I have known Mihiri most of my life. She joined my school in Grade 3, when we were both about 8 years old. Her family relocated back to Sri Lanka from England and she was given quite a rude shock settling in to a culture quite alien to her at the time. She didn’t know a word of Sinhalese when she joined our class and had to learn the language of instruction in double quick time. Back then, we lived about 15 minutes apart from each other and share a love of travel, baileys and a history of growing up in the suburbs of Colombo! As kids we often travelled together for outings with mutual friends and inevitable managed to miss our bus stop, catch the bus in the wrong direction (yes..we did that once!) or have some other misadventure due to the fact we both love to chat and our sense of direction (at least back then) was not great!
Despite the distance between us, we have kept up our friendship and never fail to catch up on my visits home. Mihiri was the bridesmaid at my wedding and also visited me in Sydney while pregnant with her second son! So it is not unusual that she has organised this weekend away for 3 generations of my family!
We are joined by Krish (centre) her husband, their 2 kids (the boys) and Krish’s friends Garmini and Ranjan. I have never met Garmini and Ranjan previously but we get on really well and find lots in common to talk about including their own experiences of living overseas and interesting jobs! Ranjan has worked for the UN in Iraq and Garmini has lived in the Bronx and been involved in projects for the Rotary Club after the Tsunami here in Sri Lanka.
We are also joined by my cousin Ramani, her husband Ajith, their 2 kids (the girls) and her mom, who is my mom’s sister (Aunty Audrey)! Sri Lankan’s love a good sing-song and Ajith and Ramani keep the group entertained with their musical talents! Garmini is also a great vocalist so the group bonds over the long evenings by gathering around the guitar and singing old songs from the 50’s and 60’s. I have long since forgotten the words to these songs so I just sit back and listen as more memories of my childhood come flooding back.
We grew up living next door to Aunty Audrey and Ramani and her brothers. We were basically one big family and now that both my sister and I live overseas, Ramani & Ajith keep in close contact with my mom to the point my mom refers to Ramani as her 3rd daughter! It is fun to be on holiday together with people who have been a such big part of my life while growing up in Sri Lanka and it is great we all get along so well despite some of us our meeting each other for the first time.
Just as in most Asian cultures, food is a huge part of our culture and life here often revolves around meal times. It is unusual to find a Sri Lankan who does not enjoy a good meal of rice and curry for lunch. Our holiday is no exception and the great meals laid on by the staff here are devoured over lots of laughs more socialising and a few drinks!
Besides my Aunty Audrey (centre) and my mom (end) we also have my Aunty Ivy. She is my dad’ sister and will come along with us for the entire 2 week duration of our trip. Now that her husband has passed away and her daughter lives overseas, she lives alone and is happy to join us on our holiday.
Playing board games is one way for the generations to interact here and the kids to get to know each other & bond. They become firm friends over games of Uno and Taboo and the hoots of laughter and shouts of ‘no cheating’, mean the grown ups don’t get much sleep after lunch!
We have a great weekend together and say goodbye. My mom, Aunt Ivy and I will travel further and we will catch up with the rest on our return to Colombo.
Treat your friends as you do your pictures, and place them in their best light.
~ Jennie Jerome Churchill