Belated Happy New Year to my regular readers and new visitors of this blog. I hope 2015 has begun well for you and good opportunities are unfolding. FYI, for those who have been wondering, I am still alive and kicking in Sri Lanka . Over the recent festive season I was away from the island visiting family and friends. What was supposed to be a few weeks holiday turned into more time away as I had family not in good health. It's at times like these, you ponder why you live so far away and whether it's the wisest choice.
Looking back on 2014, it turned out to be quite a busy year for me. Mostly, it was filled with learning new things about myself and meeting the challenges within my community in Sri Lanka. I didn't get to travel as much as I would have liked, but I intend to remedy this in 2015 and get back to my adventuring ways (fingers crossed).
When I left Sri Lanka back in December 2014, there were many events that were unfolding, such as the surprise early elections and Pope Francis' visit, to name a couple. I was not on the island when these events took place. So, when I returned a couple of weeks ago, it was to a new President, post-Pope Francis' visit and an airport that seemed to burst at the seams (as opposed to a relatively quiet airport when I left). Admittedly it felt a little weird, but even with any change, most things do stay relatively the same. The smells, sounds and din of the capital was much as I left it, albeit with less posters of the previous President.
On my travels, I was frequently asked about the state of politics and life in Sri Lanka by family, friends and acquaintances. It was more than I've experienced in the past and it was mostly because of Sri Lanka being in the news in recent times. Most people already had preconceived views based on mainstream media, so it was interesting to listen to what everybody had to tell me about the country in which I call "home". Unfortunately, there seems to be a lot of misinformation out there.
Many people have asked me about my views and opinions on the recent elections and changes that are unfolding here, and whether I think it's a positive change. If you've been reading this blog, which is coming up to it's third year, you will have noticed that I've steered clear of writing about Sri Lankan politics for the most part.
It's not that I don't have views and opinions on the subject, because I certainly do. And I do debate and discuss politics with family, friends and colleagues. Havving said this, when blogging, I consciously try to offer something useful to visitors and expats who come to Sri Lanka for a brief to longer time period. And I'm no expert on the political machinations here in Sri Lanka. Sure I hear and see things, but the mind boggles at some of it! Maybe someday I'll be able to get dual citizenship and have a right to vote. Righht now, there seems to be a plethora of local and foreign websites and blogs presenting and debating Sri Lankan politics to the high heavens, and they likely do it better than I could.
My observations are that governments across the globe frequently come and go, some have noble intentions to serve the community, while others are more dubious or corrupt. Those that stay longer generally end up mucking things up, just by nature of being incumbent for far too long. Unfortunately, it is the citizens and residents of the country that fare less well when governments and their leaders don't perform at their best.
At the end of the day, I am simply a grateful expat who is able to live here with ease. Just the fact I'm allowed to enter, obtain a visa, live and work here, share my travels and experiences is a blessing in itself.
It''s now February and in the few weeks since my return, aside from the mundane things we all have to attend to, I have already made a few trips around the island. I've visited friends as well as taken some visitors to a few places around Nuwara Eliya, Kandy, Mahiyangana and Dambana. The weather has been changeable, but it's lovely to see the reservoirs, tanks and rivers all filled with water. It's certainly a lush part of the year!