Resetting; creating new ways

After the blog post last week, with more questions than answers, we’ve let ourselves off the hook for a while. We’ve relaxed into the mood of tiredness, confusion and tried to “live the questions”, like the quote by Rainer Maria Rilke that Helena wrote in a comment.

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A butterfly of some kind

For a couple of days we simply didn’t answer any local calls – we simply decided to have a vacation and change our pattern of doing things. No planned events, no promises and no set times or saying yes just because it’s too hard to explain why not.
In this time, and the following days, we’ve also made sure not to make any big decisions, but to let ourselves be in a space of not knowing what we want to do of all of this. Just be.

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Sunday morning surf

The people working at and running the guest house where we stay have been very nice and helpful during this shift, taking special orders for foods we want, letting us be a bit more flexible and make sure we’re doing well and get what we want.

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Wivan love string hoppers for breakfast

Anders have spent time watching movies in the room, I’ve taken walks on my own and slipped away from some of the many conversations that are easy to get into just by looking at someone one second too long. Surfing together a couple of mornings, reading and asking for separate dishes for breakfast and dinner – not always eating the same food just to make it easier for others, but to get what we really want to have. And we’ve eaten some of the meals in our room instead of in the restaurant.

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Sunrise in Weligama

In these few days that have passed, a new calmness have started to settle, and also an understanding of how tiresome it is to adapt; to try new foods, places and to most of the time try and make sure we don’t insult anyone by saying no to their invitations. We’ve had great experiences with many people along the way thanks to them letting us be part of their lives, and it’s also taken a lot of energy to try to understand, to be around people and to communicate without having a complete shared language.

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Surfing Sri Lanka

With help from friends and family memebers, we’ve also started to see more clearly how used we’re to having time and space for ourselves, to be able to retreat into a quiet house or nature, to simply not having people around – something that’s common in Sweden and parts of Europe, but very rare in Asia.

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Not many people in the water early mornings

These are cultural behaviors and ways of living that we’d like to mix, but that up till now have been totally separated, and that’s also part of why we feel tired and overwhelmed at times.

Now we’ve settled into staying here in Sri Lanka, for now, and take one day at a time, not planning or booking too much and letting others “kidnap” our time just because we try and say Yes more often. We still want to feel that we’re able to choose what we want and need rather than to be nice to others.

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Happy and tired after surfing

This has been a good reminder of patterns we’ve had since long time, patterns and behaviors that are easy to fall back into. To do things out of habit rather than out of choice. It takes for us to slow down a bit, to build new ways of communication with our friends and the family here, to reset the way of approaching invitations and also to be clear about what we want, and make the space for us to do more of what we want and feel good about. It can still be to spend time together with others, maybe not so often though. If that is to be a bit “awkward” or different, so be it, it’s time to be grown up in that too and just be comfortable in being different.

Take care and see if you can listen a bit more closely to what you need today.

// Wivan and Anders

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Surf's up!

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“Hendru! Cats piss bag!”

On Saturday we went for a swim with some of the village kids, like we’ve done over the past weeks here in Weligama. Usually the girls and some of the mothers go swimming on Saturdays, and lately also some boys have tagged along. We like to join them in this little routine, and enjoy playing, swimming, diving, practicing English and Sinhala and spending time together in the water.

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Kids swimming and playing

This past weekend something new happened; one of the older boys had a mask and snorkel that Anders (Andrew) got to use for a while. At some point when Anders had his head above the surface, he heard:
“Hendru! Cats piss bag!” from the boy that gave him his mask. And Andrew (Anders) asked him to repeat it, since he didn’t understand what was with the bag and the cats piss.

The boy gave Anders a plastic bag and again said: “Hendru! Cats piss bag!”, and Anders realizes that the boy wants him to catch a fish into the bag. ‘Andrew! Catch fish bag’.

Sometimes the sentences and pronunciation of words creates a bit of confusion for us. And of course, at a time like this, it also makes a really good story of when the boy came to talk about the cats piss bag.

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Refreshment after swimming

This is to…

… missing people and places we have met during our lives, to family and loved ones we think of, to missing Sweden and all its lovely weirdness, to nature and beauty, to tears and laughter, to love and loss, to life and death. This is to all the things that are part of living and still not understanding one single thing.

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Lotus flower

Last night we stayed up late, talking about what we want and need right now.

All of a sudden we realized we easily get caught up in what is happening around us here, and that we quite often do things when what we really need in that moment is to take a deep breath and ask ourselves what we want to do or what’s most needed for us right now.

Saying yes to invitations, or to take another step into local life in order to learn and understand more is at times extremely tiresome and challenging. Lots of fun of course, and tiresome.

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Moon and palm trees

We start to understand how used we are to having time on our own, to be able to walk out a door without meeting a single person (yes, in Sweden one can actually be alone rather often), how we are longing for the sometimes isolated life many Swedish people live – that we also not always like – it is nice when people come together to help and care for each other.

We start to wonder how to get the mix we’d like to have – to have a place to stay where we can choose when to meet with others and when to be alone. Where people greet and care for each other, are willing to help and still give one another privacy. Where it’s ok to say yes to dinner today, and no thanks tomorrow. Where there are less questions about how we choose to lead our lives and more acceptance for differences. Where the climate is good and there is an openness to views if life we’re not familiar with. Where love flows and there’s a big acceptance for people.

