Bus Accident and Postal Muddle

I wasn't on that bus yesterday, I was on another bus on the same road on the same day at a later time in the opposite direction. I suffered through a big traffic jam, sans Valium and iPod, crucial bus accessories which I had stupidly forgotten to remove from my bag before luggage-racking it. I am of course relieved that I wasn't worse affected, though I rarely take that kind of bus (non-A/C), and feel terrible for the families.

More than that, I'm bloody mad at the driver and conductor, of course. Not only did they get a pile of people killed, they add fuel to the fires of this country's bad rep. Without being histrionic, I can say that it squarely supports the Western perspective on the developing world. It's tritely typical: brown people with rickety transport and poor roads, acting macho (read: criminally stupid) over potentially-gainable, yet unimaginably small, sums of money. So sad that those people died, but doesn't it just go to show you how idiotic and subhuman(e) those people are? Everyone knows you don't drive around train crossing barriers!

Eh, I'm just being reactionary. Not like the local papers are better. The AP kindly added this (fascinating) footnote, for the 99% out there who don't know a thing about Sri Lanka: "Sri Lanka, an Indian Ocean island country of 19 million people, has a railroad system established by British colonial rulers in 1865." Thanks for the history lesson!

Otherwise: ha ha, I didn't lose that post about Passover! It was there all along. Lesson learned: read your own blog, occasionally. Am enjoying preparations for our seder, especially since I've received my giant box of kosher good(ie)s from my darling mama/ima/amma. I had to go pick it up from the municipal post office's Foreign Parcels Unit, which is closed practically all the time and charges you for storage if you don't collect your box right away. They also like to charge random "handling fees," ie bribes, for fun, if you don't incur any import taxes. Co-Fulby Lisa got 5 lbs matzo in the mail from her grandmother, and had to argue with the counter peon that she wasn't 'importing crackers' (which would incur levy) but that these were locally unavailable religious items. I just got a lot of flak because the package was in a dog food box and people here can't imagine buying dog food. A guy on the street who clearly couldn't read English asked me if I had a dog in the box.

Also at the post office, I mailed a gift parcel to a friend. I tried to send it 'small parcel' rate, which is ultra-cheap, but the three people working at the counter couldn't decide whether that was legal and so refused to give me that rate. They clearly didn't really know what was what, and kept looking at each other and muttering questions sotto voce after discovering that I speak Sinhala. (Before that they were just talking loud in Sinhala: "what is 'small parcel' rate? I forget" "oh, there's something around here with the rules written on it" etc.) Finally the one woman turns to me and says, as if clarifying something, "small parcel not possible. That means samples."

I asked her what 'samples' are, and she, very helpfully, said, "small bits of things, you know?" Hmm. Then I asked, samples of what? She blinked, thought, looked at me, thought some more, and ventured, "rubber?" I tried to stop myself from laughing. Of course! It's the special international-small-parcel-of-rubber-samples rate. From now on I'm sending my parcels from the Dangolla or Mulgampola sub-post-offices, where they'll give me any rate I like.


Eternal Bosom of Hot Love
...according to Harper's, that's one of Kim Jong Il's titles. Yeah baby!

I am breaking with precedent to blog live from Colombo. I wrote a giganti-mungous post the night before leaving and then a bloody internet crash destroyed it. I have three paragraphs left. I will reconstruct (right after I write about Nikaweratiya, ha ha) and repost (riposte!) but for now, be tantalized: it's about Jewishness, and Passover, and the new pope, and heavy stuff like that.

