This is for mum

Heartbreak used to be my muse or at least thought so. But yet for the past few months I have struggled to find the words to write this post. It is not for the lack of trying, but just that words to express my sadness and emptiness seem to fail me. I would stare at the blinking cursor hoping that the words would find me. So here I am on a rainy day making one more attempt to write that post and I hope that this time the words will not fail me.

Today, while running, thoughts of my mum crossed my mind I and suddenly felt the tears stream down my face. I unconsciously thought of a conversation I wanted to share with her and I realized that it has been months since i had a conversation with her and months since we said our final goodbye and since normalcy left my life.

I realize I cannot call her anymore and suddenly my mind goes off into a spin and the tears start flowing uncontrollably, the tears I’ve somehow held back intentionally or unintentionally for so long. I am unsure if the tears that didn’t flow all this time was because I was numb with pain, but now that I am back home and adjusting to a new routine, I miss her so much. I would call her almost everyday, even if it was the most random ridiculous conversation about the weather or what I had for dinner, we talked almost everyday and I miss that.

Even now just writing this post makes me teary eyed, but I know this is one post I have to complete. I constantly feel regret that my last conversation with her was brief, she said she wasn’t feeling ok and I assumed she would bounce back like she had so many other times and I said I will talk later. Now my mind constantly goes back to that conversation, did I tell her I love her, did I tell her I miss her, did I tell her I was doing ok….did I, did I….the questions are endless.

The day she passed away was just another saturday for me, I was getting ready to head to the farmers market and somehow I kept thinking I need to call her, but I got so caught up in my baking, that somehow that thought and call got postponed.

Later in the day my sister calls me to ask me to look at tickets to come back home, she tried to stay calm, but I could sense the pain in her voice and I try to stay calm not wanting to upset her either.

We go back and forth with everything and I finally buy a ticket to head back. I console myself that there would be wifi on the flight and therefore I could stay in touch with my sis. However, there is no wifi and maybe that was a good thing because there would be nothing I could do thousands of feet above ground.

I finally landed after a few mishaps with bags and planes and I rush to the hospital to only find out that my mum had passed away a few hours before I landed.

“I truly never learned what the words ‘I miss you’ were until I reached for mom’s hand and it wasn’t there.”

The next few days were a blur, we all tried to stay strong for my dad. After more than 50 years together, it was going to be a challenge for him to face his days without her around.

But I constantly ask myself, how am I going to face my days without her? Despite our most random conversations about nothing important, yet she was there when I was down to pick me up and calm me down when things were wrong.

I miss her more than I ever imagined I would and I wish I could go back in time to tell her how much she meant to me and apologize for all the things I have said and done which hurt her. But I know I cannot and all I can do is carry on  and be strong and brave like she wanted me to be. One thing I did learn from my mum was to be kind, considerate and thoughtful. I will carry on and doing things which I know would make her proud. But the emptiness I feel every single day will never fade. 

“Mum, thank you for being my anchor in this stormy sea of life.”

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I need to conquer my fear

I have missed writing posts on a regular basis for a while. It is not because I do not want to, but it is because I seem to just constantly stare at a blank screen and struggle to let the  words flow. It is disheartening to think that I am somehow a better writer when I am heartbroken. Maybe heartbreak is my muse. Since there is no heartbreak in the horizon, I have to find something else to write about.

Today is a beautiful summer day and I decided to head out to the coffee shop, sit outside and force myself to write. I need to write, I need to find that muse again and find a way to let the words flow.

It has been months since I have been back from my last overseas trip and as much as I am ready to take off again, the reality of things are different. I struggled to adjust to being back here and trying to get into the routine of things. Even running turned out to be a chore, but I signed up for a few half-marathons and the Marine Corps Marathon again, which forces me to lace up and go run.

Besides that I have taken on the challenge of baking for 2 farmers markets on a Saturday, which means waking up to a blaring alarm at 4.3o am. I question my sanity for having taken on this challenge, then I realize, this is no longer a hobby, but a full-blown profession that I have taken on.

I stumble around in the dark, the only sound to disturb the silence is my feet hitting the cool wooden floors and the wind chime outside. I step outside to take a breath of fresh air and enjoy the coolness of the summer wind, while the oven heats up.  I am not a morning person, but yet love early mornings when it feels like the rest of the world is still asleep and I am the only one who isn’t. It is easy to forget problems for that brief moment, while watching the sunrise in the distance.

