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

Back in…

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Jungle beach

Both of us are a bit tired after a day of discussing, packing and changing plans yesterday, and a long day of traveling today. Now we’ve arrived in… Weligama! (again)
Yes, there was a plan of going inland to Kandy, Ella and other places, but when thinking of seeing new places all the time, learning about history and move every two nights, we realized what we really want is to settle down a while.

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Colombo Fort Railway station Sunday morning

Train rides here are always a bit humbling to us, and filled with learning about cultures, people, ourselves, heat, comforts and luxuries in the West.

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Inside Colombo Fort Railway station

After an hour’s delay even before departure, and with us standing in the isle and no fans onboard, it was nice to roll out of the city and watch the ocean outside of the train.

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Walking from the train towards Weligama city center

When arriving in Weligama, a couple of tuktuk drivers tried to give us tourist prices for a ride, but since we know the area and what’s a reasonable price, we walked down the street and found another driver to take us for the price we offered.

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View from a beach close to the hotel

We got a room at our favorite hotel for the coming night, and tomorrow we’ll go house shopping, hoping to find someplace to rent for the coming month or so.

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Happy to see Mona surfing

The family we’ve spent so much time with here were very happy to have us back and soon had arranged a wonderful dinner for us at their house.

Now our “challenge” is to tell them how much we love them and all of their care, and that we still want to do some cooking for ourselves and that we like to have some time on our own too.

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Did you know that four backpacks and two people fit into one tuktuk?!

Ok, time for some sleep – hopefully without noisy roosters and village entertainment in outdoor speakers!

Lots of salt water and sunshine,
Anders and Wivan

Surprises, we love surprises

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Two year old boy, happy to have his picture taken

The past week has been filled with all kinds of surprises. Mostly good surprises. We’ve been invited to people’s homes for tea, taken out on little tours around the village and in the surrounding area, been out on a fishing boat twice, played with children, swimming with a turtle, bought fresh seafood while snorkeling with fishermen, laughing with new friends, surfing and learned a bit of Sinhala. All those good surprises happen without any planning, we find ourselves in situations we could never have imagined in beforehand. And it’s good fun!

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Wiva, Andrew and Mona in the tuktuk

Yesterday we went for a tour that our friend/”brother”/surf teacher/tour guide Mona had invited us to. When we got into the tuktuk we realized we didn’t really know what we were going to see or what was going to happen along the tour. Something about tea and batik we had understood, and therefor we were quite surprised when the first stop was at a gem, stone and jewelry factory! Nice to see, and after the salesmen tried to sell us expensive jewelry for €1800, we did actually buy a ring to replace my wedding ring that doesn’t fit in this tropical heat. A thin silver ring with a tiny pink stone to remind of Sri Lanka. This one was €15 which more suited our budget.

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Simple, pretty silver ring

After that first stop we drove through beautiful green landscape with rice fields, coconut trees, mountains in the distance, passing small villages, fruit stands along the road and rubber plantations. Next stop was at Galaboda tea plantation where we had a nice tour of the plantation, the factory and then had a tea tasting. The two of us enjoyed the tea tasting of different black and green teas, but the Tuktuk Man and Mona thought the teas weren’t that good without sugar… Most Sri Lankan people like to drink their tea with sugar in it.

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Organic tea plantation

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Tea factory

Another good surprise yesterday was that we’re becoming more and more close to the Sri Lankan family we’ve spent a lot of time with the past week, so yesterday the boys started to make a lot more jokes and laughed with us. We really like that!

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Woman working in tea factory

After the not-sweet-enough tea tasting we took off to a batik factory. Wow! That was a colorful time! And it was nice to see the many steps of making these beautiful batik clothes, bed sheets and decorations.

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Playful pictures

We did buy some clothes at very good prices at the factory, and when leaving we also were encouraged to give the tour guiding lady some tips. Sometimes it is so hard to know how much to give, and yesterday it was clear that 100 Rupees were not enough, her face expression said it all, so we gave 200 and that was apparently a little better.

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Batik clothes drying outside

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Making patterns with hot wax

After the tour and a late lunch at the family’s house, we got another surprise we never would have imagined, first we got invited by a man on the street to see the house he and his family and friends are working on and that he and his future wife will live in. He then invited us to come to the wedding at the house on Friday! He asked us to promise to come, and his friends said they were hoping we would come and that no presents were needed. Of course we want to go, and we said yes and again decided to extend our stay here in Weligama!

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Friendly people giving us coconut water

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Niece and nephew of the groom

Our “plan” at the moment is to head up north to Colombo in the beginning of next week to extend our visas and then go to Negombo where we have a house sit booked.
Who knows what will happen, plans change and surprises might come along the way!