For now I'll just say that I love Passover, and have had two lovely seders with the miniscule Yid gang here at the lovely ambassador's lovely house, led by his lovely Jewish wife, supplied with fantastic food. Not much more to ask for there. I made Sri Lankan charoset, too. (Recipe below: oh my gawsh is it good.) Would like to extend some love to the Goodmans, and the Dinkins, and the other Jews and non- of the world with whom I've been lucky enough to share seders. As much as I enjoyed them here it just wasn't the same without "I've Been Working on the Pyramids" (Goodman tradition) and sanctifiable Kosher Coca-Cola with real sugar (Dinkin must-have). I miss old traditions and faces at times like these: other people's tunelessness isn't quite the same charming disaster that one's own family's. Likewise other people's semi-humorous stories of weird afikoman disaster (crumbling, wetting, ad nauseam). Did you know that the word afikoman is from Ancient Greek and might refer to the ancient practice of post-dinner partyhopping?

In the coffee shop of the Colombo Plaza today, I was eating breakfast (cappuccino, overpriced OJ, cream cheese and veggies on matzo) when a nicely dressed lady stranger hustled across the lobby to bat her mascara-crusted eyelashes at me and trill "chag sameach!" while winking promiscuously at my big ol' box of matzo. It doesn't make me feel that way, but hey. Enjoy your holiday, everyone.

Sri Lankan Charoset/Chutney
1/2 fresh pineapple
1/2 c dates
1/2 c raisins
1/2 c cashews
1/2 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp whole cloves, ground and filtered
1/2" piece of ginger, finely grated
sweet wine to taste
Reduce fruits to tiny bits with big knife (or roughly food-process I suppose). Roughly chop cashews. Mix everything together, allow to stand overnight to meld its flava.


The Perils of a Cashew Childhood
warning: sacrilege and profanity levels high

Well. I'm sorry about the popes. One is dead, PBUH, and the new one is clearly unsatisfactory. Though it's probably not going to affect my life much, it's a shame that we get another lock-up-the-naughty-bits old European guy, rather than one of the funner sounding Latin American liberation theologists.

Having recently become knowledgeable about the history of marital mores (certainly including the Catholic Church's opinions on same) I feel entitled to pout a little that we're getting a conservative, boringly late-model-theology Pope, not a back-to-the-salad-days radical/nutjob. Benny 16th* isn't going to take the Caths back to the good old days of the 800s when marriage was a sort of grubby alternative to ascetic life, grudgingly granted by the oh-so-virtuous clerics, for whom the Church contracted concubines, paid for with peasants' tithes. Back then, folks knew that virginity was the most exalted state, widow[er]hood next best, and matrimony a shady but necessary outlet for the discharge of bodily fluids, er, urges. These days, it's important to keep the fold fattened with darling newborn Products of Semi-Sin, given that those damned (and how) Mohammedans are outbreeding Us; therefore, off with the rubbers, on with the boo-tay! (But not in the boo-tay, that's a sin.)

Snarky authorial voice aside, I was enjoying the NYT photos of the cardinals all lined up like a Rockette tableau at the special Mass for pope-selection: dozens of redswathed old guys, charmingly rowed around the Basilica, wearing funny hats and folding their hands obediently in their laps. There are some wacky outfits in the wings too: did anyone else spot the guard-looking guy with yellow-and-black striped pantaloons and a floppy troubadour hat with feathers? Who is that guy and what the blasphemy is his job?

I enjoy the pageantry of Catholicism though feeling almost no connection to the Church. Is it odd that, growing up the surly darling of two rather oppositely-religious familysides, I so clearly understood myself to be of one faith (Judaism) and not both? I spent more time in church than in synagogue, that's for sure. It was an Episcopalian church that we went to, though. As a kid I was definitely not sold on the gory butchery aspects of the historico-biblical Jesus story. As Passover approaches I reflect that, probably more than anything else, it was this holiday that made me sure I was Jewish.

It's not really thought of as a fun holiday, not like Purim or Hanukkah, but it ranks up there in importance (and ability-to-command-observance) with the RH/YK new year whammy. Still, Pesach has for a long time been my abso-friggin-lutely super-de-duper hands-down favorite religious holiday, with a cherry on top. Combining several of my favorite things, including 1) a dinner party, 2) a philosophical kibitzing venue, and 3) a group sing-a-long, the Passover seder is a multiple grand-slam of a celebration. It was perhaps all those seders years ago that sold me: at my maternal grandparents' Jewish Nursing Home, with the medicine cups of pink horseradish and the choppily abbreviated Maggid (story) sessions, the doddery celebrants who'd perk up with the first round of Dayenu, the overwhelming sense of being a small sturdy child among many many frail elders. I felt like the hope of the future, no small thing in a perpetually-besieged religion and on a terror-filled/hopeful holiday.