Even though I could stand there enjoying the only quiet moment I might have for the day, I step inside to get into my baking routine.

When I agreed to take this on, it seemed simple.  It was just a matter of doubling everything I make. I wish I could still call it simple!

It has turned out to be more challenging than I bargained for. Items popular at one market is not necessarily popular at the other, which in turn meant making different things for 2 markets and trying to do that on a weekly basis is not easy anymore.

There are plenty of times I have come close to calling it quits, because I just lack the motivation to keep doing it, but I talk myself out of it, because I don’t want to quit when things get tough and I never want to consider myself a quitter.

This is a dream I have been trying to pursue for a while and I have my share of stumbling blocks and constantly feel that I take 2 steps forward and  I eventually find myself taking 3 steps back. I want to stay focussed, but the biggest stumbling block I seem to face is myself and the fear of failure.

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My whirlwind trip to Australia

It seems no matter what my intentions are, I fall off the “I am going to write often band wagon”. I have every thought of writing frequently and I get side tracked with mundane things. There was the trip to Sri Lanka, from where I ended up heading to Australia to see my nephews and Malaysia to see my niece.

Today sitting at my new favorite coffee shop, sipping on a cup of coffee, watching the rain come down seemed like a good day to catch up on some writing. I used to have my favorite coffee shop near my old apartment, but since I moved away, I have not been able to find a replacement for it.  But now I have found a new one closer to where I live and just maybe that will help motivate me to write a little more frequently.

There are no words describe how wonderful Australia was.  The food, the coffee, the sites, the catching up with friends and family I have not seen in almost 20 years, did I say food? Life seemed so different and a little slower and people seem to be not caught up in a constant rat race. Maybe this is was my impression because I was on vacation, but every friend I met would only rave about how wonderful their life was in Australia.

I could go on and on about my trip and how I was dragged to the airport kicking and screaming, but instead I will share some of my favorite pictures from my trip.

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Flinder St station, Melbourne

 

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Church Downtown Melbourne

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Street Art in Melbourne, which changes almost daily

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Chinese New Year Celebration in Melbourne

 

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Sunset at Brighton Beach

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Boats in Luna Park, Melbourne

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Opera House

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Opera House and Harbor Bridge

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Harbor Bridge Sydney

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Sydney At night

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Home

My roots are buried in two different
countries that I call home,
in two different
languages I call my tongue.
Perhaps this is why I’m always so torn
between who I am
and who I am meant to be.

It’s Sunday morning and I am strolling the beach in Sri Lanka. I watch the laughing children at play and parents holding their kids as they stand on the shore watching the waves. Life somehow seems simple and uncomplicated at that moment.

I feel a tinge of nostalgia pass me, I miss being able to do this. Maybe I am getting more melodramatic because my vacation is soon coming to an end and it is time to face the challenges that will come my way.

Part of me is so torn and I want to move back here and enjoy the simplicity of life, but the other part of me is scared. I constantly question if I am ready for that leap yet? Am I ready for the clash of the 2 cultures I often find myself torn between?

Rationally, moving back should not be scary.  After all this was and is home to me. The place I belong, even though I am technically considered a tourist.  At the end of the day no matter where I roam or lay my hat, when someone asks me where I am from, my immediate response is Sri Lanka.

I can adjust and adopt a different accent, carry a different passport and live my life in a different part of the world,  yet, this is where my roots begun, this is where the seeds of who I am were sown and therefore, there is no escaping the harsh reality of the truth of who I am, but constantly wonder who I am meant to be.DSC00906DSC00917DSC00950DSC00947DSC00897DSC00890DSC00856DSC00302DSC00878DSC00891DSC00314DSC00921

 

 

 

 

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Under the stars of Sri Lanka

It’s almost midnight and here I am on another train heading towards the South Central part of Sri Lanka. The window in my cabin is open and the cool air blows in, and I sit staring at the stars glistening above. I realize this is the closes I’ll come to sleeping under the stars.

My friend Sue and I had talked about taking this particular trip for over a year. We finally booked the train tickets a month ahead, not knowing what to expect on a night train ride.

We were shown to our bunk beds and we both just stood there laughing, thinking that this was going to be one long train ride.

It’s about 3 hours into our ride, I have the lower bunk, which gives me a vantage of seeing the stars and  city lights in the distance. From time to time I stick my head out to catch a glimpse of the starry night and feel the cool breeze on my face.

