the smell of my desperation has become a stench

A little aside about time zones

One of the things I was really scared about before heading to the other side of the world was the prospect of crippling jet lag. Sure, there are three different kinds of mosquitos over there and each carries a different disease, and you know, POSSIBLE DEATH! But in the days leading up to the trip I kept thinking maybe Jon will let me borrow some of his Adderall.

Is that illegal? Probably. And if so then they need to start arresting entire college campuses.

Also, I was prescribed Adderall once by a doctor who I later found out diagnoses every patient with ADD, and HOO-BOY! Want to know what speed does to someone who suffers from chronic anxiety? About five hours into it I had the distinct feeling that stabbing someone would be pleasurable.

That wouldn’t be a good mood for someone visiting a developing country where she doesn’t speak the language.

So, Adderall. Not an option. Off the table. Speaking of which, my last experience with jet lag was when we visited Amsterdam in 2006 and Jon took a picture of me with my head on a table on a boat in a canal. At noon.

ass kicked.

I don’t even remember falling over like this, it just happened. When the ride was over and Jon nudged me awake I felt so disoriented that I started to hallucinate. But not the good kind of hallucinate. Not the kind where happy leprechauns are singing hymns and everything tastes good. The kind where you start to believe that you’re on a world-wide most wanted list, but you forgot what crime you committed.

Speaking of which, sometimes I get sucked into crazy television shows, ones that usually lean heavily toward things gory. I love the ones that explore mystery illnesses or autopsies or tumor removal. One I particularly love is called “Locked Up Abroad,” and it dramatically recreates the stories of people who were lured into traveling to foreign countries to smuggle drugs back to their home countries. And then they get caught. And then they spend months, sometimes years in a foreign prison where anal sex is the foremost means of communication.

Jon hates this show, and I was talking to him about this before the trip trying to remember if I had ever seen an episode where someone tried to smuggle drugs out of Bangladesh. And he was all, WOMAN, if you get to a foreign airport and even think about joking about this show out loud, I WILL NOT COME TO YOUR RESCUE.

Message received, BUDDY. So during our layover in Abu Dhabi I most certainly did not turn to anyone in our group and say, “This marijuana I have taped to my torso is itching like crazy!”

I was really surprised by how well I handled the adjustment when we got to Bangladesh, especially considering they are exactly twelve hours ahead of Utah time. Also, the total travel time was about thirty hours. I think it mostly had to do with the schedule, though, because that first day was packed. We didn’t have time to think about how tired we might be. Which I think is key to battling jet lag.

Because when you get back from a country on the other side of the world and your second layover in New York is extended by an extra three hours because of delays, an extra three hours with nothing to do but read a book, you might start to feel like an anxious person who is abusing Adderall. I almost described this feeling to the man sitting next to me in the terminal who was telling two Mormon missionaries returning from Russia that Obama and his socialist agenda have destroyed the country while they were gone.

Crazy tired lady returning from Bangladesh gonna git herself all stabby!


P.S. I’ve looked over all your suggestions for charities and I’m getting some good advice about some of them from people who know more about this than I do. I should have a decision made by tomorrow. Thanks to you all!

  • Jacksdad

    2011/07/05 at 1:30 pm

    Glad you’re back safely! Love your blog and the work you’re doing. Am I the first to comment? Wow!

  • Daddy Scratches

    2011/07/05 at 1:38 pm

    Also not benefiting from Adderall consumption? Those afflicted with bipolar disorder. I wish I did not know about this firsthand via having to talk a close relative back across country in the midst of a manic episode during which he thought Israeli secret-service agents disguised variously as Wal-Mart employees, airline stewardesses and, ultimately, emergency-room personnel were all following him. True story.

    I’m glad I was prescribed Wellbutrin for my ADD.

    Meanwhile: Wow, things sure got busy ’round the Blurbdoocery while I was off dealing with life. Bravo.

  • Daddy Scratches

    2011/07/05 at 1:37 pm

    Deleting accidental duplicate comment.
    Special thanks to my shitty library Internet connection.

  • ispellkonfusion

    2011/07/05 at 1:38 pm

    Okay so that picture is making me laugh hysterically. Same freaking thing happened when I went on a canal boat cruise in Amsterdam!

    Luckily I snapped this photo of my friends before I joined them for a cat nap on the canal:

  • Greygirl

    2011/07/05 at 1:48 pm

    Far be it from me to say “I told you so” except to my husband. And mother. And co-workers. And friends.
    But….that was pretty much my comment to you in advance: when you go there you run on adreneline and you don’t crash until you get home. I am mighty impressed that you’re able to type a coherent – let alone hysterically funny – sentence.
    Great job all around!

