Finally I’m back on writing here on www.cafefrank.no. Let me start with saying that life is good and that I’m still here in Sri Lanka..
The last two month’s can be summarized with travel to Norway, a lot to do at work, birthday party, some outdoor trips.. The time in Norway has been covered in a seperate section, so go over there and read.
Just after I came back from there we hosted a birthday party, for Hedvig (which has birthday the same day as myself) and Daniel. The week before we had it was quite an hectic one, so we was a bit unsure if we would go through with it, but in the end we decided to do it! Which was very good as it ended up being a very nice party, with cakes with candles, a lot of good friends, birthday presents and that’s everything needed for a good birthday party!
One weekend we spontaneously organized a rafting trip. It was great Sunday with a lot of fun in the water. We rafted together with another group, so some got a bit of a competitive.. But it more ended up with splashing water at each other. We had a great lot of fun when we reafted down the river, some good rapids, but also someone which would have been better with a bit more water as we got stuck on rocks every now and then. We also managed to tip around at one point, which in my opinion was great fun.. Adrenalin pumped a bit extra then. But my waterproof computer bag was not so water proof after all, especially after been pushed under by the forces of the rapid. But fortunatelly my camera was more waterproof than the bag and still worked. Olympus Mju Digital, all-weather is a camera I really can recommend it has survived my test of adventure and little care, but it does receive a lot of gratitude for it’s performances.
Hedvig, Daniel, Robert, Mika and myself went canoing some weeks ago, that was a very pleasent trip. It was not at all the action and adrenalin, but a quiet trip down the river. It was a small shallow river with a lot of flowers and birds, and people had there washing places along it. It was really a nice experience of being out in the quiet beauty of nature.. The base from where we took the canoes onto the river is also a nice spot for camping. It's good to have discovered camping opportunites so I can spend the night in a tent again, as that is one of the things that I have missed the most here.
But again I have to say I’m sorry that it’s been so long ago since I’ve been writing here.. Well in fact I have not written here since before I left for Norway, that’s bad. It’s actually about two month’s ago.. Guess it’s several reasons for that, a lot to do at work, as some of you might have heard SLMM lost two third of the workforce when all the monitors from EU member countries had to leave. The conflict here has also been increasing, which also means a lot of things going on at work. Besides that I’ve been tired and lazy, not really managed to find the energy and motivation to sit down after work to write..
Hope things will be better now and that I will update more regulary again.. But there is one distraction coming up soon, as I mentioned earlier Jessica is coming next weekend and then my after work time will be given to her.. But I try to write some, but maybe not the first week..
I’m lying, looking up at the clouds passing by.. They’re a bit dark, will it be rain. They are going a bit fast so I hope they will pass before it starts to rain. But it didn’t start. I’m on top of a cliff, have a beautyful view over hills and trees.
This is the first time in a very long time that I’m out in the nature, far away from city, traffic, car horns, people everywhere and many other sounds. It’s very soothing and relaxing being out in the nature again, as it’s a long time ago. The outdoors has been a big part of my life and si somtehing that I’ve been missing. It’s also a big part of the norwegian culture and traditions to live in and with the nature, also just for relaxation.
This was not like the nature in Norway, but the it had very much the same effect. A place to relax, charge the batteries, think about life and everything. Just leave the daily life with all it’s routines, work, problems and trivialia behind.
Sometimes it’s good just be on your own in the nature and sometimes it’s prefered to share it with friends. This time I was delighted with the company of three friends Aina, Marcus and Marianne which was visiting them from Norway.
I was up in Kegalla, on the road to Kandy, and visited Aina and Marcus this weekend. Saturday afternoon, evening and eventually night we spent in their little cozy house on top of the hill over Kegalla, a wonderful litte place. This was one of these wonderful moment’s where you just sit, drink, talk, discuss and solve world problems without realising that the time actually goes by. So it got early morning before we got to bed.
Then on Sunday we went on a three wheller trip around in the district around Kegalla. So it was here I got to get out in the nature, but also just to see parts of Sri Lanka I hadn’t been in before. Aina and Marcus knew one of the drivers, so he also took us home to his family in law. There we got fresh coconut, picked when we was there. Think I drunk two and a half nut of coconut juice. That’s a fresh and delightful drink. I also got to try some palm climbing, but it didn’t go as good as I had expected. But I just got to practise some more at a later some other time..
This weekend really made me appreciate the true value of friends. Earlier I’ve written about the value of travelling outside Colombo. Getting away from the known surrounding of my daily life. That I rested much better and properly recharged my batteries fully when I got the opportunity to get out of Colombo. Which was very much so..
This weekend I experienced much of the same by staying in Colombo. I almost completely managed to forget work, I did go to work on Sunday even though I had planned to do so. Instead I managed to calm down, relax and enjoy myself very much during the weekend.