Trying to sleep in a moving train is almost impossible. We finally reach our destination 10 hours later. We stretch our achy and tired limbs and head to find our hotel. After a few hours of sleep, we head out to our first stop, which is called 9-arch bridge or also called sky bridge. Construction of the bridge was completed in 1921 and is spectacular when you watch the trains going over it. The bridge is a huge tourist attraction not only because of the hike to get there, but also because it was built with only stone, sticks and cement and no steel.

 

I realized that this was going to be a long weekend, when my friend started to complain about everything. If we had to walk a few kilometers she complained, if the sun was shining brightly, she complained, It really did not matter what it was, she found a reason to complain.

However, after a few hours I learnt to tune her out and do the best to make my visit an adventure. I was unaware of all the hiking involved, but yet I was up for the challenge. Sue on the other hand decided to sit at the bottom while I went on all the hikes.

Despite her best effort to dampen my trip, I managed to capture the images I wanted and do the things I had planned.

The train ride back home was another long 10 hours. Since this was during the day, I managed to enjoy the views of the lush green tea estates, the waterfalls and the mountains in the distance. The random conversations with others passengers also visiting Sri Lanka, made the train ride go by faster.

Here are some of my favorite pictures I captured.

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Train on 9-arch bridge

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View from the train

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Tea pluckers after a hard day of work

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Tea pluckers getting the tea leaves weighed

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Tea plucker

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Tea plucker

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Not all friends are made for adventures

I’m sitting here sipping on coffee, watching the sleepy town of Ella come alive.

This city has become a huge tourist destination, due to all the mountains and waterfalls surrounding it. I therefore decided to take a train ride here. In order to make it more of an adventure, I invited a friend along.

However, the adventure I was hoping for is not meant to be, specially when she is a complainer about everything.

While I enjoy my alone time, here are a few pictures from this area.

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Enjoying the view

The view from top of the Little Adams Peak Rock

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Taking a train South bound – Pt 2

My next train ride was to a city called Galle, which is now a UNESCO heritage city. This city was founded by the Portuguese in the 16th century and still standing are the lighthouse the Fort and stone sea walls.

I had visited this city briefly a few years ago, but this time around, I grabbed my camera and walked around to capture some images.

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Taking a train southbound

“I gonna buy me a ticket now, as far as I can
Ain’t a-never comin’ back
Ride me a Southbound
All the way to Georgia now
Till the train run out of track”

The Marshall Tucker Band

The lyrics to this song snuck into my head while I was riding the train southbound in Sri Lanka with my head out of the window.  The train  sped past the ocean and coconut trees swaying to the wind and I saw the beauty of this country I still call home, for the first time in a different perspective.

Despite having lived most of my life in Sri Lanka, I don’t recall ever taking a train or had the desire to visit the different places. However, on this visit, I have taken a lot of train rides in order to avoid the traffic which seems to be getting bad to worse. Even though the train rides have been due to the traffic, I have started to enjoy the rides and every time I step into a train, I feel like I am leaving for a world anew.

Here are some pictures from my trip to the most Southern tip of Sri Lanka.

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The lighthouse right at the most Southern tip

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If you look closely, you will see the man climbing the coconut tree

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Seeing people cross the tracks is a common sight

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The final destination

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Taking flight through 2017

There is nothing like being stuck in planes and airports for 24 hours + forcing me to catch up on some writing. As much as I love travel, I hate the part of sitting in airports or planes for hours on end, feeling claustrophobic and helpless.

It is that time of the year, where I head home to Sri Lanka to see my family and friends.

I sit here sipping on over priced coffee, watching everyone around me on their electronic devices trying not to make eye contact with the person next to them, just in case conversation ensues. I am not in a position to point fingers, when I am doing exactly the same thing.  I stop for a moment and look around me, trying to see if there is anyone that looks vaguely interesting and just maybe I could strike up a conversation to kill time. However, all I see is couples engrossed in themselves, parents trying to keep their kids entertained or others who look like they are traveling for work on their devices or phones. I sigh and get back to my writing.

There is a part of me that is excited to be going back and seeing everyone and then there is another part of me that dreads the thought of being back and dealing with the chaos that somehow seems to rear its ugly head.

But instead of worrying about what may happen, I want to instead reminisce of the year that was.

2017 was one heck of a year for me!  It involved a lot of traveling and adventures and sometimes misadventures, but I wont forget all the exciting places I got to visit. Wyoming, Denver, Charleston-South Carolina, Savannah-Georgia and Asheville North Carolina and the trips overseas, Germany, Norway, London, Switzerland, Sweden, Sri Lanka and Malaysia.