Every year it's the same for me. I know the story ends with the Jews escaping Mitzrayim, but because we are reminded that "in each generation, each one of us must feel that we have personally gone out of Egypt," which is the kind of thing an overdramatic kid takes deeply to heart. It's tempting, when you're small and unpopular, to glory in this reflected aura of danger, redemption, chosenness. It's easy, as a child, to mourn also the drowned Egyptian army, to understand the hardening of Pharoah's heart. Children know from stubborn.

The rituals and aesthetics of Judaism may be weird to those who've never partaken. What's with the bobbing/bowing thing? Why matzo perforations that don't work like proper breakpoints, but serve only as taunting reminders of the possibility of rectilinear bread-of-affliction-bits? Catholicism is in some ways more aesthetically successful. The cross is the most successful logo/meme/bit of branding ever; nuns are accessible through pop culture references like The Sound of Music and Sister Act. I don't know of any singing dancing falling-in-love Talmud scholars, unless you count Yentl, and that's a drag act. Don't even mention Fiddler on the Roof, which incidentally was recently produced by a high school in Kandy, even if it does have catchy tunes. That slice of treacley pastiche represents the worst efforts of a Mormon director to bowdlerize and cuteify the work of a writer who was, paradoxically, deeply concerned with de-romanticizing shtetl life.

However, accessible is as accessible makes** and vis-a-vis the Church I always knew, always worried, even when very small, about the rather looming issue of damnation. I wasn't baptized, no doubt to the great spiritual pain of my parish-community-pillar paternal grandparents. I never seriously worried about going to the Hot Place after the Big Sleep but I was intensely aware that lots of those people thought I probably would. That in and of itself was pretty off-putting: the seders taught me that I had been born into a we, no entry-visa needed, and we had already been saved, long ago. Later on, at Freedom Seders and Feminist Seders and the like, my attention was called to the many other ways and times that we--often a larger we than just Jews--had been saved. Against that, we weren't afraid to bring up the things that God hadn't done for us, the slaveries humans permit, the plagues not lifted, the Mitzrayims still holding us.

Is that an honest spirituality? I think so. It owes more, perhaps, to the good hearts and local introspection of the people who make these seders, than to the rabbinical doctrines of yesteryear or today. I am glad to be part of a battered faith, not only in our history of persecution--which Catholics can certainly claim as well--but in our willingness to love a broken world. Passover celebrates an imperfect liberation, in which all the people suffer and doubt, and God's purpose and wisdom are obscure.

This is starting to sound like a college admissions essay. The point, I guess, is that with all the pageantry around the Vatican I'm dazzled, fascinated, but cynical. We're getting what seems to be historically a revolving-door pope: one goes through to the big lobby of Death, out pops another old guy with a big hat and a condemnably medieval agenda. (Not even medieval enough, says I: out with marriage! In with hair-shirts and ecstatic visions and dispensation-for-sale and no naughty-bit jollies!) Perhaps I'm expecting too much from an institution that gives me the cosmological willies. Still, it also gave me, indirectly, some large percentage of my psychology (thanks, Dad) and more uncles on That Side than I can shake a stick at. That's no small thing to blaspheme against.

The question I am left with, though, goes thusly: can I reconcile the rightness of faiths? Given belief in a Being Upstairs or Inside or Somehow, can I extend my goodwill to those who'd imperiously call our god Theirs? Word of the day being "henotheism" (belief in one god, reflected as multi-force/faceted worship; e.g. Brahminical Hinduism) is the Catholic God the same one who freed the Hebrews from Egypt? Historically, textually, yes: they go in for the Torah too. But is it the same force who now leads world Catholics through His loyal servant Pope Benedict the Retrograde?

