It’s been a while! I’m on the road traveling but wanted to post a quick update about what’s been going on here in Sri Lanka for me over the past month or so.
My very good friend Julie came from NYC to visit for two weeks in February! We had a fantastic time—from biking around ancient cities to cooking traditional Sri Lankan food in a rural village (the name of which, in English, translates to “milk rice paddy field”) to hiking to World’s End in a beautiful national park to having beers on the beach, our travels together were as diverse as the island itself. The nature of Julie’s and my friendship – since becoming friends seven years ago – is ridiculously global. We have visited each other in almost all of the places we have lived/studied abroad over the years, from Michigan to Greece to Washington, D.C. to North Carolina to Italy to Pennsylvania to New York (not to mention traveling together throughout Europe when we lived in Germany).. and now Sri Lanka’s added to the list! It was so, so great having one of my best girls here for a bit. (Here are just a few of many fun pictures from her visit!)
For a piece of random life news, I went to the dentist a couple of weeks ago. It was time for a cleaning and I had heard good things about dentists in Colombo. Sure enough, my teeth were thoroughly cleaned… in only thirty minutes and for a grand total of 1,000 rupees ($8). The dentist remarked to me that “you and your other American friends who come to me have better teeth than the models we practice on in dental school.” To which I laughed and replied, “There are some things we definitely do right in America — dental care is one of them!” Hooah.
I recently found out that my second semester of teaching – which I was told over and over again by my colleagues and head of department would be starting at the end of March – is not beginning until May 6th. I was disappointed when I heard this, as I really love my teaching job, but as we say in Sri Lanka, “What to do?” So, I found something to keep me busy – I recently started working/interning at the Perera Hussein Publishing House, located just around the corner from my house in Colombo! Right now, I’m helping the owners select and edit stories for a children’s book. The other day, I spent three hours surrounded by books, sitting in a wicker chair, drinking fruit juice, and marking up stories about elephants (and the human-elephant conflict in Sri Lanka), the ocean (and what we can all do to help preserve the environment) and a fun array of other things. I’ve been asked to work directly with authors when I’m helping to edit their manuscripts, and the owners are graciously opening up their office and minds for me to help me learn as much about the publishing business as I can. Needless to say, I’m pretty happy about this opportunity!
Speaking of open minds, I’ve signed up for another vipassana silent meditation course! I’ll spend the last week or so of April in Kandy at a vipassana center set high in the hills of tea country. With my string of visitors the past couple of months, I haven’t kept up my meditation practice as well as I could, but I’m looking forward to another challenging but blissful ten-day course.
The big news of the moment is that JESSE IS HERE! He arrived on the 7th and slept until the 10th. Just kidding – the man-who-can-sleep-forever surprised me by getting over jet lag rather quickly! I’ll (of course) be blogging about our adventures here after he leaves, but we’ve been having a great time catching up, traveling, hanging with fellow Fulbrighters, and just being together again. Sri Lanka is where we “began” two years ago, after all – so it’s pretty special to be reunited here.
We actually just got inspired to write a post on the blog that we shared when we were traveling around Sri Lanka in the fall of 2011 – it’s our traveling blog, after all, and while we’ve traveled around the U.S. since then, we haven’t posted on it in a while and thought it was about time :) Read our latest post at Stories from the Dusty Road.
And now it’s off to an evening swim in the ocean with my guy. This update in a nutshell: life in Sri Lanka is as good as ever.