When enough is enough

Regarding the money: we will not send you any money. If you are looking for economic help you need to find someone else.

Usually I prefer to be polite and nice when writing letters, but today I had enough and went for the very clear line above.

image

We payed for this roof repair

Since leaving Sri Lanka we have kept an e-mail conversation going between us and “our” Sri Lankan family. They asked us for money (€500) to celebrate their New Year in April, and last week we recieved another e-mail where they asked for money to buy a three-wheeler/tuktuk.

Living in the Western world, under circumstances not  possible to compare to how the locals in Weligama live, it was very hard for us in the beginning not to give money every day when we were there. But bit by bit, we learned about the culture, their habits and thought a lot about what actually would help in the long run.
And sorry to say; giving money is most likely not a long-term solution for people in a developing country.

image

Some fishing boats are owned by Europeans

When speaking to help-organizations and finding out how they work, it’s seldom money but education that helps over time.
For us, it seemed like teaching English to  locals was a good thing – when they speak better English, it’s easier for them to go into the tourism industry that’s about to boom.

Another thing would be to talk about saving money, to have a small amount at hand when something unpredictable happens (or when the rain period comes, as it does every year). Many people in the villages live from day to day. Regarding teaching people about economy, we got stuck in language difficulties. As we did when having ideas of different ways to make money.
So it seemed to always come back to the language.

image

Food market in Sri Lanka

Anyways, today I decided to be very clear about our view of sending money. Usually Anders and I discuss this before sending, but today I just had enough and wrote an answer directly.

We are now realizing why some people asked us in the beginning if these family members were taking such good care of us just because they wanted our money. Many Westerners have had experiences like ours, and ended up giving, giving, giving. And I would prefer to actually help the development in some way, maybe by finding some good material for learning English that we could send them. Perhaps something on DVD so they not only read but also can hear the language.

image

The English memory game I made for practice with village girls

Today I practice saying ‘no’ when enough is enough.
//Wivan

Advertisements

Six months later – back in Sweden

image

Waiting for the train at Kastrup

Yesterday morning we arrived back in Copenhagen in Denmark, went though the new ID-controls before getting on the train and then had to show our ID:s again on the train in Sweden.

After about 28 hours of traveling we were met by mom at the station in Karlskrona and went to have lunch together.

image

Cold, getting off the train

It all felt very familiar, even though we haven’t been in Sweden over the past six months – it’s clear how used we are to this environment, to the style of houses, traffic and food. There are few surprises, except for some new bills with Astrid Lindgren on (20 SEK).

image

On the ferry

And yet, when opening the water tap, I am very aware of that this water is very clean and I won’t need to boil it before drinking (in Sri Lanka too we were drinking tap water without boiling it, after staying there a while).
Things in Sweden are very organized and clean, the streets might have traffic but there are seldom any honking and now cows on the roads!

image

Walk by the sea

We already miss the rice and curry from Sri Lanka, and the fun people we have spent a lot of time with the last months. And yet it’s so lovely to sleep in a bed with two (!) covers, in a place that’s quiet.

image

This is "our" house at mom's and Bosse's place

It’s nice to be back in Sweden, it’s wonderful to be able to speak with people and to have some of the foods we have missed. The weather is cold and we need to get some things from our storage – we hadn’t planned to be back until June.

image

A sunny walk by the sea

One step at a time, we meet this “new” and yet familiar country where we have lived most of our lives. With a deeper understanding of how privileged we are to be here, to have a choice and to be free, we happily meet the spring in Europe.

image

Red branches on a bush

Without stress we can get used to the weather and foods, and let ourselves enjoy all the things and people we have missed.
We love contrasts, and like to see the differences of places and cultures. There still is no plan for what we will do or live in the future, that’s something we like to keep open. For now, we are here.

With love, sunshine and long underwear,
Wivan

Qrazy in Qatar

image

French onion soup at the airport

Stop over in Doha, Qatar and spend some hours here before the next flight that will take us to Copenhagen.

This is an airport that’s a bit famous for being cold. And it is! I have my wool sweater on and am happy we planned for cold weather ahead.

image

Do you see Anders?

We ended up at the same French restaurant as last time at this airport. The service and food is good and tonight there’s live piano music. Feels like a good relaxing time between the flights.

image

Long line with mostly men at Colombo airport, Sri Lanka

Right now it really feels like being “in between”; countries, time zones, circles of friends, cultures, cooking and eating habits and routines.

Sometimes when traveling a bit further, it is like being in no-mans-land – nothing and everything applies, you meet people from all around the world, the internal time zone is off and I often wonder when I will wake up from the dream I am in… As if where I am and the situation is not real.

