Archive for April, 2009

Kandy Revisited

Wednesday, April 29th, 2009

The 24th of April had been designated as the English Day party. We had decided to do a party for the winning class in each grade. And, when the English Day itself ran over and we didn’t have time to finish all the marking and give out all the certificates, we decided that it would be certificate day too.

That meant I had to be back in Kandy on Friday the 24th. Well, I didn’t actually have to be back. But I wanted to. Plus I had some students to see and a lot of stuff left in Kandy to collect.

On Tuesday the 21st I got a haircut (yay!!!) and a bus to Kandy. Wasana came with me so she could keep me company, help me get buses, help with some of the English Day stuff and so she could get me back to her uncle’s house and reunited with my bicycle. 🙂

On Wednesday we helped Alex with finishing off some English Day marking and certificate writing and sorting out etc. I then went to the Upper School to feed biscuits to some Grade 11s (in exchange for talking to me in English for an hour and a half). I had two takers and they came up with good questions for me. 🙂

Thursday was much the same. But I did have 7 students this time (word of the biscuits had passed around methinks).

Friday was the grand prize giving day!!!

We went shopping first thing. We got to the school to discover that most of the people there thought the party would be some other day since they hadn’t organised it. They were surprised to see us show up with food and drink for the masses. We were surprised that having agreed a 10:45 start with the Principal the previous day, we now had an 11:30 start. But, what can you do? Shrug, smile and get on with whatever you can get on with. Which we did.

So we set things up for the party (put biscuits and toffees and meringues on plates). Wasana and Jagath put up decorations. Some of the kids set up the PA system in the hall. Alex tried to figure out which students were missing (Grades 10 and 11). I chased after Grade 11 and did some more yelling. It had been weeks since I’d last yelled at recalcitrant teenagers. 🙂

We were eventually quorate. We explained (in English and Suchintha translated into Sinhala) that for the class certificates, the English subject leader had to come up and collect it. It turned out that some classes didn’t get any certificates because their English subject leader had been too scared to come up. It turns out I really am scary! Who’d have thought? Suchintha did collect the extras so I’m sure 7L will get theirs eventually.

We gave out certificates. We got Suchintha to read the names since neither Alex nor I know enough about Sri Lankan names to be able to pronounce them quickly or accurately. We then got Suchintha to read out the names of the 120 students who had been absent for the English Day and who would therefore have to stay back on Monday for a 2 hour detention with Alex writing lines. Added to which any absentees from winning classes wouldn’t be allowed to stay for the party. We are cruel when we want to be!!

My camera was circulating and various people were taking photos with it (thank you) though in some cases they were just huddling round it looking at the photos rather than actually taking any (Romesh, you know who you are). 🙂

We finished our bit at about 12:45 which gave us an hour for the party. Nice timing on our part we thought. And then the Principal stood up and took the microphone. At 1:10 he sat down and said to me (while one of the vice principals was talking) that since we had time he would talk to the students till 1:15. He said that half an hour was plenty of time for the party. I tried not to get annoyed. What can you do?

We started the party and got the 180 students in to the maths room to collect a plate of snacks and a drink. We enlisted the help of the Principal with pouring out drinks. He said that he had to help since we were running out of time. I remained calm.

At 1:30 I went to try and find some Grade 11s that I could talk to after school. Canon and Luminary had a maths class till 3:30 but some of them promised they’d stay after that. In the meantime I had three Acme boys who would hang around and talk to me while we waited for the rest. As bribery they each got some food and drink. 🙂 We divided some of the leftovers between Alex, Suchintha and myself and the rest we took down to donate to 11 Canon and Luminary to help with their maths class. I’d like to thank their maths teacher for coping so well with our distraction (the banana and biscuits might have helped). 🙂

I then discovered that I’d left my shoes (my one and only pair of shoes) in the office and the office had been locked. Hilarious!!! Fortunately the key lives at a nearby house so Sanka and Isuru were dispatched to go and track it down for me (thanks guys). I tried to eavesdrop on the maths class for a while but it was in Sinhala and I didn’t understand any of it. Added to which me standing outside the room peering in the window at the blackboard did cause a number of students to stop peering at the blackboard and start peering out the window. I am a bad influence.

I chatted to Sanka, Isuru and Kalpana for a while (found out lots about their families – and it’s official, blue is the best colour in the world). Then the maths class finished. I then had another 5 students join us. I chatted to the girls while the boys popped balloons and made drums from the empty Cream Soda bottles and broken balloons. Whose idea was it to give 16 year old copious quantities of sugar last thing on a Friday afternoon? At one point my camera (and the boys) vanished. I was reunited with it later. Their handiwork is on my flickr page (or will be soon depending on photo uploading).

