Thursday, 6 June 2019

Peace and Harmony across Sri Lanka, One Meditation at a Time

When the mass bombings occurred over a month ago, I was initially in shock, fear and grief. This was exacerbated by the environment around me, people I was connect to (here and abroad), and an overall sense of groundlessness. Have you ever walked near the coastline and seen a warning sign that says "Danger. Unstable Ground"? Well, that's kind of the state I was floating around in for awhile, except I didn't heed the warning sign.

Everyone is different in how they deal with tragedy. Some people bounce back really quickly, others sink into despair, while others fall somewhere in between.


In my case, I fell somewhere in between. Despite this inner sense of groundlessness, I outwardly went about daily life and gave the appearance that I had my shit together. Well, I thought that I did. I didn't actually acknowledge I was floundering until a good friend asked me point blank about my mental wellbeing. She's a fellow expat, married to a local, and someone I've always thought of as authentic, embracing and wise. As I sat there initially trying to figure out how to duck-out from her question, I realised there was no way I could pull the wool over her eyes, nor bury my head in the sand.

Tuesday, 14 May 2019

Elevating Humanity

Hello World. It's Eva here, checking in from Colombo, Sri Lanka after a longer blog hiatus than what I had originally planned. It's been a very challenging time on the island and that's putting it very, very mildly. As you will have heard, Sri Lanka was targeted in the worst possible way on 21 April 2019 with coordinated mass bomb attacks on churches and luxury hotels. I was not near the bombings on that day, however, I was frantic and fearful after learning what happened and scrambling to find out about local family and friends across the island. 

My friends and I lost relatives, colleagues and friends on this day.

There were numerous calls to inform and console relatives and friends residing here and abroad. And I will never forget many of these heart-wrenching calls. One was with a friend living in Australia, who lost his aunty in one of the church bombings and he was completely devastated. He was due to bring his family to see her (and other relatives).

My family has been distraught and concerned. It's possible they are more concerned now than when I first moved to Sri Lanka during the war. They want me to come home to them, but also understand that I can't or won't for now. I remind them of the IRA attacks and the 2005 London bombing. We've experienced these kinds of situations before. It is what it is.

Thursday, 7 February 2019

The Growing Problem of Tone Deaf Social Media Posts on Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka has been voted #1 on Lonely Planet's Top Destinations to Visit in 2019. Fortunately or unfortunately, this has garnered a whole army of Instagram and Facebook travel bloggers promoting identical "instagrammable" places around Sri Lanka. I don't really have an issue with this per se, it's mostly free advertising for the island, although I admit to becoming more than a tad weary of seeing picture after picture of Nine-Arch Bridge, Coconut Tree Hill Mirissa, Sigiriya from Pidurangala Rock, Dalawella Beach, and others on my social media feeds.

In the past couple of weeks I've had some very interesting discussions with local friends, and long-term expats in Sri Lanka, about the problem with some of these social media posts.

Although this term wasn't specifically used in the various discussions, the issue we were discussing relates to certain Instagram posts being tone deaf to the realities of life and culture in Sri Lanka. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines "tone deaf" as "having or showing an obtuse insensitivity or lack of perception particularly in matters of public sentiment, opinion or taste".

Tuesday, 29 January 2019

How do you pay for things in Sri Lanka?



My friend, Hiruni dropped in last week to catch me up on her recent travels to India and make use of my wifi. While we were catching up, she dropped something into our conversation that I thought was quite interesting. Basically, it was to do with the use of debit and credit cards in Sri Lanka. She blurted out that she never uses her debit card for any purchases in Sri Lanka and only uses her credit card if she has no other payment option. Yes, you read that right, she has a local debit and credit card, but she never or won't use them unless she's forced to.

I was like, "What? Hiruni, seriously? Why?" I had all kinds of thoughts going through my head. Was it due to privacy and being tracked on what she spends; or fear of a phishing scam; or not trusting her spending using the cards?

Anyway, Hiruni went on to say, "Nangi, it's like this. When I have used these cards, something always goes wrong and I lose money."

"What do mean? Like something dodgy?, I asked, for further clarification.

Monday, 21 January 2019

An Unexpected Prediction of Colombo's Future...

Last week, I was fortunate to have been invited to a small dinner gathering at the home of friends. I've known this Sri Lankan lady, who I call Aunty M, for most of the time I've lived on the teardrop island. And over the years, I've also grown closer to her extended family who live in and around Colombo. It was Aunty M's younger sister's birthday, and I along with twenty family members were invited for dinner to celebrate her 60th birthday.

Although the invitation was for 6.30pm, it wasn't till 8.30pm that all the invitees had finally arrived. This is not an unusual occurrence, given the nature of 'island time' and the daily traffic congestion that plagues the capital. For my part, I arrived promptly just after 6.30pm and was the first one to arrive. I should really have known better, but my upbringing denies me the capacity to be even fashionably late. However, it didn't stop me from thinking, as I politely waited for everyone else, that I probably could have popped to the gym for a workout and still made it back in time for the last stragglers to arrive. It was also safe to say, it was going to be a few more hours till we could begin the meal.