For some reason this week has been more Twilight Zone than usual.

Every night this week I’ve sat at home with my head in my hands thinking that this experience I’m going through in fact may all be a dream. This shit can’t be real.

It hasn’t been bad. It hasn’t been good. It’s just been weird.

Here are a few of the interactions I’ve had this week…

Girl on bus

Girl sitting beside me on bus: “Excuse me sir, may I ask you a question?”

Me: ‘Sure’

Girl: “Why do foreigners come to live in Sri Lanka?”

Me: “Umm…well, some come to volunteer like me, others come to work at embassies or international agencies.”

Girl: “Yes, but why? We all want to leave this place, but you want to come here. I don’t understand.”

Me (wiping sweat off my arm so it doesn’t drip on the poor girl) : “Well, it’s hard to explain I guess, but I think we come here to experience something completely different than where we come from.”

Girl: “I still don’t understand.”

Me (jumping off the bus while it’s still moving): “I know. I’m sorry, neither do I. Nice talking to you…”

German at hospital

German (walking up to me at the entrance of the hospital): “Hello. I am a patient here.”

Shaun: “You are? Since when?”

German: “I was at airport going to fly home and I only had 50 Euros to pay for coffee and man only gave me 500 rupees back in change. I get angry and don’t remember what happened next. I wake up here. My wife is going to get me another plane ticket soon though.”

Shaun: “Oh, that’s good. Your wife knows where you are. How are you feeling now?”

German: “Oh good. But I have secret to ask you. Can you get me some cigarettes?”

Hospital Director

Director (over the phone): “Hello Shaun.”

Shaun: “Yes, hello Director.”

Director: Hello?

Shaun: “Yes, it’s me Shaun. You called me remember?”

Director: “Right. I had something to tell you, but I can’t remember.”

Shaun: “Oh, okay.”

Director: “Oh wait, one of my patients is from Canada. He’s your brother (chuckling).”

Shaun: “Ummm, is his name xxxxx?

Director: “Yes. You do know him!” <click>

Shaun: “Well I just met him in the hospital this morning and he’s actually from Germany, not Canada. They’re actually two very different countries that are very far apart. Director…hello?”

Resident at hospital

Resident walking into my office at the hospital for the seventh time of the day: “Mahatteya!” (sir in Sinhala)

Me: “Hello. Kohomade?” (How are you in Sinhala)

Resident: “Mahatteya.”

Me: “Yes, hello.”

Resident: “Mahatteya. Rajagiriya innawa” (Sir, you live in Rajagiriya?”

Me: “Oh, Rajagiriya innawa.”

Resident: Smiles, laughs and stands beside me for as long as I let him.

<Repeat seven times per day>

Mumbling Man at bus stand

Mumbler: “Bus, bus, bus…Sri Lanka, waiting, looking, looking.”

Me: “Yes, I’m waiting for the bus.”

Mumbler: “Bus, bus…<chuckling and gently punching me in the arm> watching, Sri Lanka, waiting, waiting.”

Me: “Yep, bus.”

Mumbler: “Sri Lanka…bus, bus. Waiting, watching.”

Me: “Okay. There’s my bus. Nice talking to you.”

Mumbler: “Bus, bus, bus…watching. Bye.”

Doctor on bus

Doctor: “There was a US embassy vehicle outside my house last night. Most probably they are tracking my movements.”

Me: “Oh, I see. Are you nervous?”

Doctor: “No, no. This is the way here, no?”

You tell me because I have no frickin clue. Later.

Shaun

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