Home time. We walked down to the bus and I got the bus with some of the boys back to the clocktower before beginning the slow walk up the hill. Though it wasn’t so much of a walk as a very leisurely stroll. Very leisurely. Incredibly slow in fact. But I’ve heard that walking at that speed makes it easier to scope out any interesting girls who might be in the vicinity and to give said interesting girls a chance to see you before you disappear off into the sunset. Is now an appropriate time to mention that the peacock is the national bird of Sri Lanka? 🙂 Anyway, I don’t suppose I should complain too much, it did give me a chance to talk to them some more. And to explain that while I would really love to stay at the school and teach English, Maths, IT and Singhala (I can’t teach Singhala, I don’t speak it), I have other traveling to do and I will need to go back to England eventually. But I’ll be back in Kandy before I leave Sri Lanka.

The plan was to leave on Saturday and get the bus to meet up with my bicycle. I had packed everything and left the house with my big rucksack on my back. Nice to be backpacking again. Come mid afternoon the plan had changed again. Well, it is Sri Lanka. We stayed Saturday night in Kandy and hired a van first thing Sunday morning to take us to collect my bicycle and take it and us straight to Ratnapura. Quite a good plan I thought. Though it did mean that I had carted my rucksack around the Peridiniya Botanic Gardens for no reason. 🙂

On Sunday the van did indeed take us all the way back to Ratnapura (reuniting me with Fred (the bike)) on the way. So I am now comfortably ensconced back with Ranjith and his family with all my stuff and my bike. I’m a happy bunny!!! And looking forward to my next sojourn back to Kandy (next month perhaps).

Vegetarian

Wednesday, April 29th, 2009

Many of you will know that sometime last year (I think) I decided that I wanted to stop eating meat. Many of you will also have realised that for New Year this year I had some beef curry.

These two things certainly seem contradictory.

So here’s the story.

I decided to stop eating meat for environmental reasons. One’s carbon footprint is dramatically reduced if one does not eat any meat. The environmental impact of mass farming of animals for food is immense. And it seemed to me that growing crops in order to feed animals and then eating the animals isn’t the most efficient use of resources when we could just eat the crops in the first place. So that’s why I stopped eating meat. Plus, it does frequently gross me out. And now that I’ve cut down on it so much, I find it’s something I actually don’t want to eat. And anyway, vegetables are so tasty!!!

When I came to Sri Lanka I also didn’t want to eat meat. One reason being the food hygeine. I’ve seen the stalls at the side of the road where they sell meat and fish. I won’t go into too much detail but the flies, the lack of refrigeration, the blood-soaked wooden bench that serves as cutting board and serving plate all put me off. I’ve seen frozen meat in packets in the supermarket too. I say frozen. According to the packet they were meant to be frozen. Though the electricity board (frequent power cuts) and the weather (really rather hot) had other things to say about that. The meat was cold but not frozen. It may have been frozen once. In fact I suspect it had been frozen on several occassions. That didn’t make me feel any better. 🙂

But my main reasons for not eating meat are still environmental.

However, I don’t want to be an irritating pain in the proverbial for the people I’m staying with. So in Kandy I said I’d eat dried fish. It gets used in almost everything (mainly for the salt I think) and avoiding it would be very difficult. I didn’t want my family to have to make completely seperate food for me every meal.

In Ratnapura for New Year there was going to be a beef curry and a vegetable curry. If I wasn’t going to eat the beef curry, they would have made me something else. Now, given the work involved in producing all the New Year foods I really didn’t want to force them to make yet another thing just for me. So I ate the beef curry (and it was really very tasty).

Once I go back to having complete control over what I eat I will go back to no meat and no fish. In the meantime I’m walking the line between eating whatever I’m given and trying to avoid meat and fish as much as possible. Some days I’m more successful at this than others.

Wildlife Update

Wednesday, April 29th, 2009

I have encountered some new and exciting wildlife since I moved my base of operations to Ratnapura.

