Check it out: my illegitimate intellectual child.
It's a paper on dam safety, written in varying proportions by myself and two other authors from the organization doing the project. Basically it says that the state of dam safety oversight in Sri Lanka sucks and we need a) a monitoring agency to hold the big stick and b) many carrots of better funding. I won't claim it's a fascinating read, but if you're in a related field (hazard management, disaster relief, engineering, geology) it would be nice to have comments. Toss 'em on that website.
Saturday was spent at community meetings for this project with my last-minute savior of a Sinhala note-taker, 18-year-old aspiring engineer Buddhika. I felt like I was bringing my kid brother but he did a fabulous job. There is little more exhausting than trying to follow a technical talk in a language you speak minimally. Still, interesting to see how this stuff gets supported at the almost-grassroots level; plus I got a nice free lunch and several rounds of tea'n'cake out of it.
Sunday Jill and I went to Gam Udawa (Digana bus via Kundasale) to Kanthi's house for a pleasantly typical all-day lunch. Kanthi is the ICES librarian of 20+ years; one of the most lovely, funny, and helpful people around. She knows everything. We had lovely food and hung out on her back verandah, saw photos of last November's trip to the US ("It was so cold at Niagara!") where she stayed in Queens for four weeks, traveling on the weekends but otherwise hanging out with a friend (she went into Manhattan twice).
On the bus back from that I got very heartsick about geography and time and people. My sense of 'home' has gone off; it is both and neither here and there. Friends come and go too easily and too hard. I feel unlike myself, in the way I remember myself from my former settings (read: large East Coast city), but not sure that that version is important or worth remaking. It's been a while since my last little spurt of melancholia, so I'm overdue; that doesn't make it a whole lot easier.
Pretty clear to me, also, that some of this feeling is caused by the ongoing evolution of my distance from him, and my new and developing attachment to him. Those are two different people.
Happy 4th of July! The Sunday Times had a ridiculous four-page section on America, with an article by Ambassador "Jenny's Dad" Lunstead (nice guy, cold fish), and a mini-bio of Betsy Ross, and silly ads like "Greetings & Best Wishes to the Government & People of the United States of America, from Ceyline Shipping Ltd." My plans include going to office, meeting Buddhika, taking in a puja at the Pillaiyar Kovil, and drinking some beer at Stuart Strange's house.