We pray not. Or, we hope that He leads them better individually than He's previously led this Ratzinger chump.

*how dare he take my lucky number!
**the phrase on the bus goes clunk! clunk! clunk!


also, bats = bugs**

I was all set to write a nice long description of my four days in Nikaweratiya, and how great it was, when a giant bat with foot-long venom-dripping fangs flew into the house and chased me, shrieking, from the computer…

Not really. It was a small bat, wingspan of about 7” and body the size of a gerbil. It was flying around and around, dizzifyingly, in the living room. I did shriek, just a little. I have this involuntary mini-screamy-whimper that I do when a big bug or a bat or whatever scares me—not just any bug, mind you, but something really surprising, like a cockroach jumping into my face from my toiletry travel-bag. That happens a lot, because it hangs on the bathroom wall. The noise I make is funny even to me, because it’s not intentional.

In any case, the bat made me do it. I ducked and ran for the door, opened it, opened all the windows, slammed my hand in the windowframe in process (ow!) and generally prayed hysterically for it to go. I’m not particularly scared of bats, but they should be out, not in. Then I got the broom and sort of waved it at the bat, trying to coax it towards the window/door side of the room, getting very hyped up on adrenaline the while… then I accidentally hit the bat. It plummeted to the floor like a foul ball.

Oh no! It wasn’t moving. Wanting to get it out of the house (lest it jump into my face, and prompt more whisper-screaming) I swept it gently out the door and into the yard but I am afraid I may have killed it. Softie that I am, I spent several minutes crying and whispering, I’m sorry, little bat, I'm so sorry. I feel so terrible about this. I kill bugs all the time but a bat, no, I like bats (just not in the house) and it was a small cute furry thing. It’s just awful.

After mourning a few minutes I closed up the door and windows, and went into the kitchen to wash dishes. A few minutes later I heard leathery wings and concentric circles afoot… there was another bat. I ran over, reopened the windows and everything, and retreated to the kitchen, my heart in my throat, fearing that were I to take decisive action another bat’s soul would be on my conscience. I turned off the lights too. It went. I breathed a sigh of relief, and another sigh of regret that I’d so rashly taken broom in hand against the first one.

Then another bat came in. I repeated the ignore-cure and it worked. Closed up shop again, sat down at the computer, and heard a little rustle and a squeak—Bat Menace #4! Another scream, as this one was lying on the floor right next to the table leg by the power-cord mess of the computer. I was calmer now (having expelled enough winged fruitsuckers to feel like an old hand) and got it into a box and took it outside and just tipped the box on its side. #4 was screaming its batty little lungs out but I don’t think I hurt it.

Then I seriously battened (no pun intended) down the hatches, closing all the windows that don’t have screens. I noticed that there was a bat clinging to the porch wall outside so must be some kind of batfest on tonight. Maybe our banana tree is having a dinner party and some diners were intrigued by the smell of spices frying for my supper-soup… which I mention not because I’m going to go off on cooking again, but because I’ve got this headcold which prevents me from properly tasting things. I made a brothy noodle soup with literally two whole onions (they’re small) and four cloves of garlic and two inches of lemongrass and half an inch of ginger and a sprig of curryleaves and a tablespoon of rasam paste and the thing didn’t taste strong at all. We’re talking about two cups of soup here. It’s amazing, and unpleasant. I hope the cold goes away.

In happier neighboring-fauna news, there are sunbirds nesting in a cozy roofed-lined-thatched nest outside my front door. Their babies hatched about ten days ago and are now feathery and fat and big enough to go cheep-cheep all day, very sweetly and cutely.

Nikaweratiya and Alut Auruddak (new year) writing soon.

*Hunter S. Thompson, may he rest in peace
**Bill Waterston, in Calvin’s great bit on how to write a project report ("use a cover. that’s a tip, kids, write it down.")