Ranjith killed a rather large (and apparently poisonous – though not deadly) centipede thing.
Ranjith chased a scorpion out of the kitchen – photo on my flickr photo page. Wa!! A scorpion!!
Wasana caught a tarantula in half a coconut shell (coconuts really are the most useful thing in the whole world).
When I’ve been out in various rivers bathing I’ve found I’ve had to keep moving so that the fish don’t nibble me. It’s almost tickly – but not quite. 🙂
There was one river bathing experience where we saw a snake swimming across the river. He seemed quite small but still freaked me out slightly.
There was another case when we just walked down to a river and apparently scared a snake as we walked past. I saw something move but couldn’t have said what it was. The guy who was with us said it was a snake.
We saw lots of monkeys in the Peradiniya Botanical Gardens when I was back in Kandy. Some of them were really very tiny and some of them got really quite close to us (it seems they like meringues).

Photos

Wednesday, April 29th, 2009

I’ve been taking more photos and am uploading them slowly to my flickr page. I say slowly, I mean very slowly. The internet connection here means it takes ages for each photo to upload. So I will continue putting them up a few at a time whenever I get the chance.

Thanks for the Emails

Wednesday, April 29th, 2009

Lots of you have emailed me. Thank you. I have really appreciated getting the emails from you and hearing about what is happening with you all.

Sometimes I’ve been really bad and have not replied (for which I am very sorry). I will try harder to get replies out. But please don’t think that I don’t read or appreciate the emails. They are fantastic!!!!

Thank you very, very much!!!

🙂

Kath’s Grand Adventure – Chapter Two – Section 4 – New Year

Friday, April 17th, 2009

Happy New Year Everyone!!!!!

The Sri Lankan New Year this year was the 14th of April.

Sri Lankan New Year is a bit like Christmas. It is a time for celebration and for family.

I was fortunate enough to spend it with Ranjith and his family.

We got up early and had milk rice, lunu miris, oil cakes, cake, alle toffee (like milk toffee but with potatoes – sounds strange but is very tasty) and kokis for breakfast! The kids were wearing their new clothes (for a new year) and all looked gorgeous!

We went for a walk with the neighbours to a nearby waterfall for a swim/bath. Wow! We passed some gem mines and walked along the valley floor. It was incredible. You are probably all sick of hearing me say how beautiful this country is. But it does take my breath away on a regular basis. Anyone who doesn’t believe me is more than welcome to come out and visit me and I’ll show you. 🙂

There is a photo of the waterfall on my flickr page. We had a nice swim (I had to keep moving so the fish would stop nibbling my toes). We then took the long way back home again (nibbling on rambutan and berries on the way). A nice leisurely walk and a nice swim – even better than Christmas!

Then it was lunch time. Wow! The food was absolutely gorgeous. We had red rice; popadams; a cabbage sambol; some homemade pickled mango, chilli and onion; a traditional vegetable curry that has seven ingredients; and a beef curry (I’ll do a seperate post about my vegetarian aspirations). The Sri Lankan equivalent of a Christmas roast with all the trimmings. Magnificient!!

Then nap time! 🙂 Then leftovers for dinner. 🙂 Wasana, Raveen and I watched ‘The Shining’ which I’d not seen before. Then bed and fortunately no axe-related nightmares. 🙂

The whole day spent having lovely conversations with lovely people and some very good food, a gorgeous walk, a nap and some reading. What more could a girl ask for?

Kath’s Grand Adventure – Chapter Two – Section 3 – Ratnapura

Friday, April 17th, 2009

On Friday the 11th I got a bus from Ruwanwella to Ratnapura and then another from Ratnapura to Kurawita where Ranjith’s new house is. I left my bike in Ruwanwella and will collect it from there on my way back to Kandy.

The bus was very exciting!!! It took about 4 or 5 hours and cost about 100Rs (about 60 pence – yes that is 60 pence – not pounds – pence). I won’t go into too much detail about people who get travelsick on Sri Lankan buses. Suffice it to say it happens.

I didn’t realise how many people you could fit on a bus. Buses in Sri Lanka are a bit like Hilbert’s Hotel – there is always room for one more! But I’d never considered the rear stairwell (with the doors open) as suitable for three or more people. I’d also not realised how many you can fit in an aisle. Now I know. 🙂

One advantage to being sardined in a bus (and to be fair we did get seats after the first hour and it was less crowded then) is that you can’t really tell how bad the driving of the bus is. I tried not to think about the buses I’ve seen when I’ve been walking, cycling, in a three-wheeler or in a van. I assumed our driver was being far more concientious than the norm.

It was really fantastic to see Ranjith and the rest of the family again!!!

I had a nap, accompanied by the sound of the rain on the roof which was really nice!!