The reason for this is by seeing other people than my collegues on my free time and having friends around me I managed to get occupied with other thought’s and different point of view on our discussions. This was very reliefing and comforting.
I didn’t manage to forget and not talk about my job at all, as SLMM is a very known and followed organisastion here in Sri Lanka. Especially these days as our future are very uncertain as two thirds of our members are about to be thrown out. So what our future will hold for us is very interesting for us but also to a lot of NGO’s and people here in Sri Lanka. So everybody is very curious and are asking about what’s going on. If you are wondering as well, I can only say as I’ve said to everybody before you, wait and see until the meeting between the Nordic countries Thursday 29th of July. I’m waiting with anxiousness to that day..
But back to my wonderful weekend. Friday Aina and Marcus, two friends of mine working up in Kegalle (on the way to Kandy from Colombo) came visiting. They have a bit of the opposite approach than me. They are living in a smalle place inland of Sri Lanka, so for them it’s an extra treat to come to the big city with all it’s facilities. Especially restaurant’s with other food than rice and curry. But also opportunity for some cultural activites and shopping.
So our weekend matched perfectly, I got friends staying with me which made me relax and enjoy my life in Colombo and they got to come to Colombo for some breathing space. An excellent combination!
Of course we had some beers and food at Cricket Club, the next door pub and my waterhole as it is litterally next door. I actually look down on it’s roof and into its garden from my balcony. Saturday we also ended up at Cricket Club for beer, food and football. But fortunately I got there after the football match finished as I was eating dinner with Claire, an other friend which was going on vaccation that night, and a group of her friends. Also a very nice event of the weekend and I got to meet some other nice people. One of them which was my neighbour living in the same building as me, just one floor down
Earlier on Saturday we had lunch at a very easy and relaxed place called Barefoot, a combined cafe, bookshop, art gallery and an interior desing store very much focusing on very colourful fabrics. Nice food and a group of various friends. Then we went out shopping, one of the first time I went out shopping with someone. That also was very good as sometimes it’s good to get feedback if the clothes you find suits, are nice, looks cool, etc.
But the best part of the whole weeken was late Saturday, or Sunday morning after a few drinks back in my appartment and Jessica my wonderful Fiance called. It was completely unexpected as she was supposed to be far out in the bush diverted from all means of comunivation and was not expected back until some time next week. But then she called and that brought a very special happy smile on my face, and my friend was just aksing cinfirmingly; It was your Fiance calling?
Sunday was a morning for sleep until waking up all by myself. I made sure that I also had pulled the curtains as I didn’t want to be woken up by the sun ligthing up my room. It was so good to just sleep until the body woke up all by itself. Then it was a proper Sunday breakfast with egg and bacon.
Then we went for a walk. Poped into a few interior shops which are very good here. We also went to a outdoor painting market, a quite fasinating place as it’s just outside the big park here in Colombo. On the fence a long one of the sides there are hanging painting’s for sale. I think it’s art student’s selling paintings to get an extra income for their studies. I’ve bought some paintings there before and ordered one which I will be picking up next weekend.
Then we discovered a new (for me) lunch place called “Common’s”. A very relaxed and chilled out pleace. It was so nice just sinking down into one of the sofa’s and just sit there waiting for the food. After eating a nice lunch, I can recommend the tomato soup, I had a hard time getting up again as the atmosphere and the sofa was very nice.
Then we went home for a game of RISK. A very good battle, but I must admit that I didn’t manage all my mission first this time. But still very good playing again as it was a long time since last. One of the other’s playing with as lived in Colombo and was very eager playing again, so this looks good.
Then we ended up at Cricket Club once more for the football match, think it was Engalnd-Ecuador. It must have been England as it was Beckham which scored the only goal, a quite nice one in my opinion which again not is v ery highly rated by my friend’s when it comes to sport’s and football in particular. But the neight ended with the Canadian Grand Prix Formula 1 race. So that was a very good ending of a wonderful weekend.. A bit tired Monday morning as the F1 race was late local time, but’s it was worth!!
As some of you have discovered I have a poll here on www.cafefrank.no.. I asked about your first reaction to my engagement with Jessica. I decided that after ten of you had given your vote I would give response. As of now eleven have done so, so here comes some of my thoughts about the result..
More than 45% answered “Great news, congratulations!!” I’m happy so many are happy for me and us. Gives me a great confident that many people see my happiness with Jessica. Which is very good as I’m very happy and confident that this is the righr decision.
A few voted “Isn’t this a bit soon?” Yeah you might say so, I would have said that as a general rule myself. But the idea started to evolve in my mind and that in itself says a lot about my feelings. And various people which have seen us together had the answer “I knew it, I knew it..” when we told them. When we told people it seemed that Jessica was the only one caught by surprise. And I had not told anybody!!