  • meowsk

    2011/07/05 at 1:53 pm

    Same thing happened to me when i tried Adderall a few years back. Needless to say I think it is safe to say I am not ADD.

  • jewels421

    2011/07/05 at 2:21 pm

    So, I’m assuming that you’ve seen that movie with Claire Danes — Brokedown Palace? It has basically the exact plot you’re describing for this Locked Up Abroad show (tourists, drug smuggling, foreign prison… well, no anal sex I suppose, since they’re in a women’s prison, but still). Would be a good movie to watch on your next plane trip abroad… 🙂

  • HungryGrad

    2011/07/05 at 2:34 pm

    Oh man. I was sweaty, wired, itchy, fidgety, and exhausted all at once in Lyon last week. And I had the most intense craving for fresh peaches. Luckily the random fruit stand across from our hotel was selling some of the most mindblowingly delicious peaches in the world!

    Yeah, I second the busy thing. Especially if it takes you outside. And the next time you’re in the Netherlands, you need to eat some stroopwafels. They make everything ok no matter what.

    (Stroopwafels are kind of like Dutch oreos. They’re 2 thin wafer/waffle things sandwiching a cinnamon-y caramel syrup. It’s like a crunchy chewy orgasm of awesome.)

  • wisprnsoul

    2011/07/05 at 2:43 pm

    At least you didn’t get SHINGLES!

  • Lady30

    2011/07/05 at 3:02 pm

    Yes, in fact, there IS a Locked Up Abroad in Bangladesh. It was a pretty good one too. A female drug smuggler (those are my favorites).

    Thanks for not ending up like that woman.

  • Feeling Very Creative Right Now

    2011/07/05 at 3:09 pm

    Heather, you should look into donating to Heifer International. Headquartered in Little Rock, Arkansas, Heifer International is an organization which sends farm animals who produce milk/eggs/fur/etc. and other means of sustaining life and keeping people fed to villages in developing nations. Heifer International also teaches the members of that community how to cultivate the gift. The organization really follows the old adage, “teach a man to fish and he’ll eat for a lifetime.”

    More information here:

    They’re a truly great organization!

    (No, I don’t work for them (or know anyone who does), even though I live in Little Rock, Arkansas.)

  • angedi

    2011/07/05 at 3:59 pm

    I love “Locked Up Abroad”. It totally feeds into my anxiety and paranoia. HAHAHA!

  • Diary of Secrets

    2011/07/05 at 4:06 pm

    Jet lag could be a bear! A few years ago I had a 6 hour layover from China. I was so disoriented I barely made my flight. I was wandering around the airport like a zombie.

    Glad you made it back OK

  • crackers

    2011/07/05 at 4:56 pm

    The post definitely has jet laggedness emanating from it. My trip home for R&R had me so confused, I think the first few words to my family were “huh?” and “I forgot his name.”

    Oh, and I totally love Locked Up Abroad! What about “I didn’t Know I Was Pregnant!”?

  • Marinka

    2011/07/05 at 5:19 pm

    What kind of life have I lived that I’ve never even heard of Locked Up Abroad? (Or is it Locked Up a Broad?)

  • Doughball

    2011/07/05 at 5:21 pm

    Glad you are back. Looking forward to reading more about your trip.

  • kate007

    2011/07/05 at 6:33 pm

    Hi Heather! I think you are doing amazing things, here on the internet world and beyond! I enjoy following the paths you take and all the information and entertainment it brings. Your decision to travel to Bangladesh is admirable. I wanted to let you know about this non profit. There is an amazing woman, my friend, Leslie Clark, in Ojai California who runs a non profit for the Nomads like the Taureg in Niger, the Sahara Desert,

    She has built a medical station on the main route that Nomads take in the Sahara. She is currently raising funds to bring in Midwives to this station to help pregnant women (young girls as young as 13)by helping them as well as educating them on ways to prevent childbirth death as well as disease.
    Please let me know if you’d like more information!
    Thanks so much!

  • Balkan Girl Down Under

    2011/07/05 at 6:52 pm

    “…gonna git herself all stabby!”

    DUDE. I’m so gonna incorporate that into my personal lexicon.

    (Glad it all worked out, yay!)