I got to bathe outside in the rain (scooping buckets of water from a tank). And wearing a diyaredda (the piece of cloth that girls wrap around themselves when they bathe). Bathing outside was absolutely incredible!!!! Second only to a hot shower – I do still miss hot showers. But bathing outside in the rain definitely beats a cold shower in a tiled bathroom monitoring the local spider population. 🙂

We went back to Nivithigala for the night. Ranjith’s new house is in Kurawita and isn’t quite finished yet, the family are still living in Nivithigala so we’ve been spending our time between the two.

I’ve spent the days since then resting, washing my clothes, walking, bathing, reading, talking, writing in my journal, texting people (there is reception at Nivithigala but none at Karawita) and generally having a really, really lovely time. I have been grinning constantly. I am in a permanent good mood. I feel incredibly relaxed, comfortable, joyous, euphoric, peaceful, content!

It is absolutely beautiful here! But, it is Sri Lanka so that really comes as no surprise – but even by Sri Lankan standards this place is amazing!! 🙂

Thank you, thank you, thank you to Ranjith and family for making me feel so at home and so welcome and looking after me so well. 🙂

Kath’s Grand Adventure – Chapter Two – Section 2 – Cycling

Friday, April 17th, 2009

On the road. Lovely!

Though I had forgotten how much slower one cycles when one has luggage. Ah well. It’d all be fine. I had phone numbers of lots of people who could help me if anything went wrong and while I was traveling alone I wasn’t without lots of help and support.

I’ve heard that Kandy is named Kandy because the British couldn’t properly pronounce the Sinhala word for hill. The hill nomenclature isn’t accidental. Though the singular nature of the word hill is a little misleading. There are several. And, like most hills they go up as well as down. Sometimes quite a way in one direction before changing.

In England, I’m a Cambridge girl. The ground just doesn’t go up there. It goes across. That’s all. The closest we get to an incline is the bridge over the railway line.

Ah well, nice hills. Adds to the excitement of the trip. As does cycling along the main Kandy-Colombo road.

As I’m sure I’ve mentioned before I don’t exactly blend into the scenery. So I made lots of friends on my trip. Three-wheelers who slowed down to cheer me on or ask me where I was from. Cars who did the same. People on the back of tractors who couldn’t resist laughing out loud. People on the side of the road who called out to their friends to come and look. The motorcyclist who chatted to me a lot during one of the long downhill stretches and invited me back to his house to meet his family (I politely declined since I had lots of kms to do).

I had to stop for water about every 10kms since I didn’t particularly want to carry much and I was sweating a lot. I mean a lot. No really, a lot!!

I managed to negotiate the traffic (though a couple of right turns were done in true Kath style – get off the bike and walk it across the relevant roads then get back on again later when the coast is clear). I managed to cope with the hills (only had to walk the bike for about 10m at one particularly difficult uphill bit). I managed to cope with going down the hills – Kath on a bike doing 38kph (with brakes on – the approaching hairpin wasn’t something I wanted to miss).

I managed to cope with my bike – mostly. The gears are interesting. My chain fell off twice. My luggage rack fell off again (or rather came loose and started dragging on the road) while I was actually cycling. So I had to do some luggage-rack re-engineering. All the stuff in my rucksack was in a bin liner (it rains here and my bag isn’t waterproof). So I took the bin liner out of the bag. I took half the stuff out of the rucksack and put that in the bin liner. I tied the bin liner to the luggage rack (which I had tied to the bike) – gotta love string and bicycle locks. I then put the rucksack on my back. This made me heavier but the luggage lighter so the bike was happier and a happy Fred (yes, his name is Fred) makes for a happy Kath.

I didn’t manage to cope adequately with the sun. I had put suncream on in the morning. Then washed my hands (since I have to eat with them). Then left.

The backs of my hands got VERY burnt. It’s now 5 days later (I think) and they have blistered and are still a bit sore. My arms, face, neck and back of my neck got a bit burnt, but they had cream on them so they’ve just gone more brown. There is a spot on my left elbow that got quite burnt since it seems I missed it with the suncream. Ah well, hopefully this means I’ll learn and won’t do it again – though I do say that every time I get burnt. But in the three months I have been here I’ve only been burnt twice so I think that’s good going.

I stopped for lunch just after Mawanella (about 2pm, about 35kms). I let Ranjith know where I was and how I was going. I asked him about a Plan B since I was quite tired (do you think that might have something to do with working 7 12 hour days in a row?). He said that if I didn’t make it all the way before dark he would send his daughter in a three-wheeler to collect me. I felt much better knowing there was a Plan B.