“When and where are they going to get married?” Guess that is a valid question, but not any we think is important at the moment. So I don’t have any firm news for you. But it won’t be any eternal engagement. Lets say about two or three years is the time frame at the moment. But our first priority is to move together. Where and how is even more in the blue, lets move in together first so it gets easier to do some planning..
This was about time.. Yes I knew some of my already married friends thought this! They’ve already told me many times. But I’m still very happy that most people are happy for us and the great news and are not saying “What did we say?”
And yes “How did Jessica manage that?” is a question I can understand friends that knew me from before I met Jessica wonder about as this marriage and family life is something I’ve opposed earlier. But I have not really asked myself that question. Guess there is only one simple correct answer to that question; she was herself! I’ve not got a single hint or demands in this direction. And as mentioned earlier she was probably the one that got most surprised of everybody. It was a a growing feeling inside myself that this was the thing to do, it just seemed right. So when I got this feeling and thought it through I got really confident and decided to go forward with it.. Which I’ve not regreted or had second thought’s about at all!!
Twentieth of May will from 2006 always be a red-letter day for me, for us, Jessica and me. That’s the day I proposed to Jessica, asking her if she wanted to be my wife. And she said YES, her eyes said YES, her whole body was glowing of YES, finally also her mouth managed to say the word YES’! This was a wonderful moment..
I’m a happy man. I’m happy with our decision about getting married to each other. It’s just a wonderful feeling filling me these days. Something different which I’ve never felt in me before. So I guess that a lot of you are rubbing your hands now saying, what did we say? Well, I’m happy to give you the pleasure ;) But even more happy for what actually happened.
Well, the feedback we’ve got from everybody we told it to so far are has been all good though. Everyboday has been very happy for us. Some of those few seeing us together, mainly on our trip to Sydney and NY, has told us that they knew it and was not surprised at all. Happy for those comment’s, as they show that people saw something in us which we didn’t see ourself. Thank you!
So as you all probably understand by now, my stay in Mocambique was great and unforgettable. But the rest of it as was quite good well. We met up in Pretoria, South Africa, took the bus to Maputo, Mocambique, the next day. A long and boring bus ride. Then we stayed in Maputo the next day as it was the 17th of May and we had planned to go the reception at the Norwegian Embassy. Well that was the plan but we never made it, so we got to see a bit of Maputo instead.
The next day we spent on a small local bus from Maputo to Tofo, a whole day after sitting in the bus waiting for three hours before it took off. But that’s a part of travelling in these part’s of the world.
Then we spent rest of the holliday in Tofo. Tofo is a small place on the coast near Inhambane. It’s said to be the best diving spot in the whole district of Inhambane. I didn’t dive there myself as I didn’t have my diving license with me. But Jess had a few good dives there. I did some surf’s and washed clothes as Jess went diving.
Rest of the time we went horseback riding, ate a lot of good fresh seafood everyday, relaxed and enjoyed the time together. The horseback riding was of the kind I liked this guided tours to be. Not to many regulations, walk in line etc. It was more free and based on confidence, the guide let us who wanted to ride fast and freely. Good, because it’s to boring just walking after each other.
Can also recommend to eat at Casa Barry on the south end of the beach, wonderful food an good service. If your up for a bit more of a party place you should try Dino’s a bit north on the beach. They also have good food, will recommend the Paela and the Pizza there. The hotel is the place for Lobster’s. But if you just want to chill out, then the Waterworks is the place. They have sandvices and omelettes.
I can reccomend a trip to Tofo. Very relaxed place, not a huge tourist resort, but still big enough to have some facilities there. A lot of dive operators, a few surf places, horseback riding, quite a few restaurants and bars and a long quiet beach.
On our return we took a plane instead of the local humpy bus back to Maputo, a bit more expensive, but I will recommend if you can afford it as it will save you time and energy. Then we took the night bus back to Pretoria and had one day and night there before flying back to Angola and Sri Lanka. We stayed at a small Bed & Breakfast called La Maision in Hatfield. It was a very nice place with very friendly staff. Recommend it. Then we had the dinner at the restaurant in the same building Jose’s, a wonderful place with fantastic food. Champagne and seafood..!!
Wow, finally I got to go skiing this season as well.. Not only Nina which was working as a ski guide in France. Or all my other friends in Norway with a very snowrich winter on the east side of Norway. It wasn’t a lot, it wasn’t long slopes, it wasn’t steep slopes, it wasn’t to many park elements.. But it was skiing and I was very happy while skiing down the slopes on the indoor ski center in Dubai.
Sounds like a pathetic place to go skiing for a man from Norway, a country with a lot of snow a long traditions for good skiing. But taken into consideration that I have not been able to go skiing the whole season, then a littlebit is better than nothing. I also gonna be honest with you I had a lot of fun.