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How did we end up helping to repair this roof?

Sure, we’re the first to say that we are all responsible for creating a way of living and an surrounding environment that we like and can thrive in. And yet there are certain things we as humans can not control, and most certainly we can not change others – only ourselves. So who are we, Anders and Wivan, in the middle of all these thoughts and longings?

Right now I think we have more questions than answers, and accept that fact. Who knows what will happen today or tomorrow. We’ll take our responsibility for ourselves and see to our needs, and from that we see what happens and where we end up.

With love, gratitude and many questions,
Wivan

Creativity at play

Do you remember?

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Starting a game of memory

An idea came and I took action right away. Created a memory game for us to play with the family – a combination of doing something fun together, and to practice words.

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A box of crackers, a cup and a pen

At bed time I often play a game or two of memory on my tablet, to practice my memory before sleeping. And now I realized it could be a fun way to work with English and Sinhala for all of us.

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21 pairs of pictures

I had fun making it, getting to use my pens and creativity to draw all the different pictures.

So tonight tried the game with the daughter of the family after dinner, and it worked out rather well.

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Not matching

She’s willing to practice, and we all learn things together – and have fun! This game also strenghten our overall communication skills and our relationships. So, for the next “lesson” we want to find something else to do, play or use as a help. Mostly, it’s spoken English that needs to be improved, and to have a few pictures to use as a base is good for small conversations and role plays.

So we’ll see what we come up with!

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Pineapple, boat, house, cup, chair...

Communication goes both ways

And so do misunderstandings.

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Egg hoppers and tea for breakfast

It’s sometimes a challenge to accept the fact that we quite a few times don’t understand our friends invitations, information and actions here in Sri Lanka. Some times we do, but a lot of times we’re confused – did we say yes to having dinner tonight or were we actually talking about breakfast tomorrow? And then we remind our Swedish thinking of doing “right” that it’s ok not to understand. The others probably don’t understand either and somehow all of us take it from there.

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Beans on toast - a favorite for Anders

We might get a call from somebody asking where we are, or they think we’re a bit odd not showing up. And yet another time we stand on their doorstep and take them by surprise, expecting lunch but apparently our message didn’t go through…

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Rainy morning

It is a good way to practice being a bit more relaxed and not focus too much on doing “right” or being correct, but rather improvise to the best of our ability, to keep an open mind and go with what happens. Sometimes a bit tiring, but also very rewarding, and certainly something we will have use for during the rest of our lives.

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Stray dog relaxing while we eat

With the mind open – what can you learn today?

//Wivan

Andrew and Wiva: Valentine’s

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Lunch in Mirissa today

The past few days people here in Weligama have reminded us that Valentine’s Day was coming up.
We didn’t expect it to be a thing for Sri Lankan’s, but apparently they were quite aware of it, and if that’s because of tourist places having parties today, or it’s info from the internet we don’t know.

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Papaya juice at a beach restaurant

A 14-year old girl told me yesterday:
“Tomorrow Valentine’s Day. Andrew and Wiva, Valentine’s.” and then she giggled with great expectation in her face.

Today a fisherman called to tell us about the big catch (1 ton) of fish, and he happily greeted me:
“Happy Valentine’s Day, yeah!” and laughed.

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Sunday in the shade

And then the tuktuk driver, when we asked to stop by a supermarket:
“Oh, so the husband can buy Valentine present for Madam. Maybe rose flowers!”.
We didn’t do any of the Valentine’s stuff with hearts and flowers but Anders who also is named Vallentin, got a small present that he had asked for – a new sarong.

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Papaya juice

We did go surfing together in the morning and had a good time in the waves; Anders third session and he’s now getting up on the board properly, and I caught my first green waves today! And again, some fun snorkeling in the afternoon. What a luxury to stay close to spots with great surfing, swimming and snorkeling!

With joy and gratitude: Good night!
//Wivan

Hot snorkeling day

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Inspired by colors and shapes of the ocean

A warm day with power loss = no AC or fans, no opening of the fridge and basically just accepting what is.

In the morning we spent a couple of hours with our Sri Lankan family and went swimming with the kids of the village. They usually go swimming on Saturdays, and we like to go with them. Today meant a lot of language practice – both for them and us!

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Power is back, and Internet = Duolingo for Anders

After swimming it was of course time to eat amma Malika’s home cooked food. Well, there’s time to eat at her place most of the time we come by! Today we got some sweets and tea before having rice and two types of curry, plus a sambal with fresh carrot.

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Friends visiting

We’ve also studied the monkeys again today, they have a path they take most days, in the trees just outside our guest house and we love to watch them as they pick fruits, leaves and jump from one tree to the other.

In the late afternoon we went snorkeling for the third time at a reef outside Jungle beach, and today was just amazing!
So many different fishes, corals, shapes and colors. It was a very good time in the water!

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Hammock

Now we’re relaxing, drawing, practicing some language and just thanking ourselves and the universe for another great day to be alive.

With love,
Anders and Wivan