I got all my rain stuff ready since it looked like I was about to need it. I did a bit later – fortunately it didn’t rain too much – just a light friendly shower.

I got back on the bike hoping that lunch would have helped with my strength and energy. It didn’t. I just didn’t have any power in my legs. They weren’t sore – they just weren’t doing anything.

I stopped between Mawanella and Udamulla and phoned Ranjith to see if we could activate Plan B since it was 3:30 and I still had 30kms to go and at this rate would be averaging less than 10kms an hour. He said he’d send his daughter in a three-wheeler to collect me at Kegalle.

I kept going for about another 45 mins but then arrived at a hill on the approach to Kegalle. At which point not only did my legs stop working but my will-power did too. So I stopped at the side of the road, let Ranjith and Wasana know where I was and waited for my rescue party to come and rescue me. I may be cycling on my own but I’m definitely not alone!

My rescue party arrived and duly rescued me. The rescue party consisted of Ranjith’s daughter Wasana, his brother and his nephew (in his three-wheeler). Thank you rescue party!!!!

We got to Ranjith’s parent’s place (near Ruwanwella) safe, sound and happy. I texted all the Kandy people to let them know that I was safe.

For those of you who are interested I did 44.77kms, averaged 12.5kph, my maximum speed was 38.6kph and I cycled for 3 hours 34 minutes and 49 seconds.

I decided that there was no way I could cycle to Ratnapura the next day so another change of plans was required. I get the feeling my plans will be changing about once every three days for the next five months. It’s good to feel sufficiently free and unfettered that that frequency of change is possible. 🙂 But apologies to any of you who’d like to know what I’m doing before it happens. 🙂

I learnt several things on that day.

1. It is perfectly possible for me to do lots of cycling around this country (including main roads) – I just need to adjust my expectations and make sure I have several back-up plans.
2. It is possible to fit a bicycle and three passengers in a three-wheeler. It’s not very comfortable, but three-wheelers aren’t exactly comfortable anyway. The point is that it is possible to get the bike in so if I get stuck somewhere I can always hail a three-wheeler (they are everywhere here) and get to wherever I need to go.
3. Luggage makes you heavier. It slows you down. A lot. I have too much stuff and need to get rid of some again.
4. I need to sort out my bag situation to make it more practical.
5. I do not need to carry food or spare drink at all. There are shops selling both every few hundred meters.
6. This country is incredibly beautiful (not a new realisation).
7. The people in this country are really friendly and lovely (also not a new realisation).
8. The sun here burns. I really need to apply suncream a lot and everywhere.
9. See point 6. (It deserves reiterating.)
10. See point 7. (It also deserves reiterating.)

Kath’s Grand Adventure – Chapter Two – Section 1 – Getting Organised

Friday, April 17th, 2009

I use the term ‘getting organised’ as loosely as possible. I think I used my full organisational quota on the English Days and didn’t have any left for my trip. But it’s all ok. 🙂

Since my teaching has now finished (I’m missing it and my students already), I’m now starting Chapter Two of my grand adventure. My plan is now to travel around the country for the next few (3, 4 or 5) months. I’ll be making lots of visits back to Kandy to see everyone there and make sure my students are all still alive, well and doing homework!!

Thursday the 10th of April was the start of Chapter Two.

Given all the work I’d been doing for the English Day I hadn’t had much time to get organised. So Thursday was all a little haphazard and stressed and last minute and I felt like the proverbial chook with no head.

It was only during the day on Wednesday that I had figured out what I was doing on Thursday. I had seen Ranjith at the English Day and had mentioned that I’d like to meet up with him as soon as was possible for him. So he suggested I cycle from Kandy to Ratnapura (about 150kms). I said that sounded good. I thought I could probably do about 70kms in a day and he very kindly said that I could stay with his brother at his parent’s house about halfway between Kandy and Ratnapura. Either Ranjith himself or his daughter or nephew would be there to meet me. I could then cycle on to Ratnapura and stay with him for a few days.

This sounded perfect to me. Working 6 12 hour days in a row and the English Days themselves had put both Alex and I into a state of bizarre delirium (I think the students thought this was quite funny – but that may also be the delirium). Anyway, the point is that I should never have said that I could do 70kms in a day. But at this stage of the story I didn’t realise quite how silly that was. 🙂

I got up early on Thursday morning after a very bad night’s sleep – too excited and stressed and my brain was doing a million miles an hour. I had to go and collect my bike from Kosola (who is an absolute genius and a wonderful human being and I think I have run out of superlatives to describe him) who had attached my cycle computer, luggage rack and dynamo and put my saddle up and done all sorts of other general bike-related stuff. I had to pack (I only have my small black rucksack to take – getting a new bag or some saddle-bags has been on my list for ages but hasn’t actually happened yet). I had to charge my phone. I had to drop all my teaching stuff off at the Junior school so that Alex can continue to brandish a dictionary at Grade 11 students. I had to say goodbye to my family. I had to check where I was going and how to get there. I had to have breakfast.