Ok, time for some tea and music!
Dreamy greetings from Qatar.

//Wivan

Ready for take off

Or as ready as can be. Bags are packed, we had a swim in the ocean before breakfast, yesterday we gave small presents to the closest friends here and we will get a ride in a car to the airport this afternoon.
It’s both nice and sad to leave, as it is most of the time in life. Ups and downs,  good and bad, happy and sad.

image

Out bying spices to bring

For us, it feels like we’ll come back to Sri Lanka in the future. But life here, and the look of things will most certainly change a lot over the coming years – tourism is yet in the beginning of what’s to come.

We are so grateful for the possibility to be here this time, with the people we have met and to experience a place so beautiful and nice, yet unspoilt. Genuine, that probably is a good word to describe it. Experiences, people and the food feels genuine.

image

Last night with the family

So, what awaits us now? More than 24 hours of traveling; car, planes and train.
And then we arrive in Karlskrona and take the ferry out to the small island of Aspö where we’ll be living the coming 6 months. (as the plan looks now).

How it will feel to land in the +1 degree weather? We don’t know. Sweaters are packed to access easily in the hand luggage, and we have asked mom to lend us some hats and socks as we arrive on the island.

image

Yesterday I went with a friend who got a haircut

In the bags we bring memories and presents from people here in Weligama, and our wet swim suits!

image

After surfing a few weeks ago

Live like a monkey

image

Sunrise with the monkeys

Just outside our room is a large mango tree. The fruits are not yet ripe, but to the monkeys the fruit taste just perfect and they come daily to feed on the green fruits and sometimes being noisy and let us know they’re here.
This morning I went outside before six o’clock because the monkeys had given me a wake up call, and I wanted to take the chance see the sunrise.

image

Monkeys in the mango tree

This has been one of the best experiences during our winter in Asia, to live so close to a group of wild monkeys and get to see them daily. To see the babies play in the top of a coconut tree, to almost step in monkey’s poo, hear them chatter, see them carefully climb out on the limbs to grab another mango, being able to watch them from only a couple of meters away.

image

One of the monkeys

To the owners, the monkeys are a bit too hungry – there probably won’t be many mangos left when they’re supposed to be ripe. We’re thankful for the opportunity to see these smart, fast, flexible little monkeys live their lives just outside our door and enjoy their company a lot!

This is life, right!?

image

Beautiful treasures from the beach

In several conversations over the past days, our Sri Lankan friends where we stay, have ended our talks with the phrase “this is life, right?!”.

And yes, this is life – all our experiences, feelings, thoughts, people we meet and places we visit, all is part of life. And a part of living.

image

Tea and talk

So, one part of life right now, is that we have decided to leave Sri Lanka earlier than first planned. There are several reasons for changing our decision, and the main one is that we want to settle down for a while. To be someplace where it’s more quiet and where we can communicate more easily, where we have family and friends who knows us since before, and where we can integrate all the impressions, insights and understanding we’ve gotten over the past months.

image

Good bye present for the Sri Lankan family

We leave on Wednesday already, and have done our lists of what we’ve missed the most in Sweden and what we’ve loved about Sri Lanka. The insights and lessons we’ve learned have started to become more clear and we see all of this as a part of living – this is what we want and need right now, so we act on it.

Traveling is not important as such, but to be true to ourselves and to live as fully as possible is.

image

Tropical sunset

So, four and a half months in tropical weather is about to come to an end. And we meet it (mostly) with peace in mind. We have been in rather warm climates the past 10 months and it will probably be a bit cold to arrive in Sweden on Thursday…

image

Tuktuk rides won't happen in Sweden

A few more days left with our friends and the Sri Lankan family before take off.

With love!
Anders and Wivan

Morning time

image

This morning; warm water, coffee and writing

It’s so nice with the possibility to do whatever we want during the mornings and days here. Where we stay, the sun shines gently in through the windows from 6.15.

image

Some mornings: surfing

And when stepping out, it’s mildly warm and feels welcoming. Some mornings we’re greeted by noisy monkeys, other days only the birds.

image

Mango tree outside our room

It’s taken a rather long time to really sink into all of this at a deeper level. All the small treasures of tropical climate and “winter” in Asia.

image

Breakfast, tea and talking

Today, we’ll take the next step towards the future. With gratitude to all that we have, and all that we have experienced so far. After a few days with a runny nose and a cold, we’re sinking deeper into the rest and joy of being alive and healthy.

Xoxo
“Hendru” and Wiva