Full moon ceremony

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Walking to the temple

Yesterday was full moon day, and the Buddhists here in Sri Lanka celebrate that day with a special ceremony.
We’ve now learned that you’re not supposed to eat eggs on a full moon day, and it’s very good to go to the temple and make offerings – especially at around 6 pm.

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Full moon, looks almost like the sun

The family had invited us to come, and told us that it was good to wear white. So we did.
And by Anders wearing a sarong, and I having a white shirt with batik patterns, people were commenting on how Sri Lankan we looked ;-).

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Not everyone wore white

After walking to the village temple we were given flowers to put on the stands in front of the pictures of different gods. Then we walked to a monastary where we got a place in a long line of people, where everybody was supposed to touch and carry the many baskets and trays of offerings before they were handed into the temple.

Above our heads, huge bats started to fly off into the sky when it turned dark. Close to the temple site was a cobra nest (!), and we had to walk quickly between all the statues and holy places to keep up with the others… Oil lamps, incense sticks and flowers – we did it all.

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"Small dinner" after the ceremony

Afterwards we were invited to have what Malika, the amma (mother) of the family calls a small dinner… It’s always lots of food! On a full moon, milk-rice and sambal is good to eat, and we also got coconut roti (bread), fish curry and shrimp. Fresh pinapple and bananas for dessert.

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First time the family ate with us!

This dinner was very special, since for the first time almost all members of the family ate together with us! The men took turns at sitting by the table, and the women sat on chairs beside or behind us. Usually we as guests eat separately, and the family comes in to talk a little, put on more food on our plates and then eat after we have left. Now that has changed, and it feels good!

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"Take away coconuts"

When leaving the dinner we got two coconuts to bring to the hotel, to drink today. And when finally getting through, they were very good!

Happy Sunday!
// Wivan and Anders

Temple time and tuktuk

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Temple visit outside Weligama

Yesterday was another day of wonderful experiences together with our new friends and the family that has taken us on as part of them.

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Prayer flags at the temple

In the afternoon we went to one small and one big Buddhist temple nearby.

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Always a tuktuk

Surfer Mona has a friend who owns a tuktuk, ‘Tuktuk Man’, and he drives us to the good surf beach in the morning, drove to the temple and also in to town.

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Big Buddha and small Wiva

We’ve been snorkeling at a great little beach with a wonderful reef, had tea, fruit and cookies at the family’s house, and last night they cooked dinner for us again.

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Tea tray, bananas and cookies

It’s something very special to experience this community of friends, families and the local life and we’re so grateful for the opportunity.

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Fish bbq on the gas stove

The kids in the neighborhood are always saying hello and sometimes want to do a high five with us, most people are curious and smiling when we come by, and we try and learn a few words here and there.

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Anders in front of the family's house

Till next time!
//Anders and Wivan

Andrew and Wiva; Tourist People

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On a fishing boat

In one sense we are what the locals call ‘Tourist People’, meaning not being locals. In another sense we’re becoming a bit more local since we’re all of a sudden brought into family life and new friendships thanks to stepping out of our usual paths and saying ‘yes’ and ‘thank you’ much more often than before.

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On the way back to the village

So, this morning we met our new friend Harosh on the beach to go surfing, but he needed to go someplace else and asked his surfer friend Mona to take over the student Wiva. The board that was going to be for free was broken and they went to rent a board for me.

All in all, renting a board and paying the  teacher Mona for the surf lesson was 900 rupies, which is about € 4.50. The board was smaller and more wobbly than I have used before, so it sure was a challenge. And so much fun!

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Surf teacher Mona

Afterwards we were invited to go along on a fishing boat in the afternoon, and when meeting up with Mona, we went to his family’s house, met his mother, sister and father and together with his dad we took off to the harbour.
Then we spent a couple of hours out on the sea, watching the sun set, waiting for tuna fish to come in (they didn’t show up today) and were asked many questions by the ten fishermen.

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A big bag of smaller fish

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Small fish

When we asked if we were supposed to pay the boat owner for taking us on, we were instead asked to pay “drinking money” and join them for a small dinner and have some arrak together. So we said yes, and went back to Mona’s family house where we were invited to shower if we needed to and had some sweet tea. Then “Andrew” (Anders) and Mona went to buy the arrak while “Wiva” was showed around the house, kitchen and drank more tea and practiced language with one of the fishermen.

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Catch of the day

We had so many small fried fishes while drinking arrak with some of the men and as we were ready to go home, the mother had cooked a full big meal for us and set a table in one of the bedrooms…

Leaving was no option and taking just a small portion was out of question. We ate! Good food, and generous servings.

Everybody seems to go out of their ways to give us fabulous options of things to do, places to visit and people to meet.
On the list is; surfing in beginner friendly beach, fishing from small boat, tuktuk tour to the jungle, fish bbq dinner at Mona’s house, temple visit, snorkeling and maybe something else.

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Happy fishermen

Tomorrow it’s surf lesson for me, snorkeling for the both of us and maybe some fishing for “Andrew” in the afternoon. And if we have understood things correctly, we’re having bbq dinner. Or something else happens along the way, everything is spontaneous and easy to arrange it seems like.

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The catamaran boat we went fishing with

Gratitude, joy and surprise are the main thoughs and feelings at the moment. Gosh, we’re having fun and feel alive!

