The near-constant darkness here in winter is as disorienting as the near-constant, year-round sunshine was in Sharjah. Here in Turku, I often don't have a good sense of what time of day it is; in Sharjah I often couldn't tell if it was September or May.

I say near-constant, but we technically have 5 hours+ of "daylight" right now: sunrise today was at 9:34 and sunset will be at 15:20. The problem is that during these daylight hours, it's often cloudy or gloomy or stormy. On Saturday, the sun came out for a while and it was the first time I'd been out of doors in sunshine in weeks.

Maybe it's because these extreme changes in day length are still new and exciting to me, but so far I haven't been terribly bothered by the darkness. It makes the shortest day of the year something to look forward to because you know you'll be getting back a few minutes of sunshine each day afterward.

Still, there are these actual thoughts I have had recently:

[After waking up in what looks/feels like the middle of the night] What time is it? Oh. it's morning. I need to be up for the day in 10 minutes.

[Playing with Sterling outside] It's got to be about dinner time...oh wait, no, it's 14.45.

[Inside dealing with kids] It's got to be about bedtime...oh wait, no, it's 16.30.

[Riding bike to choir] I shouldn't be out riding my bike so late...oh wait, this is totally normal, it's only 18.30.

[Getting ready for bed] I feel like I have already stayed up half the night, and yet there is still an entire night to go, and then a dark morning.

[Every few days, from my office window] Oh look! The sun!

Speaking of the sun, one thing that has really helped is a sun lamp. It has a timer, so I've set it to brighten gradually at the same time each morning. It's a makeshift cue for my body to wake up in the morning, and it helps me not be so disoriented at first.

Are the nights dark and long where you are? How do you deal, and does it bother you? I still feel like a freak of nature because the lack of sunshine really doesn't bother me (yet).

December 18th, outsourced

Toddler bus serenade