Despite all that, the highlight of the year was running 6 half-marathons and the Marine Corps Marathon. The anticipation building up to that moment, standing there at the start line and then crossing that finish line is something I will not forget. It seems like it was only a few days ago that I felt the adrenaline of it all.  I hope that in 2018 I will be able to experience it all over again.

The challenging part for 2017 was trying to make my dream of being self-employed a reality. It was a true test of myself and my capabilities. I am yet unsure if I am made of steel and if can or want to continue down that road or if I am going to take the easy road and throw in the towel and find myself a 9-5 job. As much as I enjoyed not just the challenge but the freedom to be creative in the kitchen, it is no easy feat to chase a dream.

They announce boarding for my flight, I grab my computer and head off to find my seat and get ready for a 14 hour-long flight to my next destination.

I sit by the window watching the city getting smaller and smaller. I am lost in the clouds and along with it lost in a cloud of thoughts.

Running, baking seem pretty uncomplicated in comparison to my personal life. Trying to sustain romantic relationships seems to be the hardest part for me. Despite having recovered from all the heartbreak, I find it hard to put too much effort into maintaining relationships. I seem to struggle to balance it all.  Not having too much time over the weekends make it harder. I can’t stay out late on a Friday night because I have to wake up early to be at the farmers market, I can’t stay up late on a Saturday night, because I have to go for my long run on Sunday. Those seem to be lines that kill any hopes of romantic relationships. Not many people understand my need for the baking or the running and that it is my salvation.

As the plane descends and I watch the lights on the runway grow brighter, I tell myself that 2018 will be a better year for me. I will continue to run and bake and maybe chase my dream or throw in the towel and just maybe it is the year I learn to sustain a romantic relationship. But mostly I hope that I have the courage and the strength to face whatever challenges that are thrown my way.

I wish everyone the best for 2018 and hope that you have the courage, strength and wisdom to take on everything that comes your way.

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As I get one year older its all about candles and bucket lists

As I approach another birthday, I am more than ever keenly aware of all the changes in me. Parts of my body seems to be embracing gravity and I seem to be fighting stiff achy joins with fatigue and a few grey hairs along with few more wrinkles. I was wondering how I am going to make it to half a century, which will be here soon if this is how I am feeling now?

Of course as I get older I can say that I have more life experience under my belt in a hindsight kind of way and pass it on my younger relatives or friends who will choose to ignore it anyway.

In the last few weeks as my birthday was looming in front of me, I have been trying to look back and see what changes I have made and maybe what changes I need to make to my life. As much as I have tried to ignore the aging factor, it seems every time I look in the mirror I notice a few more grey hairs making its appearance. It seems my hair follicles are telling me to accept the inevitable. I never thought there would come a day I would see so much white hair, which is more obvious because of my black hair. I guess I could always patronize myself with the thought that this grey hair equals being distinguished or more experienced.

Looking back I realize that I had assumed that by the time I get to this of stage of life I would have a career that I loved, a chunk of change in my bank account, house owner and basically living the good life. But instead here I am trying to be self-employed, chasing the crazy dream that I have always had.

Sometimes I questions myself, if this a much delayed mid-life crisis or is this my life?

As I sit here trying to recall the bucket list items I had a few years ago, all I can remember from the list is  running a marathon.   I can look back and be happy that I can tick that off my list now along with the 25 plus half marathons I have run. It seems forgetfulness should be added to the aging factor.

Maybe I am one of those late bloomers, who starts everything later in life. While most of my friends were getting married and having kids, I was chasing a different dream of wanting to be a journalist/writer (which I did) and traveling the world. I have no regrets of not sticking to the norm and doing those things, but at the same time I guess I wish I had made different choices.

Maybe now is the time to sit down and make another bucket list, even though I am not ready to kick the bucket.

Procrastinate less is gonna be the number one item on my list. For some reason as I get older, I am turning out to be more of a procrastinator than I ever was. I was one of those people who always thrived under pressure, but I seem to be taking that to a whole other level. I should add write/blog more to my list, but words just seem to be fail me lately.

I could focus on the negative aspects of my life, the wrinkles, the grey hairs and aches and pains and make lists, but instead, I will blow out the candles on that cake and be thankful for the experience I have had so far and for all that I have achieved. After all the past is gone and the best is yet to come.

 

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