Congratulations, you are now reading the blog of the "most beautiful girl in the world" validated by the man selling knives and other miscellaneous items on the street.
After a few weeks of being annoying we have got proper internet connection again so I will be sending a deluge of emails to everyone. Thinking of last month's blog it was a wee bit depressing, sorry about that, I want my blogs to reflect everything in Sri Lanka, so that when I look back I can remember everything that happened. Don't worry- this one is back to me bragging about the amazing time we're having and how amazing it is to live in Sri Lanka J. Again thank you everyone for emailing and writing this month I always really appreciate you taking the time to write/email- even if it may take me a wee while to reply.
This month I feel like someone has secretly taped a sign to my back which in animal speak reads "CHASE ME". So far we have been chased down by the street by a rampaging and terrified cow, an angry dog, a monitor lizard and a man. None of them have actually got near us as we adopted a very effective tactic of screaming and running. I don't think anyone quite realises the power of the simple scream which implies everything that you can't articulate at the time from "I'm terrified, to "watch out there's a massive cow with horns running towards you, it's absolutely petrified as it just about got hit by a bus".
Other animals spotted this month:
· A massive turtle which strolled out of the water and waddled up next to where we were eating to lay it's eggs. AMAZING
· A 3-4 foot snake which slithered into our barred door while I was sitting at the desk a few feet away- scared away by an effective scream from myself.
I'm really, really enjoying teaching again. Mainly because I have good fun and because I have good fun the kids enjoy it, cause they enjoy it I enjoy it etc. It's like the circle of life. Anyway I get to go in, sing songs, teach some words, run about, read a book, play games and get followed around by 5 year olds who find everything I say hilarious and hug us to death. Actually last week Erin and I locked ourselves in our classroom as the grade 1 teacher was off and they would not leave us alone, which was fine for the first hour….
You will be shocked to hear that we've hardly able to do any classes this week, very unusual of course. Ahem. The children are doing end of term tests- which of course means two weeks of not working.
Higlights of teaching this month:
· Teaching grade 4 at Mihiripenna, full of bright cheeky kids who are desperate to learn English. In the morning we sit in their classroom while they sweep, set up the Buddha statue with some flowers and light some incense. The rest spend the 10 minutes dancing around us saying "Miss Emma I'm very, very, very happy" "I eat noodles" "it's 9 o clock" "I am beautiful".
· Our grade 1 class is full of the most adorable children ever. Their eyes are so cute and big, it looks like the rest of the face was added on as after thought. At break time one of them came up and gave me a huge hug from behind- she then would not let go and clung onto me like a limpet while I tried to walk away.
· We've made friends with the 4 year old child of the woman who runs the canteen- she comes into our grade 1 lessons. At the end the children are told to bow at our feet to be respectful, which we dislike. This little girl bowed down at the end of the lesson and realised that it was the perfect opportunity to tickle my feet. I have very tickly feet. I burst out laughing and shuffled back. With a delighted chuckle she realised that she had found an excellent new game and spent the next 5 minutes crawling round the classroom after me trying to tickle my feet!
· Asking a child: what do Christians eat for Christmas? His reply: "children"
Erin used Joan's key to lock the door- it can't unlock it. In the end Puppado had to break into our house by smashing the padlock on our side door. We spent the day in Joan's house eating all the biscuits we had got her!
One of my favourite badminton girls in Grade 5, called Nishan- invited us round to her house for her birthday, she told us to meet her at 40:2 outside the school. We decided she must have meant 2:30, at 4:30 her and her sister arrived. They looked us up and down and announced that we would change now and then go to their house. Meekly we changed into our saris and headed off. They lived in a half built flat 10 minutes away. We chatted to some of their family who had reasonable English and tried to avoid getting our hair pulled out by her completely wild younger brother. They had cooked us a delicious meal and then the girls walked us home in the dark!
