clock.  the circadian rhythms of wake and sleep set by the days and nights in ethiopia are not fading easily.  this weekend I had the brilliant idea of taking sam to an afternoon showing of the new harry potter movie only to sleep through the whole thing.  the whole thing.

maybe jet lag is meant to keep us connected ever so briefly to an experience.  until we have our feet more firmly planted in the next place.  at least I can keep telling myself that in between 3am, 4am, and 5am infomercials.

I looked at the minneapolis weather report more than a few times tonight.  judging each article of clothing for its appropriateness in 4 to 34 degree fahrenheit weather.  california sun hasn’t been strong enough to reset my clock.  here’s hoping a good ole minnesota freeze will do the trick.


1 Comment

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One response to “thoughts: I left my circadian rhythm in ethiopia

  1. Cynthia (your mom's friend)

    awesome notes amanda … and what a great job of explaining what we, a world away, cannot see or begin to comprehend. thank you.

    by the way … you definately have your mom’s feet … i’ve seen them a few times for pedicures 🙂

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