It’s been almost a year since I left Scotland for Sri Lanka and at the end of this holiday season it will have been a year since I left Sri Lanka… And I still haven’t written about the last week of my stay in Sri Lanka! Part of this was strategic. The last week in Sri Lanka was a lot to take in and process. I experienced a lot, both culturally and personally, so it wasn’t something I was ready to write about right away.
The last weekend in Sri Lanka, I went with friends to an area in Sri Lanka called Passekudah to stay at a 5-star hotel on the beach. Initially, we had wanted to be farther south on the east coast so we could go to Arugam Bay and Yala National Park, but when we booked the fancy hotel we were lead astray by our program manager whose local geography wasn’t quite up to par. Nevertheless, we still had a lot of fun.
It was here, though, that I realized how much I cared for my fellow physio partner-in-crime. If you’ve read much of this blog before, you’ve heard me complain about developing relationships and strong connections with guys who live oceans away. Given my state of flux following school and before taking my board exams, I thought, Sure, I could move anywhere if I really wanted to. So, when I flubbed and mentioned this during a night of many cocktails, there were many conversations to be had with my P-I-C during the last week of my stay in Sri Lanka and after my departure.
In the mean time, though, I spent my last week really learning more about the culture of Sri Lanka. Kandy was full of culture, but traveling to Habarana and running into wild elephants, impromptu wedding invitations, and some evil, brown, Ayurvedic goo, really helped me to dig a bit deeper into the Sri Lankan culture. While in Habarana, I visited the local Ayurvedic hospital, went for an elephant ride around the lake, went for a canoe ride on a different lake, visited Sigiriya, spice gardens, and the really big jewelry store (of course). I also managed to spend an evening at a traditional wedding reception (and later took care of my fellow travelers who couldn’t handle their arrack). I really enjoyed learning more about Sri Lanka and their culture and it solidified to me that I wanted to continue coming back, seeing more and learning more over the years. It’s hard to really sum up in words all the things I learned and took away with me during that last week in Habarana, but it truly made me appreciate that everyone chooses to live their lives differently and it’s not my place to change that, just to embrace it and either insert myself in that lifestyle or remove myself from it.
When we all got back to Kandy and to the new house, it was time to embrace one full day of hot showers and cozy beds before heading home. But also, it was time to figure out what to do about the relationship I had cultivated with a guy who lives a world away from where I was heading home to. My two years in Scotland away from my family and long-time friends gave me a chance to realize what I really wanted in a partner and not what I felt I needed to just fit in with my family. I had found some of that in my P-I-C and I didn’t just want to let that go right away. So, we talked, and talked, and talked… And decided to continue talking and just play it by ear. It turns out that was a good, gentle way to let it fizzle without being left with the “what if” feeling. We stopped talking in February (I know, it didn’t last long at all, but that’s okay).
By the end of my trip to Sri Lanka, I had learned a lot about a new culture and a lot about a new me. Since returning to the U.S. I’ve continued along this roller coaster of a life, but now I feel more like I know what I need to do in order to accomplish my goals. It’s been hard to really stay on track, but it’s a process and I don’t have to be perfect, and that’s something I truly learned during my time in Sri Lanka.
It’s a process. You don’t have to be perfect. You just have to put in the work.