I had to meet one of my students for the final part of a rather complicated photo exchange procedure.

Get photo taken with 2 students on Wednesday.
Agree to give a copy of the photo to them.
(They don’t have easy email access so direct file transfer to USB is seen as optimal solution.)
The first student has an appropriate USB – but not with him.
Agree to meet him later on Wednesday (before, during or after the party) or on Thursday morning (before leaving) to get the USB and give him the photo.
Both students arrive at the party with said USB.
Kath doesn’t actually have a method of getting the photo from the SD card to the USB at the party so takes the USB to do the transfer when she gets back to the house and has access to the laptop (late on Wednesday night).
Thursday morning the second student comes to the house to collect the first student’s USB, which will then be passed on to him in due course.
Zykes!

The photo, for those of you who are interested will be on my flickr page either now (depending on when you are reading this) or very soon. It’s the one with Kath and the two Grade 11 boys.

Anyway, at about 10:00 my bike was packed (plastic bag tied to luggage rack, rucksack tied over plastic bag). I’d checked my map. My water bottle was full. My lunch was packed in my bag. My bag of homemade milk toffees (thank you Pushpa) was easily accessible. My phone was charged. My big rucksack filled with the stuff I don’t need for the next two weeks had been successfully secreted away. My bag of saris and sari paraphenalia had been stowed (rather than burnt – but there’s still time, it may yet happen). I’d said goodbye to Pushpa, Bandara, Pramodhi and Irantha. I’d dropped the teaching stuff off at the Junior school. I’d handed over the USB. I’d fixed my luggage rack twice (it had fallen off). And I was ready to hit the road.

70kms and about 8 hours of daylight (and glaring sunshine) lay ahead of me. I was on the road and deleriously happy!!!

I’m Not Teaching Anymore

Friday, April 17th, 2009

Zykes! I’m not teaching anymore. I did start by writing “I’m not a teacher anymore”. But I had to change that. I am a teacher. I always will be a teacher. It makes no difference whether I’m employed in an educational context or not, I’m a teacher. To a large extent this is also true for “I’m not teaching anymore”. I will always teach wherever I am and whatever I do.

But, actual classes have now finished for me. This feels weird. I’m going to really miss it. Three months just isn’t long enough! I feel like I’m only just starting to get to know some of the students (there are about 1300 of them so it’s not surprising that that might take a while).

It had occurred to me to see about extending my project and to just keep teaching for another month or two or three or four. But I really do want to see lots of this country. My reasons for coming out to Sri Lanka are numerous and complex, but this trip won’t be a success if I don’t take the opportunity to do some traveling as well as teaching. And I’m really excited about the traveling. I’m excited about the independence and the freedom. I’m excited about the people I’ll meet and the places I’ll see. I’m excited about the challenges I’ll face and how I’ll deal with them. So while not teaching will be sad – traveling will be wonderful.

My visa currently runs out on the 17th of May. So I have a month to try to get it extended. I’d like to extend it till August. My plan is to stay here till June or July depending on money and how homesick I get (mostly money really – much as I miss my friends, I’m not really suffering from homesickness and don’t think I will). Though there is always a chance that I will get sick of the traveling. While it is very nice to have your life on your back and be able to do whatever you want whenever you want, it is also nice not to have to have your life on your back and to have a kitchen you can call your own that you can cook whatever you want in whenever you want to. So I might come home due to kitchensickness rather than homesickness. We’ll see. 🙂

But, I’m not going to be able to spend 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5 months traveling around without going back to Kandy. And when I go back to Kandy I will go to the schools to see the kids and maybe teach a class or two or run an after-school session with interested Grade 11s and/or interested teachers. I have given out my email address and asked lots of people (staff and students alike) to email me. So I may have some English correction work and English language help to do while I’m traveling too. Which will be very nice! 🙂

So even though I’m technically not teaching anymore, the fact that I won’t have regular scheduled classes to do doesn’t mean that I won’t be teaching. And this makes me a very happy bunny! 🙂