I guess the secret is to take it for what it is.. A indoor skiing resort in the middle of a desert. Meaning it’s a bit misplaced, meaning it will be hard to get any steep slope, meaning there will be mostly rookies there, meaning no powder.. So take it for what it is and do not think about any huge skiresort or extreme amounts of powder. Then you can have some fun.
It’s also feels kinda cool to say that I’ve been skiing in Dubai..
This weekend did I go to Bentota, or more precisely Alutgama, with some friends. This was a wonderful weekend with good people, good weather, beach, beachvolleyball, a cosy hotel, good food.. The things that actually makes a good weekend.
Bentota and Alutgama are a place down south on the west coast of Sri Lanka. They're situated just on each side of a river where runs out in the Indian ocean. Since the river are doing a curve Bentota has more beachside and are therefore more known among toursits.
But Alutgama where we stayed also has a lot of hotels, many of them as ours are situated at the river bench. The hotel offered free boattrips across the river and then there where only to walk our a small strip of land and we where on the beach faced towards the ocean.
We got the boatdriver to take us a bit down the river, almost to the river mouth. There we walked our to an island and visited a small Buddhist Temple. A very nice and quiet place. When we crossed back to the mainland we had a dive in the water, before walking up along the beach.
Afer we had walked a bit up the beach we found a volleyball net and played a set. We had a swim or five. Bought some fruits from a beach vendor, fresh pineapple and coconut was beautyful. Finally we ended up at a resort hotel and had a late lunch there. Before we headed back to our hotel again we played some more volleyball. A great day on the beach, completely relaxed without any stress!!
Then back at the hotel we had some beer and then dinner. A beautyful lobster dinner!! Fresh lobster is very good.. Then we had a good nice evening with drinks, cardplay and good laughs before I had to go to bed as I was going to bed. I had to drive back the next morning as I was working on monday which none of the others had to.
The question many might ask is why haven't I done this before. Gone down to Bentota or other places. Well the reason is simple. We had a travel limit on one hour from the office, but this has just been lifted. So I was actually the first one to try it out. The good thing is that we will now be able to see more of Sri Lanka.
Three weeks is the time until I'll see my Jessica again. I promise you all that this gonna be great!! It's gonna be fantastic!!
Now it's two month's since the last time we saw each other in Sydney. In the beginning it was very hard, I really missed her. But in a way I got used to it and it became easier to live with. But when we really started to get down to proper plans of when and where to meet it turned more and more from being a loss to become excitement. Now I hardly can wait for this three weeks to end and that I see her coming out of the plane at the airport!
So which airport? Well Jessica is not coming here. But we're meeting in J'burg South Africa. And since I'm there three hours before her (at least according to our itinaries) I'll the one to wait at the airport.
Then our trip will take us to Mocambique. Not yet many accurate plans of what we're going to do or where to go there. So if you have a hint or two for us it will be wlecomed. The main plan is to have as much time together as possible.. But also to relax, dive, enjoy life, maybe do some sightseeing and maybe even plan (or at least discuss) our future posibilities. But the most important will be enjoy the time togehter!!
Friday I got to ride helicopter again. Good fun! It was a very sudden decision that I was going. One of my collegues was supposed to be going. But then the time schedule got changed so we needed someone else. So I had no problem to volunteer for that.
Then a couple of hours later I was on my way to the Colombo raceground. The helicopter from SLAF was there ready to pick us up. We was flying up to Kilinochi for a meeting. I was not to attend to the meeting but to be with the helicopter on the flight back. Workwise doing nothing except sitting there. But it's good fun flying a helicopter.
I stayed at our office in Vavuniya for the night. I've never been to that office before, but I've met most of the monitors there before when they've been in Colombo. But it was one I hadn't met before even though he got here before me. It's very good to see the district office's as it gives me an better understanding of how the life out there is. What might be there problems and challenges, but also just to know about how there life is and how it looks like.
Then the next morning it was back again the same route up to Kilinochi and then back to Colombo. Just back in time before most people left the office. But I stayed on as I did lose a bot of working time at the office during my trip. But I don't mind, because I enjoyed it very much.
Dette var den andre gangen jeg har fløyet helikopter her iløpet av de siste månedene. Begge gangene har det vært spennende, interresant og gøy. Men det bringer også tankene mine inn på at pappa anbefalte meg å bli helikopter pilot når jeg skulle velge yrkesvei. Men så ble det ikke. Angrer litt på det hver gang jeg er ute å på slike flyturer. Tror faktisk det kunne vært kult å være helikopterpilot!!
Yes, Happy New Year!! I'm not going mad, not even completely lost track of time in the heat. At this time when most people I know would say happy easter to each other we're mostly saying Happy New Year in Sri Lanka!!
