August 18, 2008

In two days I am actually getting on a plane and flying to Sri Lanka — WOW! To be honest less than a year ago I probably couldn’t have identified Sri Lanka on a map, I certainly didn’t know anything about its history, struggles, culture, religions, or their languages.

Now, as I’m finally packing my bags, I have grown comfortable with what I think I know about Sri Lanka, even though what I think I know is probably wrong. All the same I can’t help but be excited when I picture myself speaking one of their languages, Sinhalese, or practicing Buddhism, or perhaps Hinduism alongside my host family.

A few days ago I was scared because I’m leaving everything I know for everything I don’t know. However, a few days ago I was in a kayak on a seemingly endless lake that I had never been to before. My boyfriend had never kayaked before so I said I would teach him, not that I really had any idea what I was doing. We took off, and he asked, “Do you know where we’re going?”

“Oh, yeah,” I lied to him and myself. I had no idea; no matter where I looked it was a coast with thick green trees and deep blue water. The lake wasn’t just an open circle — it twisted and turned for miles, and I was pretty sure we weren’t going back anytime soon. We were lost. However, being lost was all the fun, we stumbled upon beauty everywhere we turned. Four hours, and four sore arms later, we pulled the kayak onto a dock, not the right one but still a dock. Two boys came down to see what we were doing and they laughed as they pointed us in the direction of our dock.

That’s how I see the next four months — three and a half in Sri Lanka, and two weeks in Thailand. I’ll be lost, confused, and stick out like a sore thumb, but the whole time I’ll love every twist and turn and I’m sure there will always be someone to point me back in the right direction. I hope!

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