Happy New Year!

Heading off this morning with Jill, my yoga teacher, and his family (Janaka-teacher, his hilarious and lovely Yorkshire wife Billy, and their two daughters Ushani-3 and Jayani-1) for his village in the poor, rather unpopulated northwest of the island. Dry zone, therefore hot-hot-hot this time of year, and it’s a sort of no-there-there place, wells for drinking and bathing, wewa/tank for swimming (like a reservoir), no electricity usually, lots of relations, lots of new year games.

Sinhala And Tamil New Year is the official name of the holiday but in Kandy everyone just calls it Sinhala New Year. There is food (of course, and piles of it), new clothes are worn and exchanged as gifts, special drums played, special games organized. One ‘game’ is a sort of piñata exercise, using a big clay pot instead of a charming crepe-papered animal. I imagine that the stick is bigger too, in order to break the pot properly. Anyway, the country sort of shuts down (except for Muslims, whose New Year it isn’t though they often celebrate too) so I’ll be off smacking pots and bathing in wells until Friday.

Am a little apprehensive about no-privacy conditions. I don’t care about material hardships like sleeping on a floor or cold well baths, but I mind being monitored or whatever all the time. Should be fine, though, as Billy says the village folks are used to her and Janaka’s nutty ways: yoga, for one thing! (This couple is sick: they do all the crazy backwards bendy balancing on one footy kinds of poses, and easily.) Thus, where usually it would be sort of rude to wander off with a book, we’ve been instructed to bring several. Hooray for books.

Currently reading World Revolution and Family Planning (oh, the suspense, the anticipation) and The Satanic Verses. I hope the extended family are not scandalized on both counts.

Haven’t been really up on my email (or blog) lately with all the holiday preparations. Making packets of cookies and sweets for gifts, shopping for the all-important New Outfit to Wear at the Auspicious Time, cleaning my kitchen before I leave so that the ants don’t demolish it entirely. In any case, my New Year’s resolution (they don’t have those here, content as they are) is to dawdle less, thereby making time perhaps for more communications activities.


Something Not to Do For Fun

Write resumes and bullshit essays to snag swaggy fellowships. I forgot how bloody wretched this scene is. Well, it got me here. It might get me to Singapore or Paris next year!

Here's my April Fools, sent to a select group of family and friends (ie those I thought would panic the most).

[email] Hey everyone, I'm really excited but really sorry, and I think you'll all be angry or at least disappointed... I applied for (as a long shot!) this really amazing job teaching theatre in Singapore, and I got it, and they're going to pay me piles of money, but I have to go straight there from here and my contract is for 18 months!

...the part about applying for the job is true. The rest: hooey. The response: a few bravely congratulatory emails and a few to the guarded tunes of "are you crazy? Though I love and support you." One phone call in near tears (not naming names here). Now I know who really loves me. Anyway, the applications are in. The Singapore one, well, it's not really a job I want. Bad timing, contract too long. The Paris one: working for the UNESCO Education division, living in Paris, becoming fluent in French and of course impossibly chic, angling for the Lecoq school, going to London or Madrid for the weekend... working on international education! In cool places like Haiti and Burundi.

It's a ridiculously long shot, open to all Fulbrighters and there are only 10 slots. Also my essay, supposedly detailing a) why I'm qualified, b) what I'll bring to the job, and c) what I hope to learn, turned into a ghastly monster of a college-app-type "personal statement" chock-full-o'-nonsense about my educational philosophy and other blarney. Well, it's really my educational philosophy, but what do they care? They'll give it to someone who wrote about something real, existing, in the world, that they did. Given that I was finishing in the middle of the night, I started writing awful paragraphs of my own worst vocabulary excesses and insipid parallel structure:

"We strive, individually and collectively. We persevere against inertia; we succeed in tiny steps. "

Mercy. Well, it was due.

