Life in Colombo is settling again. While I usually like routines, it’s taking some effort to come off of four months of visitors and get back into the swing of daily life. I spent most of this past week going to work at the publishing house, doing errands, cooking, reading, and attempting to start lesson planning for my next semester of teaching – normal activities that bring a certain level of peace to daily life here, but that I haven’t done much of on my own time in months.

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Jesse was here for most of March (!!!), and we had a really wonderful visit together. It was pretty special to be reunited in Sri Lanka, where it all began for us, and to be adventuring here for the third time in two years! We’ve already shared some stories from his visit on our blog (Stories from the Dusty Road) but I wanted to post some more photos from his visit here.

After a few fun days in Colombo, we started adventuring by heading to the Kelani River where we spent an afternoon white water rafting and canyoning. I’ll be honest — paddling through rapids and diving from cliffs into naturally-formed pools of water with my boyfriend made for one of the best afternoons I’ve ever had in Sri Lanka. We spent the night in a tent next to the river, and the next morning, headed to home-away-from-home Nuwara Eliya. We visited Seetha Eliya, a school that we taught at for a bit in the fall of 2011, and it was so good to see some of the kids again (who have ALL gotten taller!) We had promised them we’d come back someday, and we did, if only for a little. It felt good to keep that promise. And in true Elon fashion, we participated in a Periclean-sponsored tree planting ceremony at another local school.

view from our tent next to the Kelani River
view from our tent next to the Kelani River

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planting trees!
planting trees!

A few days later, we took my favorite scenic train ride back to Colombo and came home to almost all of my fellow Fulbrighters at the house! We all had to give midterm review presentations at the Fulbright Commission the next day, so everyone was in town.

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these are my friends.
these are my friends.

Another fun weekend in Colombo (complete with dancing at a jazz bar and going out for some great Italian food) and then it was down south to Matara to hang out with our favorite Asheville couple, Jake and Annelise (Annelise is a Fulbright ETA like me). We spent an evening eating hoppers, playing board games on their refreshingly cold tile floor, and talking plans for Tiny Houses (Google it!) From there, it was Nat & Jesse beach time! We spent the rest of the week along the southwest coast, surfing, picnicking, doing crosswords, and playing in the waves.

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Back in Colombo, Jesse and I celebrated two years together at my favorite restaurant in Colombo (Gallery Café). We spent an afternoon at the university I teach at and I got to show Jesse my work life, taking him on a grand tour and sharing a lunch of rice and curry in the faculty cafeteria (and having some photo shoot fun in the classroom!) On his last day, we visited Amma (our Sri Lankan mother) in Homagama, where we had tea (I don’t know how she does it, but Amma’s milk tea is the best in Lanka) and chatted for a while — somehow, only then did it feel right that Jesse was leaving. Amma has a way of putting everything in perspective. And soon after a last dinner of kottu on Galle Face Green, Jes was on his way.

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That was a big sum up of Jesse’s time here, but I’m sure you get the gist of the great times we had! It was just so nice to be traveling and adventuring together again in a place we have a history in and have come to really love. And after a sad post-Jesse morning, it was back to normal life. But life in Colombo doesn’t stay mundane for long – last Saturday, I went to a French film festival with my friend Sarah and saw a very good but very disturbing film called “Incendies,” after which we decided there was no way we could each return to our empty homes and attempt to sleep, so we went out for a drink at a nearby bar. This bar happens to be attached to an outdoor rooftop swimming pool that is associated with a VERY NICE downstairs gym – Ben, you’d approve! – and I found out that if I join the gym, I get free access to the pool whenever I want, so guess who’s now set up with some very sweet fitness plans for the next three months? This girl!

And two days later, I went to my first Almsgiving, which I’m going to write about soon – it’s a cultural experience and special event that deserves its own post! All said, life in Colombo is settling again sans visitors, but it’s not without its everyday uniqueness. I’m learning to be grateful for all these routine-disrupters – after all, I’m not living in Sri Lanka for nine months to be settled and comfortable!

So on that note, I’m off to catch a overnight train to Trincomalee, a city on the northeast coast of the island. I’m looking forward to a fun weekend of shaking off the post-visitor-departure blues, complete with time with Fulbright friends, a new town to explore, and a trip to what is apparently Sri Lanka’s first water park…? :) Api yamu!

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