The fourth thing that Sri Lanka means to me is about the people we've made connections with.
Our life in Sri Lanka wouldn’t be as beautiful and grace-filled as it is had it not been for the people we meet.
The first new friends I’ve made was in Sinhala Class. Looking back at it now I’ve realized that in as much as we were of different nationalities, ages and what-nots – we have so many things in common. Our love of Yoga, our love for our husbands (we’ve basically “followed” or “stayed” in Sri Lanka for them!) and our love for learning to name a few.
Office friends are essential. My first office friends here were actually hubby’s team. They welcomed me with open arms and are just authentically awesome people. When I started working I got my own set of office friends too! And they are as great!
One thing that I was actually wary of mingling with are Filipinos. This is coming from a warning that Filipinos will just borrow money. But I had a totally different experience here! They did not borrow money at all but they are one of the most generous people I have ever met in my life. I guess it’s the sense of solidarity and brotherhood for people from home in a land far away from home. Or just the kinds of people they are. They have gifted us with food, invited us to the parties and basically opened their arms and made Sri Lanka feel like Manila. One thing about money though is that they are one set of uber entrepreneurs. They make longganisa, siopao and even bring in Dunkin Donuts from the Middle East and sell it for a nice profit!
During my pregnancy my doctor was a ray of sunshine and calling me “Sweetie” was pretty calming amidst the stresses of a first-time mom-to-be. Our birthing class teacher was a source of strength and reassurance. My yoga gurus gave powerful meditations.
Closer to home, I feel we’ve developed a sense of family with our nanny and driver. In as much as in this warped world they “serve” us, we have endeavored to serve them as well. They are our parent’s age yet they work for us but I look at it this way, they take care of us. This is the first time I’ve ever “managed” household “help” and I didn’t think I would be this sentimental about it. I guess we were lucky to have found them. Avid readers would know that I’ve had my fair share in driver troubles and cleaner woes. But the two who are with us the longest and with us now are truly exceptional – not only in their work but also as persons. As Nanny McVi once said, “I know you have a good heart.”
The place is just a place until it becomes rooted in the people there. Nanny McVi was showing how sad she was on our leaving. You see her expertise is taking care of children from 0-12. By the time they celebrate their first birthday, she moves on to another newborn. In as much as in each leaving there is sadness, with her “Sri Lankan” babies, she knows she can still see them. But us, this may be a “real” goodbye. I sure hope not. And to go all MacArthur or Schwatzenegger, “We will be back.” Or you will visit us in Singapore. Or we’ll keep touch on Facebook! Whatever mode - we'll definitely stay connected.