Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Hill Country Blues

Our break in the hill country was great, frustrations with lack of info, signs, tourist 'advice' notwithstanding. We stayed in a colonial style bungalow, built in 1908, complete with fireplaces in every room. It felt quite like a typical church conference venue, a rather shabby, faded country house with rooms full of dark old furniture, very high ceilings, blankets on the beds, and showers that don’t work properly. I loved it, it felt so familiar! Oh and outside there were herbaceous borders. It was like an English country garden (well, the sort in Merchant Ivory films anyway)

But bliss oh bliss, it was so cool, and NOT humid. It was so refreshing. Cool mornings and evenings and days like a (good) English summer. I realised suddenly how normal I felt, you are not aware of your body for once, and how sweaty and sticky you are feeling. I felt human. Our 6 yr old was so excited about his bed too, because it had sheets and a blanket. He lay in bed the 1st night giggling and saying ‘oh I love my bed it’s so cosy and snuggly’

We met a consultant with M's NGO on our 1st night and he suggested we come and look at one of the Area Development Projects they run. They work with the tea pickers, almost all Tamil, very poor, earning about $3.50 a day. The consultant said visitors “see the beauty of the tea plantations but don’t hear the cry of the people” After work they can be seen gathering firewood to take home to cook on in the evenings. Lots of children helping too of course. It was great for me to see, some ‘work on the ground’ and interesting for our son too.

Our daughter had a very low key 2nd birthday. We had balloons, and eventually found a place which served tea and cake. Not an easy find.

I am quite excited that next week I have been invited to someone's house with my daughter, for the 1st time in 3 mths, and a woman from the mums and toddlers group is coming to see me on Tues. M says I need to be more proactive, but people aren't that friendly and it is hard as the new person to always be doing all the running. I feel like I have lost so much confidence since being here, not understanding how things work, feeling very down much of the time, not able to do any of the things I normally do, not having things to do with my daughter, and having to spend so much time trying to sort out yet another aspect of our life here.

I also went to a children's party with A and A this week. I was relieved to discover that parties seem to have an international format, with bouncy castle, bunting, fairly recogniseable party games, and the usual fare of 'sugar shock' party tea. And the usual tyranny of party bags too.....

This week we have also had our 1st overnight guest, a colleague from Galle, who confirmed that the spare room bed mattress was indeed awful, so we will replace it, as they only cost 30 dollars here for a foam one. It was so nice (if a little sweaty) cooking a meal for someone (other than the hubby of course) felt quite civilised and almost 'normal'. We really pushed the boat out and cracked open the gin. Would have been great but for the local tonic. Strangely I didn't seem to mind.........

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