Tuesday, July 7, 2015

The Trouble with Time Zones

Today’s post is a cautionary tale for expats, travelers, and homebodies alike. For the sake of brevity, I did not write the official title above. What it really should say up there is:

When You’re Tired, Everything is Unmanageable:
A cautionary tale by an exhausted imbecile

I’ve been going to bed really, really late because everything starts heating up when I’m winding down. My would-be bedtime is America’s mid-afternoon. I just want to see what everyone’s liking, and favoriting, and eating, and shooting, and I end up staying awake until 1 or 2 AM. Phil is an early riser, and I am a light sleeper. The end result is that I slept for 4.5 hours last night.

It’s at this level of incoherency when simple, normal things about living abroad turn into complicated, impossible things about living abroad. Like, a Greek guy rings the doorbell to ask about some lost keys, and I have no idea what he’s saying and he has no idea what I’m saying and we both end up frustrated. Or, Bella’s still adjusting to the new environment, and barks enough that I’m starting to understand Son of Sam on a personal level. Maybe I try to map out a walk for us, and end up getting lost because the people who planned this neighborhood 4,000 years ago knew I’d be moving in eventually, and decided to change street names in the middle of a road, with dead ends and ringed roads just to screw with me. And I can’t figure out where I am via the Google Maps function on my phone, because I’ve been downgraded to 2G service and am left with a thing that’s only useful for texting, when it can find a compatible wireless signal, and someone who is awake in the middle of the night. I guess I could ask the locals for directions, but den katalavaino ellinika, and not a lot of people speak anglika.

Other possible scenarios:
  • I have to walk 30-40 minutes roundtrip if I want to get groceries for dinner tonight.
  • The security guy is going to come show me how to use the alarm and I have to be alert and polite even though I want to strangle everything.
  • Every time the dog needs to pee, I have to go through three locked doors, down a flight of stairs, and cross the street to the park.
  • I unwillingly smoke 2.5 bajillion secondhand cigarettes a day because half the country is addicted.
  • The stupid faucet gets so hot from the way the hot water system works that I get a second degree burn on my forearm.

But the worst thing, the absolute worst thing, to do when you're tired is try to bake things in a foreign country

So far, these are the only things that have worked out the way I wanted them to:

4th of July Rice Krispie Treats (found here).
Don’t you dare tell me to go to bed earlier and enjoy this adventure.

Just ship me some fatty American food, and let me take a nap. 


  1. I laughed out loud at a lot of this. There was so much about Europe when I was there that made me miss America. Like ice. All I wanted was iced F**king coffee but in order to get it, you had to order coffee, milk and ice separately!!! And even then they looked at you weird. When I did find a "frappe" on a menu in France and ordered it, I was so shocked to find it tasted like a coke and an espresso mixed together! WTF? Anyway, what kind of fatty American food ships well?

  2. Haha! Oh, man. What a nightmare. I haven't tried to ship anything yet, but I imagine the super-processed, high sugar stuff would ship quite nicely; which is good because that's all I want anyway.


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