I'll gonna tell you why. It's really not more strange than, actually, both Sinhala people and Tamil people are celebrating New Year on the 14th of April. Which in 2006 happens to coincide with Long Friday. The 13th was also Poya (Full moon) day which every month is a holliday for people here. So these days are quiet days in the office and in the streets. Actually very nice
Having all these hollidays on the same time may also cause some "problems". Heard of a lady which was Sinhala and Catholic. Not necesarily a problem, but! Due to her religion she's supposed to fast on Long Friday. Sinhala New Year means special traditions involving a lot of food. Then you understand that this will cause some difficulties. Not a widespread problem, but it will occur to a few people as it is about 8% christians here.
For us it's not really an issue with the hollidays. We're at the work everyday except the local staff which have got these two days off. So as mentioned earlier it means calm and quiet in the office. And no alcohol serving on the Poya Day and many restaurants closed on New Year's.
My sister Heidi and her boyfriend Tom is here visiting at the moment! They're my first visitors here in Sri Lanka. I really appreciate that they did chose to spend their easter holliday here with me.
Well guess I can't say entirely with me, since they at the moment are travelling the island with Robert (a collegue of mine) and his girlfriend. Sunday morning at 7.15 they took the train down south to Galle and The Lighthouse Hotel. Supposingly a very good hotel and when I spoke to them the next day they where all very happy and satisfied.
Further the trip took them to Mirissa for another day in the beach. Which for sure my sister loved! Then they went on to Yala national park and a safari there. The reports say that they saw at least elephants, monkeys, crocodilles, warthogs and probably a few other species. Now they have proceeded up north into hill country to see Ella and Nuwara Eliya.
And if everything goes as planned I'll going to meet them in Kandy on Saturday. Mostly meaning if I don't have to work. Then on Sunday we'll go to Pinnewalla Elephant Orphanage. Before heading back to Colombo on the train. Said to be a nice and scenic trainride, so that gonna be good. Are in general looking forward to a weekend doing something else and getting out of Colombo
Before they went on their tour around the country they had a few days here in Colombo. So then I got to see them whne I was finished work. The first evening I took them out for dinner, a birthday dinner as my sister had birthday just recently. Of course we went to my favourite restaurant TAO at Cinnamon Grand. The next day she wa enjoying her birthday gift, a full days treatment at a spa.
The next days they used to play golf and some shopping. Saturday I had bit more time with them as we only have a half day at the office. We used it to see a bit of town and to prepare for a party I was hosting that night. It was a great party with a lot of people coming, also quite a few new people. After the party some of us went to Rhythm'n Blues, one of the night clubs here in Colombo. But not my sister and Tom as they were leaving early, early the next morning.
What is better after a hectic day at work. A day with meetings, phonecalls, accomodation search etc. Then get home in a hurry to get the training clothes. Play a match of Squash, which I lost..
What's good then is a bit of spontaniety!! A sudden decision to go eat at a small place we seen but never really considered. This just because Robert came with the comment on the way home that we should eat at this Waffle place some day!!
We went to a small place called Belgian Waffle House. We thought of just having a dessert waffle for snack.. But when we also saw they had waffle main meals we decided to go for some of these. We both agreed that we can recommend both Chilli Prawn waffles and Waffle Bolognaise. Then for dessert a Blueberry Waffle!
Last weekend I was on what we call national meeting for the norwegians in SLMM. It was a weekend to meet, catch up, relax, discuss. It was a nice weekend. For me which is quite new here it's also good to have a bit more time to talk and discuss with the monitors from the district's. It gave me an opportunity to learn about and get a better impression about the work in the field.
We stayed on a hotel called Habarana Lodge, place with nice bungalows, a quiet and beautyful garden and a good pool. We had some swimming competitions. Guess a few of us really found our competitive instinct. But I only became first looser on the underwater swimming, with one pool length.
Saturday we also found time for some sightseeing. Some of us went to a place called Sigriya, and old castle/fortress on top of a huge stone. In it's glory days it must have been an unintacable fortress. Even today with steel stairs up most of the way it is quite a climb. We counted 968 steps. Even though we saw some carvings in the rock I wonder how and where they got up there before the steels stairs.
One thing is that it might have been hard for people to get up there in the older. But what really impressed me, is that they had made this huge castle on top there. Some of the structures was carved out in the stone. While most of the buldings was built with brick's, which obviously had been brought up there.
Around the whole rock there was also made huge beautyful gardens and defense lines with walls and water. So this shows it must have been a mighty (and a bit cracy) king that have buildt Sigriya sometime in the past. Anyhow it's for sure impressive. I do hope they manage to preserve it for the future as well.