It's been pouring every day though not supposed to be monsoon time. Hard to do errands. Feels like April in Swarthmore, though, except with blistering hot mornings (til 2.30ish usually) and spicy food and lots of brown people. My hair is getting all shaggy but I am determined to grow it somewhat. I sort of forgot what the texture was like, so it's novel if atrociously messy-looking.

Does anyone know what happened to Bobby Berman?


“Me Is Amazing”
Misguided Irrational Anger?
my informed angle…

For those of you who are over 30 and/or living under a rock, there’s this hip new singer on the “rap music” scene. Or, at least for a while, they were saying she was a rapper. NO! We cried. She’s a hip-hop singer-songwriter. Or maybe pop, considering how pop-ular her music is getting. Regardless of genre, as Jonah said, she’s getting way overexposed.

And! Thought I don’t know much ‘bout music, or anything else relevant to her story, I know a lot about Sri Lanka. Guess what? She’s Sri Lankan! And a hot young revolutionary Tamil! Her dad was LTTE! Isn’t it exciting for the music world to have a brown-person rapper, and the child of a real live terrorist too?

Well, folks, I’ll leave the discussion of her music to other people. Suffice it to say that I’ve heard her album, so have several peeps here, I like it, they like it, it’s a big freakin’ music love party. Except for that most Sri Lankans would rather listen to John Denver. In fact, that’s exactly what one person said. So: her music is good.

But. This business about “Sri Lankan” has got to stop. I’m practically more Sri Lankan than Miss International Artiste. To wit: she left here when she was seven. Has spent none of her adult life here. Also: let’s not romanticize the LTTE, especially let’s not use their cachet to sell bloody records! (Bloody indeed.) I have a pretty damn liberal attitude about the organization, and would like to see them become a legitimate political entity, and believe that they have done good things; viz., tsunami reconstruction: hella organized! Good on ya, fascists.

She hasn’t lived here and frankly her ‘revolutionary politics’ to me are offensively naïve. There are thousands of young Sri Lankan Tamils who grow up in ‘exile’ (voluntary) because their families had the money to leave the country. Whether they left due to Sinhalese, government, terrorist, Tamil, or economic pressures, they left. They jumped ship. They took their families elsewhere and pay lip service, to LTTE platforms and demands. They contribute thousands of dollars a year to the LTTE and its fronts.

The drain of capital (especially human) from this country has been the single most tragic aspect of the war—which, it bears clarifying, consists not just of government vs. LTTE but instead a decades long snarled web of different Tamil and Sinhala insurrections. That’s right, the bloodiest years of the conflict were the JVP (Sinhala Nationalist Marxist) uprising of the 70s. That wasn’t the only JVP uprising. The LTTE emerged as the premier Tamil nationalist group only after about 15 years of brutally murdering and/or subsuming other militant and non-militant Tamil groups. They got to be the ‘voice of the Tamil people’ by killing all the other speakers.

What does this have to do with M.I.A.? As I said, no personal resentment; the album is good. However. By capitalizing on the saleability of her father’s notoriety (which may not have been her choice—marketing being not always artists’ own decisions) she and/or her backers shamefully profit from a national tragedy of unthinkable size and longevity. That is at best crass and at worse horribly disrespectful. (It kind of doesn’t matter whether her father was in the political wing or shooting old women in the head; it’s the name recognition.)

In addition to that, this is a Western person. (Anyone ever heard the term ‘coconut?’ Think ‘oreo’ and you’ll get it.) Lankan-born she is, but her political beliefs are the result of an exile/diasporic upbringing. Bully for her if she finds personal strength and empowerment in the aims of groups like the PLO and the LTTE. Shame on her if she praises their tactics. Yes yes, she’s a musician and not a politician or an activist. If she thinks she is, her work is the worse for it.

Still it angers me that so many diasporic, entitled SLan Tamils continue to financially and politically support the Tigers when they have no intention of living in accordance with their ‘views’. Or rather, I don’t see London-born Tamils lining up to buy homes in Kilinochchi (the de facto Tiger “capital”) or reestablish their families’ farms in Jaffna. The LTTE-proposed Tamil homeland of Eelam would be, and is, a wretched place to live—the more so because 30 years of guerrilla war have left the region economically devastated, the land riddled with mines, and the people terrorized and displaced.