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Another boat from the village

With all our warmest wishes,
Wivan and Anders

Yummy Saturday dinner for €1,3

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In this place I bought dinner

When passning this place to go for dinner last night, we were amazed by how good it smelled from the grill and how many people were eating outside.

So tonight we decided to bring home some street food, and were totally satisfied with both price and taste.

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Blurry pic of the men packing our food

Not only was the service fast and good, the guys working in the stand were super nice and friendly.

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Small paper packages

Smart food containers made of plastic lined paper, and stampled into shape.

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One portion of rice, meat and sauce

It was so delicious and very much worth the cost of 20.000 Rupiah per portion, that is about 1,30 Euro or 1,5 USD.

Just wanted to share a really good Bali food-moment! Anders is now planning for us to pick up food from the same place two times tomorrow!

//Wivan

Concert, snacks and dressing for a party

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Before concert

Earlier tonight we found ourselves in a church, waiting for a concert to start. We’d been invited by friends of the host we’re staying at for the moment, and the only thing we knew about the concert was that the musician was to play a Celtic drum of some sort.

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Celtic music

It turned out to be a wonderful concert, with a German musician who played several different Irish instruments, and sang. Afterwards we were invited to take part in a mingel-party with great snacks and wine. All was free, and we were smiling at how nice things seem to turn out when we let them happen.

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Wonderful mix of snacks

And last night, we had invited some friends over for dinner, and together with our hosts we planned and cooked a really good, yet simple, meal that everybody was satisfied with. It’s so nice here, that coming together with friends and family really is important for most people and the step from thinking of inviting someone over, to actually doing it, is rather short.

At this dinner we also enjoyed to be able to use some of the pieces of our wardrobe that are for “party”, actually a simple way of just making our regular outfits go a bit more festive, or to spice everything up a little with a pretty necklace and a shirt.

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Wivan with a necklace and a headband

When it’s turned a bit cooler, like it has here now, it’s no longer warm enough for Wivan to wear a skirt or a summer-dress, so the long pants have to do.

Now we’re ready for another week of “workaway”; a few hours of work in exchange for food an accomodation. And at this place we’re really being spoiled and loved to the maximum!

// Anders and Wivan

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Anders cooking last night

This kindness kicks ***

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Two eggs, fresh from the chicken house

It’s overwhelming and humbling to recieve all the gifts, help, care and friendly gestures we are met by every day.

Before leaving Sweden, we blogged about how we needed to practice recieving, that we’re more used to giving and now it’s time to accept help and things from others.

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Last weekend we got to go up on a Mountain with friends

So, we’ve thought about this, and have been recieving a lot. Accepting the wonderful fact that people do want to help out, that so many we meet enjoy giving to us and taking us with them to different places.

Last week we were invited for dinner to a couple we’ve only recently met. There was no end to the generosity they showed us, like eating pancakes made from flour, eggs and milk from their own farm for example. Served with whipped cream and jam – also from their farm. And vegetables and meat and liquor and…

Wivan was so excited she got the last two pancakes in a doggy bag for the next day 😉 And we also got to bring a couple of eggs home directly from the chicken house.

It’s also been nice to feel welcome at the local pub evenings where expats and locals meet and have a beer or glass of wine on Friday evenings. Last Friday we brought a new house sitting “colleague” along, so she got to meet some of this generosity as well. Oh, the time before that, the first thing that happened was someone buying us drinks as soon as we walked through the doors!

Anders at a 5-star hotel in Cairo, a treat from our hosts there

Anders at a 5-star hotel in Cairo, a treat from our hosts there

And we’ve been shown around in the area, driven to markets, been given presents and all sorts of wonderful little things. This was truly nothing we expected before we got here, and we had never even imagined anything like it when we were thinking about our house sits and the time we had planned in France or other parts of the world.

We have been giving a lot to others, and now we certainly enjoy recieving all the love, care and help we get. Thanks to everyone – let’s all see what we can give or share with others the coming days.

// Anders & Wivan

Cairo baby, yeah!

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Check in at Toulouse airport

We left “our” little village at 10.30 Wednesday morning, got a ride to the airport and now, about 17 hours later we’re settling down in our hotel room we’re staying in until our new house sit hosts pick us up late afternoon.

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Toulouse airport

It’s been a good time with a layover in Istanbul, Turkey.

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Ladies room in Istanbul airport

We had dinner at the airport in Istanbul, a surprisingly good meal and a great waiter who picked up on Wivan’s interest in drawing…

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Oh yes! We got color pencils

And, except for the mouse picture we also got some blank sheets and made a little Christmas card for our waiter, Umut.

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Christmas greeting made at the dinner table

We’ve been well taken care of from the moment we entered Cairo airport and are very comfortable in our luxurious room at the Dusit Thani hotel in New Cairo.

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Chillaxing before going to bed

//Anders and Wivan

Oh, we almost forgot! On the plane from Toulouse to Istanbul we met Jeff, a new international friend who’s on his way home to the Phillipines over the holidays. When life is giving you good surprises – enjoy them!

Anders, Wivan and Jeff arrived in Istanbul

Anders, Wivan and Jeff arrived in Istanbul

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Airport survival kit