Guess that one of the coolest things we did on the sigstseeing trip to Sigriya happened on our way down again. There was a lot of tourist guides and other people trying to make a living on the tourists. One of these guys was a guy with some snakes. One cobra which he made dance by playing the flute. The other one was a python which he let us hold and have curling around over necks. Cool!!
So where have I've been? I've been busy and on my way.. Secondly I went on a travel half way around the world and back. Firstly, before that I was busy working so I could take my leave with good concsious. So this unfortunately meant that I had to abandon the cafe for a moment. And yes I know I should have put up a sign telling that it temporarily would be no serwing. Well, I didn't! Sorry for that!!
As I said I've been half way around the world and back. First stop was in Sydney, Australia. There I met Jessica, it was damn good to see her again. I was also supposed to see my mate Duncan but he had to go to Melbourne for work and see the Volvo Ocean Race off. But he still lended us his appartment.
In Sydney we caught up with various friends both off Jessica and myself. We relaxed, went to the beach, played in the waves, generally had a good time without really having much on the program.
Then after a few days in Sydney we turned our faces towards Washington D.C. and New York. We had to go there as Jessica's sister just had a baby. We had a nice stay there and I got to meet the family for the first time. And as I said to them, they did not manage to scare me off. Not that I think they really tried though.. I also got to meet some grest friends of Jessica. Even managed to have half a day of tourist activites in Washington. Walked around the area with Washington monument, White house, Capitol Hill and a few other monuments. And we went to see the Air and Space museum, which actually had Air Ship One.
Then we turned our noses back towards Sydney, for a few more days of beaches, friend and relaxing. But most imoprtantly we went to Nic and Nick's wedding. They had a very nice wedding seremony on the beach. With six tall, thin sails as a frame and the waves as a background. Beautyful!! And then a good party with a lot of dancing afterwards.
This time in Sydney Duncan was also around. I thought that was very good as he has been naging me about coming back there for years and I started to be afraid that when I finally made it he wouldn't be there. He was also the first friend of mine (besides those I made in Andole) which got to meet Jessica. Some jealous family back in Norway. Sorry!
But now it's back to work and reality in Colombo. First days back was hectic, trying to catch up after weeks away. But now I've got head above water and are getting back to more or less normality. So now the ambitions is to give more regular updates again.. CYA, soon!
Sri Lanka is known to have quite a few good beaches and here I've lived for almost two month's witohout being on the beach a single time. So I think it was about time that I got there. So today I went there with Robert N., one of my collegues.
After being out for dinner and some drinks with some collegues yesterday, I had decided to sleep until I woke up by myself. So around half past nine I sms' Robert and asked if he was awake and ready for the beach. So we went to the beach at hotel Mt.Lavignia, a beachhotel just outside Colombo. There was not many people when we got there, it came more people during today but it never became crowded. During the day we also met up with Ove from NRC here in Sri Lanka and Bård working for Norwegian Red Cross here.
The day went by with swimming and playing in the waves. Playing in the waves is always fun. So in my opinion beaches with no waves are boring. But here there were nice waves and a lot of fun. This also reminded me that the kind of physical activity I really enjoy to do, and that I've been missing, is unrepeately activities (opposite of running on a threadmill) which are done for the fun of it rather than for the excercise. I've never really enjoyd excercising, but since my expat life has been quite sit still I really got and urge for it.
Besides playing in the waves I read a book, relaxed, chatted with the others, just enjoyed the day and the sun. It was a good day of relaxing and not think of work, even though I went for a few hours in the afternoon. But it was a quiet day at the office and possible to do a bit of work without being interupted. Tonight I've just had a slow day at home, writing here, tidying, reading..
A whole season without skiing, that's not possible!! Was the comment I got from my good friend Nina while I told her about my realisation that I would not be able to do any skiing this winter (norwegian). I do very much agree with her about that. I for sure can tell you that it's propably one of the worst things by being here. The fact that I will not have skis on my feet and flow down the mountainsides..
Today I was reminded about this terrible fact by one of my other good friends Duncan which is in Norway at the moment. Duncan is from Australia and no skier, but today he is the one that are gonna go skiing together with my sister. This will be a weird season my Aussie frined are doing skiing and not myself. Weird and frustrating.
One other thing about this season that could have been a highlight when it comes to skiing, if I've been in europe, is that Nina is working as a skiguide in the alps. It would have been so great to go down there and visit here and go skiing together with her when she's not dealing with all the tourist's.
My dream idea before I got the opportunity of working with SLMM here in Sri Lanka, was to have a month, no two, before getting my next contract. Then I would be hanging around in winter Norway, some with friends and family but also quite a bit in the snowcovered mountains of Norway. Both downhill and mountainskiing. And also some weeks in the alps together with Nina and her skiing paradis.
I guess and presume that a lot of you have read in the news, especially those of you in the Scandinavian countries, that SLMM has an explosion outside one of our premises. I wanted to tell you that I'm safe and in one piece.
