Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Goodbye Colombo!

It is our final day in Colombo.  Our trip here took an unexpected turn when Steve took ill with Dengue Fever and we ended up at Durdans Hospital on New Year’s Eve!  Of all the places I have seen the New Year in – from watching the ball drop in Times Square to watching the fireworks light up the sky in Sydney Harbour, this was certainly an experience I had not anticipated or prepared for.  We had intended to fly out on the 4th so it certainly put a spanner in our plans but it taught us too that life does have a few unexpected twists and turns and it is best that we accept and deal with them in as positive a manner as possible!  Travel has certainly taught me to be flexible but this one was a curve ball that I did not see coming.  After all – we only had 5 days left before an incredible journey had almost come to an end…

BMICH - Conference Hall
I tried not to think it was New Years Eve but if worrying had not kept me up, then the crackers that seem to go on forever certainly meant I would not get much sleep that night.  It was a relief though to know Steve was in hospital, getting the right hydration he needed and was under the watchful eye of the doctors and nursing staff there.  We were in hospital for a long stressful week and were very thankful when finally we were given the thumbs up and a discharge card!   

We had enjoyed a wonderful year and we are thankful for the many wonderful blessings and highs of 2013.  I am just in the process of putting together my photo book of our journey and it is a joy to reflect back on our experiences and to realise what we achieved.   The new friends we made, the communities we volunteered in, the cities we discovered and everything we learnt about intentional communities and sustainable living will be recounted in stories around many dining tables for years to come.  A paper has already been accepted for the Global Planners Conference and Steve will deliver
Colombo Cathedral
this in March of this year. 

Our time in Sri Lanka was also precious.  I was able to spend Christmas with mum who now lives alone since my dad passed away almost 5 years ago.  I spent time with many friends and family some of whom were visiting from overseas and I had not seen for many years.  We had weekend trips and day trips with my cousins and escaped to the South for an extended holiday with my mum.  I attended my first Old Girls Association dinner of my high school and we were fortunate to go to many carol services and concerts in Colombo in the lead up to Christmas.  We also visited a couple of eco-villages and learnt about the challenges of sustainable living in the developing world. 

For the first time in my life I also photographed Colombo!  I realised that often we are so blas√© about t
Town Hall
he world beside us that we forget to see its beauty.  In this post I will share a few photos from that shoot and I hope it reminds you to look more closely at the people and places right beside you.  We often travel far and wide to find new friendships, new experiences and often forget that sometimes they are right there…lying right beside you…waiting to be discovered. 

Finally, it is time to say thank you and goodbye to my mum, friends and family in Colombo.  We have learnt lots about the value of community during our travels but the value of community during a crisis we learnt first hand during our stay in Colombo.  I was thankful to my cousins who live just next door and were here in an instant when they heard Steve had Dengue.   They advised me what I should do and helped me stay calm in a crisis.  I was thankful to my friends and family who visited us in hospital to raise my spirits and to let Steve know he would be OK soon.  I was also thankful to my friend Dushy, a consultant at Durdans who visited us everyday and reassured us as to what stage of the illness we were at.  All in all,
Colombo Museum
if we were to have a curve ball in our travels, perhaps it could not have happened at a better time (i.e. at the end of our travels) or a better place (i.e. where I spoke the language and had so many resources at my finger tips)! 

Now we say goodbye to our life on the road and look forward to 2014.  We are very thankful to the many blessing 2013 brought us and the courage and opportunity we were given to experience life a little outside our comfort zones.  A break from the routine and mundane rituals of life is a wonderful tonic and one I can never get enough of.  We hope 2014 will bring us new opportunities from which we can learn and grow.  We hope we can make a difference in the world around us, and the network of people with whom we interact each day.  I wish my family, my new friends and old, a wonderful 2014!  Let’s raise our glasses to that…

Happy New Year everybody!  Here’s Nil and Steve signing off from our travels on the road…

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