15 October 2013

The Rest of the World on Delay

One of the more interesting observations while living in the Netherlands has been the "delay" we watch our friends and family experience - even if they don't know they are experiencing it. Others that have lived abroad will no doubt agree, that at especially when you are settling in - and continuing a bit the longer you stay away from home - those that you have normally connected with seem to be really far behind you.

We are generally 06:00+ or 07:00+ from the majority of the people we know and stalk follow on Facebook. I won't go into all the science and math involved here that makes this huge difference possible, and every adult is already aware that time zones exist. But it doesn't change how odd it feels to witness everyone starting their day when you are already halfway through yours.

Image courtesy of domdeen - FreeDigitalPhotos.net


A typical day has us checking e-mail, Facebook, etc. by 8:00am. A bunch of posts went up well after we went to bed and a few more trickle in until about 8:00am from the night owls (you know who you are...).  Then there is a brief communication drought until roughly 1:00pm. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

Now that we've been here for a little while and made more connections with people in the area, the communication drought is less noticeable than it was a year ago. But watching this delay is another reminder of how far away you are and how things at home move on without you, even when you've established new relationships in your new home. If you think about it too much, it can be a source of homesickness, but the thing to remember is this: It's not bad, it's just different. Things change no matter where you are - it's not a bad thing, it's just how life works. And these days, we can be thankful that in some small way we can be part of and witness these changes through e-mail, Facebook, Skype, and all the other communications made possible with today's technology, even if they seem to happen 6-7 hours later than we think they should.

It may be odd to see everyone else on this delay, but I wouldn't change our choice to start this adventure for anything. If nothing else, the delay gives me a load of fresh reading every morning.

Do you live on a different "time" than most people you know? What are your thoughts about living ahead/behind everyone else?

10 comments:

  1. The only time it bothers me is when I want to talk to my mom and have to wait all day for her to be home and ready to talk!

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  2. In Germany I am only 1 hour ahead and the most I've ever been in 2 hours ahead when I was in Greece. 2 hours was a little weird because it meant when I was free in the evening, people were still working or in the morning nobody was awake yet.


    I've experience much bigger time zone differences whilst holidaying, but it doesn't factor in so much then!

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  3. Funny, I was just thinking about this the other day. I've realized that I tend to prefer it. In the mornings, I usually wake up to a whole bunch of messages, emails, etc. on my iPhone's lock screen from everyone in the EST timezone. It's nice knowing it's 3am for them and there's no need to reply right away. I wake up, do my thing, and reply on my own time. As long I do it by noon or 1pm (my time), I'm good. Enjoying the peace of the morning to myself is pretty nice. And, because I've always been a night person (usual bed time 1-2am), there's definitely still people up and online back in the US to catchup with.

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  4. That's true! We usually just talk on weekends, but a few times I've tried calling early in the morning for them.

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  5. In the States we were an hour behind our parents, but that never really mattered. I can see what you mean about the 2 hours difference, that's just enough time to be on a completely different schedule.

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  6. It is nice to be able to take your time with replies - though sometimes I get frustrated if I have to call a company and had to wait until afternoon to get it done. Otherwise that peace in the morning is good =)

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  7. My friends and family are +5 hours ahead of me now - and I find myself constantly playing catch-up on Facebook! They have all been really good at remembering to check the time before the text me just in case it is in the middle of the night/early morning! I try too, but have been less successful! :-)

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  8. Ohhh yes! I stay up to 1-2am most days chatting to my family & friends, and then tell myself never again when the baby wakes up at 5am. Then I rinse and repeat.

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  9. Too funny! You'll figure out the time change. =) But even when you do, there are days you still forget and call at a ridiculous time anyway. ;)

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  10. I've had those "never again" moments. It does become harder to make good decisions with the time when there is a little one to get you up at the crack of "oh sweet mercy, it's still dark out."

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