Now that Shaun and the Macbook are both here, I thought I’d compile a quick little review of the past month . Here are the highlights complimented by a slideshow. All that is missing is a Haiku, but I’m afraid my creativity is tapped out. If we’re lucky Shaun will post some form of poetry or better yet a rap of his experiences after he is over his jetlag.
* I arrived after 24 hours of flying from Ghana only to find out that Shaun’s work visa had been delayed. Fortunately, I was placed with an amazing host family (an energetic couple in their late 70s). Auntie Nagani got me started learning Sri Lankan cooking. Uncle Austin taught me all about cricket and engaged me in interesting political conversations over a glasses of whiskey that he would sneak from his secret stash when his wife went to bed.
* I began my exploration into vipassana meditation with a weekend workshop held at a conference centre held in Colombo (there is a pic of the meditation hut in the slideshow). These weekend workshops are held once a month and have been a good way for me to meet a community of Sri Lankans with similar interests. The workshops follow the teachings of Ajahn Brahm a westerner who became a Buddhist monk 16 years ago in Thailand. His teachings are very popular here in Sri Lanka because he has taken the very complicated Pali text and simplified it for laypeople. According to Ajahn Brahm, even feces can be beautiful when you are in an enlightened state. Here is a link to one of his ““>Dhamma talks posted on youtube fore those who are interested.
*After 10 days in the guest house (with my host family), I moved into a temporary apartment. This allowed me to really hone my cooking skills. After a couple failed attempts, I fully redeemed myself by putting on a delicious spread for three of my friends. There are pictures of the food in the slideshow. I still can’t believe it went so well. I guess I’m not as hopeless as I thought in the domestic realm.
* Just before Shaun arrived, I went on a three day retreat to the Nilambe Meditation Centre in Sri Lanka’s beautiful hill country. It was set on top of a hill surrounded by lush forest and tea plantations. The temperature was pleasantly cool and it was fascinating to watch the local wildlife especially the monkeys.
* The following was the breakdown of a typical day for me in March.
7am – meditation and yoga
8am- laundry and breakfast
9am- gym (always includes at least an hour of lounging pool side, sometimes with my Sinhala study books)
1pm – lunch
Rest of the afternoon- reserved for some sort of errand running such as groceries and using the internet
Evening – laundry continued (ironing), Sinhala class, Hash (the running group not the drug), out with friends or in curled up with a good book
When I relayed this to Shaun, he couldn’t help by notice the similarities between my life and that of the people on Jersey Shore. I guess I do have a modified version of GTL (gym, tan, laundry) which is all the guys on this ridiculous reality show do all day. I go to the gym everyday, tan while at the Waters’ Edge pool and I’m always doing laundry. However, I don’t think the boys’ from Jersey Shore are doing much meditation. Maybe I could start my own reality series called Colombo Shore, but I’d probably have to spice up my current life for the sake of ratings. If it means a job and the ability to stay in the country, I think I could act as stupid as Snooki. I wonder if the Sri Lankan government would grant me a work visa for this.
* Shaun arrived and we had our first day of training at the VSO office on Friday. We are moved into a different guest house for the time being while VSO continues our house hunt. We hope to have a place to call home soon. Living out of backpacks and suitcases gets old pretty quickly.
* Shaun and I spent the weekend in beautiful Unawatuna beach. We celebrated our 7th wedding anniversary a little late (Feb. 7th) and also the completion of our masters degree in educational psychology. I call it “our” masters degree because the past two months Shaun has been doing a ton of running around for me to get all the official paperwork done.
*Our weekend ended with supper at a Coffee Shop back in Colombo. It was one of the few places open on Sunday night. Ironically, everything western here is extremely posh. So this coffee shop serves creative burgers such as “spicy lamb” and “crab cake”, roti wraps (that’s what the sign about rolling up a fat one refers to and I thought my Rasta friends would really get a kick out of that pic.), pizzas and of course, coffees and baking. Along with all of this, the restaurant also has an attached jewellery shop and spa. We paid Canadian prices for the food, which doesn’t seem like a big deal until you realize that this is the equivalent of two days pay for Shaun right now. We are going to have to get much better at budgeting!
Tomorrow we start a full week of training so my life of leisure is going to have to be put on hold – hopefully I’ll still have time for some GTL.