We've had several water shortages this month which means I've been forced to wash under the school tap in the grounds. Out I went with two buckets of water to shower under the tap in my skirt. I couldn't help thinking what I would do if I walked past Trinity and saw the French teacher taking a quick shower!
Michael's b-day and Hikkadua
For Michael's b-day Joan treated us all for a meal in an amazing café in Galle. The four of us then went to Hikkadua to spend the weekend.
I think Erin's favourite part was when the hostel's water stopped working AGAIN and she got pooed on by a bird- luckily we were next to the sea so we waded in to was it off. We looked back at the shore to see our shoes and sunglasses being swept away by a freak high wave.
The rest was spent chilling and meeting lots of interesting people so a good weekend all in all!
Galle music festival
A fab festival put on in Galle, with lots of traditional Sri Lankan music and also bands from all over the world. My highlight was seeing some amazing violinists from Norway and some Palestinian dancers.
Sri lanka vs England cricket match.
The boys got into the stands free to watch the game. The next day we went along but the staff had been told off for letting any white people in for free. We headed up to the top of Galle fort about 100m away from the stands where we had an excellent view. We stayed 10 minutes spending most of them trying to figure out which team was batting and which was fielding. I apologise to all cricket fans, but it is possibly thee most boring game in the world!
The English teacher at Mihirpenna proclaimed that he really liked us ! He originally was quite unfriendly and barely chatted to us, but we are beginning to realise more and more that many people are just getting over the fact that we are 18 YEARS OLD AND ALOWED OUT OF THE HOUSE WITHOUT OUR MOTHERS. Girls are generally not allowed out of the house here without their mum or dad until they are over 20- we know a 23 year old univeresity student that is still not allowed out without a member of her family unless going to uni. Despite living here for so long- it has hit us these past weeks that even though woman are kinda equal here. Girls have a hard time of it. isurani and kalpa are not allowed out of the house unless with their family or us. The other teachers see Sri lanka as an incredibly dangerous place for woman who are our age- when we see it as incredibly safe and often remark that we much safer in the streets here than in Britain. They are unable to fathom that we are 18 and have been let loose on the world!
Miss Shirani, who we have become good friends with invited us round to her house for her daughter's big girls party. It was a wee bit awkward for the first two hours as there was nothing for us to do and her family followed us around like we were the piped piper reincarnated. When other people arrived we desperately tried to talk to the other girls our age but they were faaar to shy. Eventually we began talking to two of her 9 year old nephews, whose parents were extremely rich, so they went to English medium schools and spoke impeccable English. It was definitely some of the best chat we've had since coming out here. My favourite quote is "I love animals so much I have an animal graveyard". We had to leave at 8:30 to avoid the wrath of the headmaster- unfortunately when we got back he had already locked the gate into the school. I was wearing a skirt and was pondering how to scale the wall without flashing the man who gave us a lift back my knickers. Luckily he felt as woman we would be unable to climb the wall and as he helped Erin up I climbed over.
We visited the Virgin White Tea Plantation. Which is situated about 40 minutes on the bus and a beautiful 20 minute walk past paddy fields inland from our home. A friendly guide showed us around the tea estate and factory and we were give lots of free cups of tea to taste. He explained that they got their name from a Chinese type of tea that the emperor used to drink- the tea was cut by virgins with gold scissors into gold bowls- as the sweat from people hands caused the white hair to die on the leaves and so gave them a different texture. They don't use quite the same method but it's still untouched by human hands!
We trekked up through Rummasala hill and down to the most beautiful beach. Now it is empty with a small café and beautiful area to swim in, although I'm sure in 10 years it will be different. We had drinks then we went swimming in the sea, I hired a snorkel and saw angel fish, clown fish and an electric purple fish!
Kalpa and I meet up once a week for an English/Sinhala lesson- mainly we sit, eat and chat about the world. We've been round to her house several times for dinner and to watch films etc. Her mum is a really good cook!
As one of my students said to me the other day, "Tata for now," We're off on holiday this Friday for 2 weeks so will be more difficult to get in contact.
Lots of love,