  • LaurieML

    2011/07/05 at 7:16 pm

    So you’ve probably already decided which charity you’re going to donate to and it is really awesome that you even get to do this, but I just want to make one more plug for the smaller charities in particular.

    All of the charities that everyone suggested do great work, no doubt about it and change lives all around the world. But the ones with the bigger names that you’ve probably heard about before often have larger marketing budgets and can devote more of their resources to marketing and fundraising than smaller organizations can. For smaller organizations, spending that money on marketing and fundraising is difficult because they have a lot to lose if their efforts don’t go as planned.

    Just something to consider. Though I’m sure whatever organization receives the money will benefit greatly from it! And charity is awesome.

  • kmortensen

    2011/07/05 at 7:19 pm

    I’m hoping someone already mentioned Partners in Health. They are perfect for your purposes. I just donated to Lesotho, where they are working to reduce deaths during childbirth. They spend over 90% of income on program, and have little overhead or fundraisers other than email. Read MOUNTAINS BEYOND MOUNTAINS (the amazing story of Dr. Paul Farmer and the charity he established). His specialty was drug-resistant TB and HIV. Health work for the poor is the focus of this group.

    Check them out–they are worthy

  • jenwilson

    2011/07/05 at 8:25 pm

    Haaa!!! Thank you for making me laugh today.

  • rockandrollmama

    2011/07/05 at 10:21 pm

    My arms hurt like &^^&& today because I just got umptity ump million yellow fever and typhoid and god knows what else shots this afternoon- once they started saying “parasites”, I pretty much turned off my brain and held out my arms and just paid the $600 plus dollars for the shots and the DELUXE anti-diarrhea kit- I mean, why skimp at that point? I leave on the 23 for Kenya and am definitely skitterish about being COMPLETELY OUT OF MY ELEMENT, but also really thrilled at the same concept.

    Thank you for sharing a preview of kinda sorta what to expect even though I know it’s all different and we have different filters yadda yadda- it still helps a great deal. Hope all is well in your neck of the woods- Cheers.

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    2011/07/06 at 8:03 am

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  • niais

    2011/07/06 at 11:01 am

    You’re probably well past needing this sort of advice, but I thought you should know… You’re not alone and making choices about how to focus your powers/money for good is.. non trivial! And, I feel a little cheap doing this but :

    This is a consultancy firm that weirdly does exactly that. It helps you figure out how to throw around your awesomesauce good will. My brother in law and a friend just started this company (after several years of success running the One Percent Foundation (, a nonprofit they started as a giving circle to help all us distracted young people focus our giving power)… And I thought to myself, who needs a consultant to figure out how to do good in the world? Who has those kinds of resources but needs help focusing them?

    Oh. Actually, you do 😉 Anyway, they’re solid folks (besides the whole married into the family thing.) and might even be able to help you out with this current balance you’re trying to find between making a living, being happy, and saving the world. Happy Wednesday!

  • newgyptian

    2011/07/06 at 11:10 am

    A comment completely (well mostly) unrelated to your post: last week I was approached by a handsome young Mormon missionary in the town centre of the small English town where I live. He asked me if I knew anything about Mormonism, and I *just barely* caught myself before saying, “Well, I read a website called Dooce.”

  • jenmax

    2011/07/06 at 1:12 pm

    I absolutely, positively share your love of “Locked Up Abroad.” If you are ever in an airport and officials want to lead you to a small, windowless room, you do not walk, you run … run far away from there! Because nothing good is coming your way.

  • amberdawn

    2011/07/06 at 3:46 pm

    The only way I’ve gotten over jet lag is to schedule the trip so that I arrive at bedtime. As soon as I get to the hotel, I climb into that damn bed and pass the fuck out.

    I do this because the first time I got jet lag my husband and I slept through an entire day of our vacation. We got up for dinner and then went back to bed and slept some more. So sad.

  • IsabelofBedlam

    2011/07/07 at 11:20 am

    Dude, Heather, just wanted to say: you’re so fucking awesome. Thank you for using your readership and clout for drawing attention to human/women’s rights and for making me laugh at the same time. Your sense of humor is so outrageously wonderful.

    Keep it up–you have a strong comrade in me.

Heather B. Armstrong

Hi. I’m Heather B. Armstrong, and this used to be called mommy blogging. But then they started calling it Influencer Marketing: hashtag ad, hashtag sponsored, hashtag you know you want me to slap your product on my kid and exploit her for millions and millions of dollars. That’s how this shit works. Now? Well… sit back, buckle up, and enjoy the ride.

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