Well, I’ve been here for a number of weeks (a month?), and not a single one of my questions has been answered. In an ideal world, I’d have things sort of figured out by now, but we don’t live in an ideal world. Right now, I’m kind of just making things up until something works. As far as I can tell, that’s what everyone else is doing too. I think this is what they call “adulting”.
So, despite the uncertainty surrounding everything I do, life keeps moving forward, and I really don’t have much choice but to go with it. I have settled into a routine, more or less, and it’s going okay.
Five days a week, I’ll wake up between 5:45-6:15am (thanks, sleep cycle alarm clock!) and stumble out of bed to turn on the water heater in the bathroom. Then I go back to bed, ideally for 15 minutes, but usually more like 30-45. When I finally do get out of bed, always late, I scramble to shower, do my hair, get dressed, find my work stuff, and eat breakfast before I leave the house at 8am. I almost always run out of time for all of these things, so I’m pretty much resigned to hitting the bakery every morning for a 30 cent bun to eat for breakfast. Right now, I take a tuktuk (taxi) to work every day, but I’m finally feeling ready to brave public transportation, so that’ll happen soon.
Work starts at 8:30am with morning prayer. WDC was founded by Christians, but most of the employees are Buddhist, Hindu, or Muslim, and we celebrate all of that. Every morning we gather in the front entrance and after a short prayer from our boss, we’ll recite the Lord’s Prayer together, then each other faith group will recite a mantra. All of this is done in Sinhala, so I don’t really understand what is being said, but it’s become an important and familiar way to start the day.
After morning prayer is where my routine falls apart, a bit. I’ll go up into my office and sit at my desk, but since I don’t have an official mandate yet, I don’t have a lot to do. I’ve been working on a few things, and have a lot of exciting stuff in the works, but it’s all big and it takes time for those things to really take off.
After 8 hours of looking busy (with a brief break for lunch, which is always always rice and curry, and two tea breaks), the workday ends at 4:30. On Monday and Thursday, I’ll head to downtown Kandy for Zumba class with a coworker/neighbour. That goes until 7, then the trend is that I eat something for dinner and fall asleep early. On Tuesday and Wednesday, I go straight home and, if I’m feeling productive, I’ll clean or do laundry or something. Usually, I just read or watch movies until I go to bed. Sometimes, I’ll hang out downtown with another volunteer. She’s bold and is helping me get used to life in Sri Lanka. All the time, I’m texting my family and closest friends.
On Fridays, if I’m lucky, I’ll hop on a train or bus and visit another city for the weekend. Trains are comfortable and inexpensive, and I can get almost anywhere in the country in a number of hours. This past weekend, I went to Galle with three good friends, where we rented an amazing home on airbnb and swam in our private pool the whole weekend. Galle is beautiful, but it makes me sad that such a beautiful place has such an ugly history of Dutch colonization. Next weekend, I’ll probably go to a nearby national park to see wild elephants (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)
I don’t have a lot going on, basically. I’m still finding my footing, so I don’t know the city as well as I’d like yet and I don’t have a lot of people to spend time with. I’m getting there, though. I’m getting better at doing things alone, although I’d still prefer not to. But five days a week, I am here alone, and am finally starting to be okay with that. Basically, this place is almost home.
Here’s a song (x), and here are just a few pictures of the past month.