Well, here it is, finally, the long awaited (?!) update to my somewhat inconsistent blog! Although the title is not the greatest juxtaposition of words, it has certainly been a roller coaster of a year so is an apt description. Time flies and I'm conscious I've not written anything much since February or posted any photo details since April. Since then rather a lot has happened. In brief:-
- Dad turned 70
- Al turned 40
- Bron and I split up
- Mum and Tony split up
- my stress levels did a melt down and I lost 1 stone
- I spent 3 weeks in freezing UK
- I spent 2 weeks in funky Japan (photos) (blog post)
- I'm off to Oz for Christmas :)
- I'm still in Sri Lanka!
Sadly none of us were there to cheer in Dad's 70th as, aside from us all living 1000s of mile apart, he was off on a 3 week cruise seeing Argentina, Chilli, and climbing up Machu Picchu in Peru. Honestly, he lives his seemingly quiet Canada life in style with all his trips abroad. I'd say a great way to see in 70...
Al at 40
What can I say? None of us has changed; we all look a little older but act just as foolishly. A lot of the old crowd from both Al and Helen's friends came to celebrate at a wonderful Crazy Bear evening. Much wine, beer, Thai food, wine, beer, and catching up were done. The photos tell all....
Bron and I
Sadly we split up while I was in the UK. There's not much I will say except obviously it was sad, upsetting and difficult, but there was no animosity.
Mum and Tony
Not for me to say except that they split up this year.
Stress levels high!
Well both of the above obviously contributed, plus working all hours as usual - though self inflicted of course, I can't imagine working any other way.... which is part of the problem!!
3 weeks in the UK
My UK trip this time around was really to be with family and to sort a few of my things out, so apologies to those of you I missed catching up with. A HUGE thank you to everyone for looking after me so well - dinners, lunches, beds for the night, comfort and care. It was much needed and very much appreciated. You know who you are! Though it was lovely to come home, drink copious amounts of much missed wine, and enjoy many a tasty pub meal I was not remotely impressed with the weather. It was bloody freezing and I spent most of the time trying to find bits of winter clothing in order to survive.
2 weeks in Japan
Japan was quirky, cool and fun and despite expecting an alien world, as I had always thought Japanese culture may be a little mad, I actually felt very much at home and enjoyed / understood the oddities. Amidst the seriousness there is also a tremendous sense of fun. There were a few side splitting moments - not least the musical toilet; my friend's curiosity resulting in an unexpected bidet face wash; the Japanese dog hairdressing salon; and the fun loving staff at the coolest restaurant in Tokyo. However, let me stop as Japan deserves its own blog section so please read the next blog update for the Japan experience...
Yes, again I return to Australia for 3 weeks at Christmas time in Adelaide. Suffice to say I can't wait! Family, friends, wine, beach and KI. Counting down the days....
Back in SL
Pointing out the blindingly obvious with this... but, yes, I'm back, and with some renewed enthusiasm after my break in Japan. Funding for me at work runs out in January (though I have said if more money comes in I'll stay until April) so I'm not sure what the future holds next year.
2009 is up for grabs and I have to come up with some ideas. exciting? scary? new chapter? who knows... currently going with the flow until something makes me decide what to do. But until then it's back to balcony beers and weekend jaunts to the beach in Hikkaduwa. Anyone wanting to visit should get their skates on before it's too late and I move somewhere even more inaccessible!!
two SL anecdotes....
The Post Office Experience
I went to collect a friend's parcel with the post office slip put through the door. I arrived and was sent upstairs to the 'foreign parcels' section. A room which stepped back in time where all data was entered into huge dickens style ledgers and 5 people were sitting around doing nothing while the only woman in the office was doing all the work. The men just sat and looked at my passport photo.
They wouldn't give me the parcel without my friend's ID, but he was long gone and in the UK. So we came to a deal and I sat in their office and wrote a letter from him giving me permission to pick up the parcel on his behalf.
An hour later... and I am sent downstairs to the collection point where I sit and twiddle my increasingly impatient thumbs while the staff sit and chat and do nothing. After another hour I get really impatient and ask what the delay is. One of them decides to shuffle to another room and finds the parcel. It then takes half an hour for them to open it. I discover I have been waiting for spices sent from India and useless bits and bobs that would have costs about 100 rupees here. Then, after another 20 minutes, I am sent to the finance guy who decides that I'm a rich foreigner so he tries to charge me Rs 3,500 for the privilege of collecting the parcel. By this time I am at boiling point and I shout the whole place down with extremities and storm out. Never to return again.
The Motorcycle Admirer
Many Sri Lankan men really have no clue about chatting people up and seem to think approaching you as a complete stranger is perfectly acceptable. I walk out of the office with some papers in an Odel bag. Odel is the department store here which I hadn't been to for at least a month. A boy pulls up on his motorbike and tells me he just saw me in Odels where he was with his parents. Although in the West admitting you are with your parents is a total loser thing to do, here it is respectful. Anyhow, I told him I've not been near the place for ages, though he still insists he just saw me there due to me having the bag, wants to take me for a drink and finds it odd that I won't give him all my contact details. Aside from the worst approach to a woman possible he was about 20 and clearly had no clue - somewhat sad! Though perhaps not as bad as the tuktuk driver who told me he was very much into foreign women and the fact I was married made me even more attractive to him. He was toothless and ugly and extremely untrustworthy, what on earth made him think I would be happily taking a journey down any road with him other than to get home and fast as possible?!