Saturday, 9 April 2016

Ayubowan, Sri Lanka

At 8am this morning, I stepped off the plane at the same airport I'd departed from just 3 months ago. It's safe to say that I'm now absolutely freezing again, but it was so nice to be greeted by some of my family members.

Saying goodbye to Sri Lanka has actually been extremely hard. I thought I was ready to come home last week, but on Thursday it hit me that I have been so happy there, and saying goodbye to the people who have made my experience so amazing, was so, so difficult. I genuinely haven't cried as much as I have this week, in years!

And you know what? It seems crazy to think that just 12 weeks ago, I was setting foot is onto a plane, not really knowing where I was going or who I'd be meeting. When people asked where I'd be living, my reply would be 'Colombo somewhere, maybe..' which is pretty horrifying to some, but I wasn't phased by my lack of awareness. When I arrived, I was thrown into my new home and soon became settled in with my new Sri Lankan family - both my host mother and her daughter, and the other volunteers. And within a week, those so called strangers really were family.

As the weeks went by, I've been able to see and work on teaching, special needs, occupational therapy and mental health projects. I begun to pick up little bits of Sinhala, with every piece of creative therapy piece being 'Lassinai' and every correct answer being 'hondai'. The heat remained unbearable, but I'd take the beautiful sunshine over snow any day, especially when I've been able to witness to breathtakingly beautiful sunsets. I have travelled a fair bit of the country too, from Jaffna to Hikkaduwa, mountains to beach. I've discovered new foods, and built up a high tolerance for spicy food. But, I'm also aware that if something is too spicy, there is always something sweet lurking around the corner. I've learnt about Buddhism and Hinduism, discovered that coconut oil is the best moisturiser there is, and now understand why the Sri Lankans dislike wearing Saree's - as beautiful as they are, they are also tight and uncomfortable! 

But most of all, I now know that I have a passion for people. We are all human beings, with thoughts and feelings. I can't say that is has been life changing because that would be a lie. I'm going to go home and nothing will have changed. I'll go back to painting my nails, taking hot showers and eating nut butter daily because that's something I've ridiculously missed. But what has changed is that I now have a real sense of direction, and that's not just from navigating the buses around Sri Lanka. I know for sure that I want to help people. Just because we don't all have the same living conditions, morals or beliefs, we all deserve to receive help when it's needed. And that is what I want to do with my life - help those who are vulnerable, especially those in psychological turmoil. I don't want them to merely survive in this world, I want them to thrive. 

So, ayubowan Sri Lanka. You'll always have a place in my heart.


Unknown said...

Welcome back Sam! It looks like you had an amazing time, and what an experience to be able to look back on! I loved reading your postcards and I'm sure you can't wait to catch up with your family and friends now!

Lucy x- Yellowicing

Unknown said...

Travel just changes your heart doesn't it?

Unknown said...

Travel just changes your heart doesn't it?

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