Late last night there was an explotion outside one of our houses in the district's, damaging several of our cars. Fortunately we had no personnel injuries on any personnel. I will not go into further details about the incident as such.
This has not affected me directly or got any consecquenses for my daily life here in Colombo. Except a few more hours at work today though. Manin point is I'm doing fine, no problems here. So don't worry if media is over telling this story!
Today as well I had guests over for dinner. It was a very sudden and quick decision, but it turned out to be very nice and quite a few people coming. But that is always nice!! I think it's good with dinner guests.
It started with me and Robert, one of my newly arrived collegues, being out excercising. First we went for a jog on Galle Face Green, a fairly big open space down towards the ocean in central Colombo, so we took a few rounds there. Afterwards we went to play squash and tried the sauna at Cinnamon Grand hotel. Then we started to think of getting something to eat, guess the basic idea was to go out and get something as that is very easy, convenient and not very expencive.
Then I started to think that, No we should rather cook something and invite people over. Since we both like cooking then we found that as a good idea. Since it was just a few hours until dinner time I thought that not that many people could come so I started sending sms's to all the collegues. But it turned out that there where quite a few without plans so we ended up being nine people. Very nice, especially since I love cooking but hate cooking to myself only.
So we decided that Lasagna was on the menu, went to the shop, rushed home and started the preparation. When we had properly started and should turn on the owen I remembered that when I made the pizza earlier in the week the fuze wasn't strong enough. So I crossed my fingers, turned on the owen and bang everything was dark. Turn off everything else and try again and "bang" again, no hot owen today either. Good many of us are living in the same building, so we carried the forms with lasagna down to Roberts appartment and cooked them there.
The guests turned up, a lot of wine was brought, we filled the glasses and had a toast while waiting for the Lasagna to be ready. The one who wait for something good do not wait forever. According to the feedback everyone enjoyed the food. One of the best comments I got was "Thank you so much for delicious food, we will remember this, so we make sure we come next time you invite for dinner as well!" A lovely comment!! When the food was finished we continued with the drinks and had a relaxed and nice evening..
As the heading indicates this is a sort of a marking day of my life here in Sri Lanka. First I've already been here one month, a month of a lot of new and good. I've learned a lot, got a lot of good friends in my collegues, a lot of experience and in general a lot of good. Second I made and served the first pizza's. Finally! Third I received two letters-packages in the post.
The first month here has been good. It's been a lot of new things to learn and get familiar with, both in my job and in how to live the life here. Both ways it's mainly been good. I must say that I like my job, it's interesting and challenging. So I think I will enjoy it for quite awhile without being bored. The rest of my sosial life, mainly with my collegues, has also been very nice. There has been quite a few parites and social events due to the holliday season. But there has also been excersising and drinks together. So all in all a good life.
Today was also the day where I served the first homemade pizza. I say the first because I know I gonna make more of them here in the months to come. I love making food, but I hate to cook for only myself. So then I invite people over for dinner, which is good for two reasons, to get have someone to cook for and to get company. Excellent!! So today my collegue Robert, his family and my collegue Anna-Maria came over. Very nice evening with pizza and wine.
It was two letters, one from Helge and Aase Kathinka two very good friends of mine from Norway, they sent me a norwegian cartoon as X-mas present. Very much appreciated, looking forward to read that one. The other one was from NSF and contained a X-mzs card, the last scouting magacine and a calender for 2006. Looking forward to a lot of good reading about scouting in Norway.
As you probably firgure out easily, X-mas in Sri Lanka is different than what I'm used to. There are many reasons for that, the temperature and climate, the fact I'm away from family and friends and .......... are all reasons for why this is different. But this doesn't mean that it has been bad, I've had a good time this X-mas. But on the other hand I guess that this time is the time I've been away from family in X-mas time that I've missed my normal traditions the most.
When coming from Norway snow and X-mas kind of belongs together, it's nothing like a proper white X-mas. A X-mas with snow outside, snow on the ground covering everything, snowheavy trees and big snowflakes falling from the sky. The favourite one is at the family cabin up in the mountains with a lot of snow everywhere and candlelight inside And temperatures well belove zero so you have to wear proper winter clothing when you go out, not like here where we were shorts and T-shirts. The coldest we get here is when we're running the aircondition on maximum. Green trees and sun straight above is neither what I normally think of aas X-mas. But it seems like white X-mas is the way it's supposed to be, because a lot of the X-mas decoration here is making images of snow.