Take care and enjoy whatever surprises today might bring.
//Wivan

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Wax decoration in batik factory

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Sewing in the batik factory

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Coloring

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Coloring in buckets

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Heating away the wax and rinsing the clothes

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Anders buying a sarong

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

Quick update from Sri Lanka

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Slow days at the beach

Let’s see if it’s even possible to post something on the slow internet we’re currently on.

Slow, in a good way, is another way to describe this beautiful and curious island.
We are staying close to a small town in the south, Weligama, and the beaches are lovely, water is warm, sunny all day long. Food delicious (takes a long time to get it, and it’s always worth waiting for), people are nice and our current stay is not in our liking.

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Prison window of our room

Tomorrow we’re moving to another place close by but a bit higher standard (like no ants in the room), and very close to the beach.

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Shade is welcome these days

Tomorrow morning I have a surf date with a local guy, and who knows how that will be – promise to keep you posted. I am by no means a good surfer and by accepting his offer to help me I am taking a huge jump out of my comfort zone.

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Local on the beach

The train ride from Colombo down to Weligama, and the tuktuk rides are stories of their own.
Lots of waves and sunshine!
//Wivan and Anders

The Plan for 2016

Map, guide books, notebook, coffee cup and a postcard

Map, guide books, notebook, coffee cup and a postcard

There is no exact plan. But we have some sketches and ideas and a few dates that are set. Now, when we’re exploring this warm water, sunny beach-and-palm tree-area of South East Asia, we take one step at a time. Our next destination, Sri Lanka, was a choice of where there’s dry season and good diving in January/February. Then we checked out the visa rules and from there we took the next step of booking tickets, checking out places to stay and did some basic research.

Anders making air rings

Anders making air rings

On the 8th of February it’s Chinese New Year and lots of people have vacation the weeks before and after. Several friends have told us to consider our choice of place to stay during that period because it can get very crowded at tourist areas. So, we might extend our visas for Sri Lanka and stay in some quiet location during Chinese New Year. We’ll see what happens within the coming weeks.

Singapore getting ready for Chinese New Year

Singapore getting ready for Chinese New Year

The next set date we have is late May or beginning of June, when we’re going to a family reunion in the US and one of our nephews is graduating from high school. And then, after that… there’s a plan of going to Sweden over the summer and Wivan wants to work during the summer. After that we don’t know! Probably we’ll want to go someplace warm again the next fall and winter, but we haven’t decided yet. And we don’t know if we’ll be working or doing volunteer work, if we’ll continue to just explore life and living or if we’ll be diving and surfing around the globe like the beach bums we are becoming.

Wivan jumping into a river in Bali

Wivan jumping into a river in Bali

We have decided to live and use our money while we can and still have a lust to explore and try different ways of living and locations. Our commitment is to live life fully, to follow our dreams even if it’s different from how “most people” do things. To give ourselves and each other space to grow as people and to see what happens when we follow our inner longings.

Anders after snorkling in Lovina, Bali

Anders after snorkling in Lovina, Bali

It’s a privilege to be able to live like this, and to have the means of time and money to be able to, and it’s also a choice to not have a house of our own or to settle down again just yet.

Wivan freediving in Lovina, Bali

Wivan freediving in Lovina, Bali

There are ups and downs of living on “the road” like this, and something we experience now is that we miss seeing friends and family, and to have people to hang out with. Sure, we love spending time on our own and to have lots of quiet moments, but there’s also a need of being around other people.

After sliding down a waterfall in Bali

After sliding down a waterfall in Bali

We welcome the year of 2016 with all that it might bring, and we are open to learn, listen and try. Our intention is to live with our hearts and minds open, to make choices from clear “YES!”-answers rather than what’s logic – and we’re curious to see how that effects us and the world around.

Morning boat ride in Bali, November 2015

Morning boat ride in Bali, November 2015

With lots of love,
Anders and Wivan

Happy 2016

Hi,

Just wanted to check in and say ‘hi’, wishing you a great start of 2016 and hope you’re doing well.

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Breakfast 1st of January

We’re still doing our cat sit in Singapore and have one week left. In the past few days we’ve been doing a bit of touring, we’ve celebrated a quiet New Year’s Eve in the apartment, and started this new year with quite a bit of rain in this shopping-obsessed city.

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By the Singapore river

In a week’s time we’re leaving to get some more beach life, and this time we’re trying out Sri Lanka for the first time in our lives! What we’ve heard is that there’s some really good diving and surfing there, and of course we want to see some of the tea plants, and the cultural history. But mostly we look forward to sunshine and chillaxin’.

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Bronson the cat, chillaxin'

Ok, we’ll be back again soon. Take care and have fun!

// Wivan and Anders

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Board games on New Years Eve

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View from Marina Bay Sands 57th floor

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Posing in Gardens by the bay

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Cartoon café