My time in Sri Lanka comes to an end far too soon. After more than 12 years I have finally had an opportunity to really explore the land of my birth and visit places I have never been to previously. It was wonderful and extra special to share this experience with my mom and include my aunts, friends and family in my travels. My mom actually planned this stage of my journey which was wonderful as I could for once just sit back, relax, not worry about the details and ask…“so where are we going to today?”
Despite my rushed trip I was however able to catch up with a few friends and most of my family in between my travels. I have known many of my high school friends since they were about 6 years old. In Sri Lanka, many schools cater for classes starting from Kindergarten to Grade 12, hence we have a shared history of growing up together.
Many of these girls have fulfilled their childhood dreams and become lawyers, doctors, bankers, teachers, lecturers/heads of departments, media personalities, politicians, dancers, writers and engineers! Many are mothers and have children who are growing up together in the same school we attended!
About half of these girls now live overseas and in a lovely coincidence we have come to Sri Lanka at the same time from places as far away as Sydney, Bogota – Colombia, Bahrain, Nepal, London and Monaco! While not all these girls were free to come over for dinner, I connected at least by phone with all of them which was lovely.
I was also able to share some time with my friends from the youth fellowship I attended as a teenager. We too have a wonderful shared history of growing up together and we reminisce about the fun we had during our teenage years making our contribution in the community and partying at each others houses. We have also shared some of our time overseas together so our shared history is very special. Our community activities ranged from planting trees (those tall trees that line the road) at our local church to visiting our parishioners at Christmas and entertaining them with our carol singing! Today those trees stand tall and proud and always remind me of those happy days of my youth.
My mom is still a regular at this church which she has now attended for about 50 years! She is involved in many activities including being a live wire in the YAH group – that would be the Young at Heart! This is a group of elderly ladies (and a few brave men) who come together every week for a time of companionship and camaraderie. This time my mom was keen I did a presentation to the group about our travels in Sri Lanka. The presentation goes down really well and the ladies are really happy to have been taken on a journey to places in their own country they may never get to visit.
I catch up with Kelvin a visitor to our country from Nigeria who met my mom and started to read my blog before I got to Sri Lanka. As a fellow traveller he was interested in my journey and started corresponding via email before I got to Sri Lanka, so it was fun to see him and share stories of our mutual experiences and hear an expats perspective of my birth place.
My visit to my homeland is also quite productive in terms of my writing! I’ve been invited by the editor of the Island newspaper to contribute a series on my travels on a regular basis. My first articles on Cambodia are published in the Island Newspaper on the day of my departure. It was fun to pick up the Island paper on the plane and see my article on ‘Reflections on Cambodia’, complete with a few photos take up the front page of the Leisure section!
I am also interviewed by one of our most beloved and well known journalists, Anne Abayasekera, who has been writing since her teenage years! It is a real privilege to visit her home and talk to her about my life and adventures and I look forward to reading her take on my life when the article is published next week.
My last days are filled with goodbyes and feasts at my cousins next door who complain they talk to me far more (on Skype) when I am on the road than they do when I am just next door. They have helped me immensely with all my technical problems and made sure I was able to keep blogging while on the road in Sri Lanka! We have BBQs and crab curry feasts and desert & coffee on my last night, and I know I will miss them all when I say goodbye.
My mom comes along to the airport and we say goodbye. She intends to be in Australia to welcome me back to my second home at the end of this journey so it won’t be too long before I see her again. Parting is always tinged with sadness but we have once more made such marvellous memories together so we have much to reflect on. It was inspiring to see how well my mom and my other aunts who are all around the same age tackle the long distances that we travelled. It means I have at least another 30 years of travel left in me :) !!
“The birthplace of success for each person is in his Inner-Consciousness. The Inner-Consciousness will use whatever it is given. If constructive thoughts are planted positive outcomes will be the result. Plant the seeds of failure and failure will follow.” – Sidney Madwed