Diasporic Tamils have financially and ideologically driven the LTTE. Locals are much less pro-Tiger than Londoners. I am not making this up—it’s been studied. So, rah rah for standing up for oppressed peoples, boo to “liberating” those people by stealing their homes, abducting their children, destroying their livelihoods, etc. It’s very easy to be pro-Eelam, or pro-Tamil-rights, or pro-what-the-fuck-ever, when you don’t have to live with the results.

M.I.A., wherever you are, I have no idea what fraction of this persona you created or consented to inhabit, but, in the words of our generation… don’t be a tool!
It’s been a busy week.

Last weekend I was in Trincomalee visiting Malka and having the most lovely swimming experiences of my life. Moonlight, soothing waves, sarong, no bathing suit, slight photoluminescence…followed by beer and fresh grilled tuna and marlin. Also elephant riding, Tamil learning, BBC watching, fresh curd eating, water buffalo milking lessons (theory not practice), rather pleasant endless bus riding.

Right, but then I came back Monday and ran around all day doing errands and having this incredible thali lunch with Lisa. Monday night was the earthquake off Indonesia, prompting a midnight flurry of attempted phone calls around the island. The phone system was overtaxed and so it was hard to get connected. I ended up at Jill’s house, mildly freaking out, before crashing out exhausted…

…to wake up and find that no waves had come. Sigh of relief. Then I dove into a long Sinhala lesson, mostly on the subject of dating, partly on this funny letter I got from the niece of a woman I met on the bus. The niece had written me, earlier, wanting to practice her English—I replied half in English and half in Sinhala, and she wrote back a sort of instructional letter in Sinhala with parenthetical translations of the words she considered hard or useful or whatever. It was cute to see what she picked. She was writing about her A-levels studies so I now know all about her project on the “solar system.” She also translated “English” which in Sinhala is “Ingriisi”—anyone can figure that out!

Spent the day at home working on my CV and research, then went to town for yoga. Ran into Dilani and Dilanthi Ranaweera (mother and daughter of the house I live in) on their way to dance class, so Lisa and I dropped in there for a while to watch a lesson on ‘jive,’ which is swing. Later I attended the same teacher’s Wednesday class: tres silly. Couple dancing is very popular here and people are pretty damn good—beginners, even, have groove. Americans just starting out in couple dancing usually look miserable and stiff. Sri Lankan salsa dancing is one of those bizarre cross-cultural things.

Yoga totally kicked my butt. Hard core. Lisa Jill and I stopped off at Food City on the way home (ha ha, that’s their slogan: On Your Way Home) and I found, delight of delights, two luscious new asepti-pak’ed juice flavors: orange-carrot and kiwi-cranberry.

Wednesday I spent most of the day at CIS, an int’l school in Kandy, observing drama classes (and one maths class that was fun because it made me remember learning fractions and how hard it all seemed at the time). Drama class was fun but I felt like the teacher could have given the kids more of a sense of seriousness about drama as a skill, as work—the games that they played were more like team-building or just physical stuff, and the crits were all about being competitive rather than learning to be better, louder, more expressive, whatever. I am perhaps overly serious about drama, of course, but I know that even kids who are 10 and 11 can handle dramatic ‘work’ rather than make-believe ‘play.’ Otherwise drama class is just a more codified/restrictive form of PE.

So that’s my exciting life. Today’s agenda: Washing the sheets. CV-perfecting and sending (job that I am underqualified for but want to start getting used to rejection, y’know). Survey protocol writing. Dinnermaking for Jill Lisa Jeremy Gavin (maybe): hummus and related foods, I think. Sri lime piebaking for ICES for Friday. Wearing my new green linen skirt. Watching a movie now that I have proper DVD software…

Yammer yammer. Better to look at my new photos than to have read this.