Art by Madeline Duvall
When the Woolsey Fire was happening, most of the updates from the news sources I was following happened while I was asleep. I checked my phone before I went to sleep and it said that the Woolsey Fire was a far distance from Pepperdine’s Malibu campus. When I woke up the next morning, I had received word that Pepperdine was sheltering in place because the fire had gotten so close.
The time zone I currently reside in is Central European Standard Time, which is nine hours ahead of Pepperdine’s time zone (Pacific Standard Time), seven hours ahead of my hometown Rogers, Arkansas (Central Standard Time), and six hours ahead of Washington D.C. and New York.
This makes receiving news and scheduling times to talk to family and friends some of the most difficult things about living in a different time zone.
Usually, by the time my friends are waking up, it is already late in the evening for me. This makes using Facetime, calling or even texting them difficult.
One time it was 2 in the morning in Florence, Italy. I was sleeping peacefully in my bed when out of nowhere, my phone started buzzing.
It was my mom calling me to ask me how my day was going. What she did not realize was that not only was my day over, but it was the middle of the night in Florence.
In the beginning, living in a vastly different time zone than my friends, family and country created a large sense of frustration. It drove me crazy when people would call me in the middle of my night or when I would text them only for them not to respond for another six hours due to the time zones.
Eventually, I learned to embrace this change.
I realized due to the time zone, I have been on my phone less. I have also been more present in my time here in Italy.
I am now more intentional with my phone calls. When I do get ahold of my friends and family back in the United States, our phone calls are longer than normal and our exchanges do not consist of small talk, but consist of deep and meaningful conversations
This was not an easy change to manage, but once I learned to manage time zones, it changed the way I looked at my conversations and time spent with people I care about.
Looking back on my year before I went abroad, I wish I would have lived in the moments more and appreciated my time greater with my friends and family. It was much easier to talk to them then.
I am looking forward to next year when I can more easily talk to my friends and family when I am not living a large time zone away.
For now, I am cherishing every moment I get to talk with my friends and family.
Follow Hadley Biggs Twitter: @hadleyyyyyyy