My Helper Thinks I am Useless, and That’s Ok

I have a suspicion our helper, Maheshari, thinks I am what is in Sinhalese called “wadakata na” — useless, good for nothing. She likes me though, but doesn’t think I am capable of doing things on my own, especially when it comes to her domain — the kitchen. Her conviction might have something to do…

5 Little Things You Can Do to Live a More Sustainable Life in Sri Lanka

“In a gentle way, you can shake the world.”  ― Mahatma Gandhi My ordinary conversation with a waiter when ordering cold drinks goes as follows: “Can I have a mango juice (pineapple juice, mojito, ginger beer) and no straw please?” “No what?” “No straw” “Ok, weirdo,” they don’t actually say it out loud, but I…

50 Important Tips for Traveling in Sri Lanka

If you are visiting Sri Lanka for the first time, oh how I envy you! The first acquaintance with the country is always special. After living here for a total of 3.5 years on and off I have definitely developed a strong bond with this island, but I still remember my first time, when I…

“Mama, Chai?” or the Way Russians Drink Tea

Without a cup of tea any meal feels incomplete to me and to any other Russian for that matter. For the longest time I thought that’s how it works all around the world. Or at least in the tea-drinking countries like Sri Lanka. One would assume that people of Sri Lanka, one of the largest…

I Moved to Sri Lanka… For the Third Time

You know it’s hot when your husband strokes your shoulder, but instead of one continuous move it comes out as an odd broken pat because his sweaty palm just won’t slide down your sticky skin gently. Kinda like when as a kid you go down an ice slide on your butt instead of a sled…

The Time I Made Cookies for Buddhist Monks

The house before dana was a mess. Don’t take me wrong: physically, it was clean and shiny. The floors had been scraped so hard you could almost see your own reflection. The furniture had been moved to create more room. New beautiful tableware replaced everyday plates and cups. The mood, though, was somewhere on the…

Breaking Coconuts Like Nobody’s Business

A few months before my big fat Sri Lankan wedding I learned that according to local traditions one of my male family members had to break a coconut during the ceremony. With a huge knife. At the first try. In front of over a hundred people. The closest my Russian relatives have ever come to…