November 3, 2008

The past week has been insane. It is remarkable how much harder it is to accomplish academic tasks when you’re abroad. A couple papers and exams that would have been no big deal at Holy Cross, were an ever looming presence for the past two weeks or so. Luckily that’s all over with now. We’ve finished session 2 which was all our academic classes and now we’ve moved onto the final session independent study!

Our Sinhala exam was the final thing we had to do for session 2 and that was on Halloween. The exam was really tough and we all had wasted a ton of study time by fretting over how hard it was going to be. However, when the last student had finished their oral we all were ready to celebrate Halloween.

The people who run the ISLE center had organized a party for us, which was pretty awesome. It was funny though because it was the antithesis of a college Halloween party. Instead it was very reminiscent of the school sponsored Halloween parties we had in grade school. We all wore costumes that our host mothers had prepared for us and then we had pizza, ice cream and soda. Like I said it was pretty awesome, as the past few months have been very limited on pizza, ice cream and soda.

The seven students are divided into three villages, and so each village had matching costumes. Maria and I representing Kiribathkumbra, came dressed as our host mothers, which meant we looked lovely in nightgowns, house coats, and aprons. Plus, we got the added benefit of scolding everyone for not eating enough and being too skinny. Chris and Kristin representing Kandy town came as Pretas, which are the Buddhist hungry ghost that eat and eat but their appetite can never be satiated. I think the best moment of the night is when Kristin turned to us in her Preta costume and said, “I’m so full I didn’t know that was possible.” We reminded her that she wasn’t actually a Preta. Then Jared, Sarah and Sheila from Anniwatta probably had the most creative costumes. On the northern tour we climbed Sigiriya rock and on the climb up there were all these warning signs saying that noise would provoke the bees to attack. Now we’re not talking normal bees, these were some huge deadly looking bees, and when we got into Sigiriya there were ancient frescoes of very voluptuous women holding flowers. Jared was one of the women from the frescoes and Sarah and Sheila were the bees. We had a fun night.

Saturday night also was really fun because we had the Kandyan dance performance. Nancy, Jared, Maria and I couldn’t hack the dancing or the drumming so we weren’t in the performance, Sarah, Sheila and Kristin were pretty much the whole show as they did three dances and then Sarah and Sheila drummed with Chris. Our assistant director Dan even got his own solo dance. All of us in the audience were highly impressed by how far they had come with the dancing since we had been spinning in circles alongside them.

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