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Thursday, 29 October 2009

Sketches Of A Big City

Sketch 1:

There are cows and bulls on the streets of Colombo. They lie contentedly at the sides of the frighteningly busy roads. They graze at the side of the river that runs through the city. (They probably chew their cud as well but I don’t really like to look so closely.) Why I find this interesting, I don’t know but my eyes widened in fascinated surprise when we were told that in this bustling city of around 2 million people, some people own cows, milk them in the morning and then let them out to wander the noisy streets until the cows see fit to return to them in the evening.

Today I saw a feisty wee street dog and a plump, pampered-looking black cow engaging in furious verbal combat. The dog was howling its heart out and the cow flung its head in the air and bellowed loudly, their enraged sounds mingling with the honking of horns and screeching of tires all around us. Since we were driving by, I didn’t have a chance to see who won this particular turf war, but my bets are placed on the mangy dog...I wouldn’t have messed with him at least.;)

Sketch 2:

Sri Lanka is largely a Buddhist nation. All over the city are shrines and temples. Seeing Buddhist monks walking the streets in their orange robes is as common as seeing nuns and priests in Rome. Yet there are also elaborately decorated Hindu temples shooting up to the sky and Catholic convents dotting the city. One street will have a shrine to Buddha with a statue of the Hindu god Vishnu close by and on the next street is a statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus or the Virgin Mary. Religion is everywhere and religion is practiced and religion is respected.

Sketch 3:

Now I know that I am not the tiniest thing around, but buying clothing here has been a lesson in humility. Let’s just say I haven’t bought very much because well...I just can’t bring myself to go to the counter with a dress or top or underwear in, Heaven help us all, triple extra large.:)

Sketch 4:

Last Saturday, October 24th, was my 29th birthday.  We celebrated it, with Mohan and his beautiful, gracious family. It was such a genuine pleasure to meet them and their hospitality was amazing! It was certainly one of the most special birthdays I’ve had in a long time.

Though there is not very much that is serious in this entry, it occurred to me then how very much this past year has held. How very different a place we are in now than we were last year at this time. Right about this time last year we were approved to adopt and we chose this beautiful country to adopt from. We assumed that it would be still another year from now until we would be called with the joyful news that a perfect baby had been chosen for us. I was kind of down. I didn’t feel there was much to celebrate at all. What a difference a year can make.


SB said...

Happy belated b-day, Colleen. And thanks for those snippets of Sri Lankan life.

Ine said...

Happy birthday to you, Colleen! I love your description of everyday life in Colombo. I must say, I am not looking forward to a close encounter with a bull in the middle of the street.. But I guess it will be a small price to pay for all the other beautiful experiences we will have.

Anonymous said...

Happy birthday and good luck, Colleen!
And - maybe next year you will get first painted picture from little William:) !

Brady said...

I must say that I used to come to read this blog to see how you were doing. But now I find that I enjoy reading what you write because you are simply a great writer. Bonus! I hope everything is going smoothly in Sri Lanka. I keep the other girls on the site informed as they are excited for you. I really cannot wait to see some family pictures.

Colleen said...

Thanks Marlies, that would be a wonderful gift! We can only hope he is a better artist than I am!;)
Brady, I'm so glad you stopped by!:) Thanks for your comment and also for thinking of us!! Its much appreciated!

Mats said...

Beautifully written!It reminds me of the writings of essayistst like Lee Ranaldo and his postcards, thoughts and letters from the tour bus of american rock band Sonic Youth..

Well, anyhoo .. reading your post made me look forward to Sri Lanka even more (if that's possible)!!


Anonymous said...

I`ve been checking your blog and if there is new posts already and it was a nice surprise when I woke up at 6 sat morning (because my little darling thought that it is time to wake mummy that early:))took my coffee and saw your new post. It was a great pleasure to read it like always and I really enjoyed it! So my sat morning started dreaming about being there with you guys and seeing all these great things with you! I`m gonna go now because little guy did a surprise for mummy in his pants! Hugs, Triin PS Lots of hugs to little William!

Colleen said...

Thanks Mats, I've never read those writings you mention but maybe Ill have to check them out! It's a pretty incredible thing to think that you and Ine may be here very very soon now! I'm really happy for you guys!!
Triin, so nice to hear from you! Mikkel is such a darling...of course you want to get up at 6am, why in the world wouldn't you?!:) Give him a big kiss for me and take care! See you soon!!