X-mas is very much a family holliday so being away from family and loved ones makes it a bit different than what it's normally is. Being away from the traditions makes you miss something at least me since I have good memories from X-mas with my famliy. And as my sister tells me it's not a proper X-mas without you.. I agree it's not really the same without my famliy around me. The larger family dinner we always have on the 23rd of December is one of the things I'm in particular is missing, so it was good to be able to call them and talk with my relatives when they where at mum and dad's place. The X-mas eve, which is the main day of X-mas in Norway, sitting around the dinner table eating a lot of good food. Then over to the sofa and cakes, cookies, drinks and presents. Especially enjoying those presents where I've managed to buy something which those receiving them are genuinly happy for them. Hope they where so this year as well, even though I was not there. I loved the Nemi cartoon book which I got in the present my sister had sent with me. I missed my family and our traditions on X-mas eve!
As said X-mas this year was still nice even though it has been different. At my work we're a lot of Scandinavians and we're trying to take care of each other and these days we tried to make X-mas celebration with a mix of various X-mas traditions from Scandinavia. Some of the collegues had their families visiting for the hollidays while me and other only had ourself, but we all took part in the various X-mas celebrations. 23rd we had a private X-mas party at one of my collegues appartment and everybody brought some X-mas food from their home country. It was a very noce evening with a lot of good food. Then on X-mas eve we had a more official celebration, so we had rented a room at one of the hotels and a X-mas buffet. Also very good food but not really X-mas food, maybe except the british style X-mas pudding as one of the desserts. Today some of us did go to the beach, which is also something very strange for X-mas time. So as you understand a different, but still a good X-mas.
Now I've been in Colombo for two weeks, on the day actually. It's been two good weeks with a lot of new impressions. Colombo is a asian big city, so if you've been in Bangkok, Hong Kong or any other big asian city you'll recognice many parts of it. But it's smaller and probably have other aspects where it varies as well, just as it will be with any other city around the world. But I like Colombo and the asian atmosphere here, it's lively and vibrant. By the way, with my two weeks here I guess I've doubled my total time in Asia, so I think I would like to explore more of Asia in the future.
My job is still good and interesting. The last two weeks has been very sosial with my collegues and some people from NRC here in Sri Lanka. I think I've only eaten dinner at home once or twice since I got here. But this is a truth wich need to be adjusted a bit since I lived in a hotel for more than a week.
But I don't complain not eating home, because the food here is very good and to well affordable prices. I have one favourite at Cinnamomn hotel called TAO, it has a menu which is based in asian cooking but have manage to blend it with european cooking. Fantastic food. I've also tried a few japanese restaurants with sushi, also they have been very good.
The food stores here are also well filled up with a lot of good stuff to cook with so I think there eventually will be quite a few dinnerparties as well. Today I actually found Jarlsberg cheese, for those of you not knowing it a world famous norwegian cheese. I've also heard that they get norwegian salmon here about every third week. Even my aussie friends will find something of their liking, today I bought their beloved Vegemite!!
I do have a lot of bad conscience now! Not writing here for a long, long period of time.. And I'm really sorry for that!! But as you probably have understood earlier a lot of things has happened lately. New job, back to Norway to get the visa for Sri Lanka and sign the contract, then head for Sri Lanka and the new job there. While I've been here in Sri Lanka there has been a lot to do with handover and training for the new job.
Between all this I've tried to catch up with family and as many friends as possible in Norway. So the ten days in Norway was quite hectic comuting between Hønefoss and Oslo, so I could learn about my job and meet as many as possible in both places. I for sure had agood time and managed to catch up with a lot of friends, which I really appreciated. Thank you all that took the time to see me. Even though I'm not living in Norway I do really appreciate all my friends there. And all of you other's which I've met in Angola and other places around the globe.
Today I officially took over my new job and my predecessor is leaving tomorrow morning. So the next couple of week I guess will be a lot to do and trying to get used to every new routine and work task's. But I'm looking forward to it, the job's seems interesting and good. My predecessor had very good routines on everything and I've got a very good assistent so I don't think it gonna be to hard.
So far I've had a good time here in Colombo. My collegues seems to be very good, Colombo is a hectic town with a lot going on. It's a lot of traffic here, but it's far from as bad as it was in Luanda. There are also a fair bit of nice restaurants here, with very good food and do a decen't price. So I think I gonna hae a good time here in Sri Lanka.
Since my predecessor are leaving tomorrow I will take over his appartment and move out of the hotel. It's been a very nice hotel, but it's still gonna be good to get my own place. It will be a good appartment, with two extra bedrooms so I do hope someone will come and visit me here..
I've now been back in Norway some days. It's been some nice and hectic days. I've seen my family, some friends and been to the NRC head office in Oslo.
The coming week will also be hectic with more meetings and briefings about my new job in Sri Lanka. But also a lot of friends to catch up with. My plan is to stay in Oslo from monday and two/three days. Then back to Hønefoss before I leave heading towards Sri Lanka.
Hopefully I get time to meet a lot of friends, make some updates on the café.. If I do not update to much these days, please forgive me and come back later.